This is the first video game review that we have the pleasure, say (the nippings never are a pleasure) on Ludi Tarantula’s Archives.
The title in question is “A Figment of Discord” for two reasons:
-The first is because it was an invitation from the author herself. We certainly don’t think this is a good justification because maybe she didn’t expect this style of review, even on the one hand some of the comments left around on Facebook we hope that it could get an idea about the expressive form we use.
– The second reason is that the game was taken into account for the 2019 Misao nominations and this was a factor that puzzled us, because in this way an objective (and NOT subjective) vision of the product comes into play. What we hope, although there may be disagreement in the considerations, is that this nip can be a stimulus to try to apply the method of making criticism that has already been developed in the field of publishing books and films, to give examples, even on the Rpg Maker community.
Obviously who may have liked the game we have nothing to say, they are personal tastes, but when it comes to awards and nominations we take things seriously.
After all, however, since last year apparently a game full of plot holes like Aria’s Story had the recognition of impeccable storytelling we could not expect much.
We would like to put this warning because of the acidic tones that might come out in the course of the review, it is in the norm nowadays to always worry about getting back right and not offending anyone in a spiral of goodwill often unjustified, but for critics we believe that these points are necessary: justification, association and/or dissociation towards other opinions, comparisons with other products and examples that can better explain the arguments that will be drawn up and entertainment .
If you do not use the catchy terms, phrases that can guide the reader and capture his interest: developing charisma is necessary to capture the attention of the public and often for this he puts the product reviewed back. The critic’s is still a profession.
Among our references for method and language we have them, which are just a few of the channels that in one field or another make the criticism followed and appreciated making irony – and some with a hint of acidity – their workhorse: let’s start with the Italians, like Ilenia Zodiaco, among the most followed rubrics definitely “Libri di melma“, that is among the best titles of the publishing trash; Yotobi who has not reviewed films for a long time but his style has influenced and been loved by many people, targeting, for entertainment, indefensible films; among the American critics a special mention to Nostalgia Critic that begins to talk about the products with introductory sketches, desecrated irony and eventually a way to think in a constructive point of view, and how to forget of course the video game critics. The channel of PlayerInside, passionates about cinema, too, and this certainly adds a more critical judgment on the script and direction of many video games and generally have a very professional approach to reviews, and almost a television approach for their news of the week, Parliamo di Videogiochi and the Angry Videogame Nerd, both youtubers that make pure entertainment, but presenting all the flaws and inconsistencies of the games they deal with, because precisely they deal both low-league games ( Fraws also treats those “Of bad taste”, but we are talking mainly about the series “Giochi Brutti “) for a very long time, creating very long-lived series, the column of Parliamo di Videogiochi is almost sixty episodes, and the American creator has built what is now a season-long web series, with at least a hundred episodes, of which many of us remember the opening (at least, the end of it): “He’s the angriest gamer you’ve ever heard, he’s the Angry Nintendo Nerd. He’s the Angry Atari Sega Nerd, he’s the Angry Videogame Nerd!”
WARNINGS FOR THE READER
In this review we will not be exempt from spoilers.
~ Plot, subject and development of the plot ~
This part of the analysis will be managed in this way: we will follow everything from the beginning with a great summary, commenting on the logical choices that have been made. It is probable that in this part other aspects come out as directing and acting (as dubbing as in the initial clip and in the movements of the sprite) and other elements for which we will turn out to be picky and fussy.
Let’s start from the beginning…
The main title. A girl sitting on a throne with a puppet in her arms, a choice that will be unjustified and casual considering that there will be no suggestion throughout history that would suggest her as “queen” of something, neither from her point of view nor from that of the others. The artwork has a bumpy style unlike the half busts that will be shown in game, but this is a sore point that touches many other RPGs and on which we do not dwell.
The theme presents an accompaniment of five notes that follow one another and change the tone without ever arriving at a main melodic line, and it is precisely for this reason that we ask ourselves how it is possible that it was chosen as the main theme, especially when it returns in the music box: in the music boxes a melodic line is usually highlighted.
But let’s talk about the choices made in bulk that should correspond to the “New game”, “Continue”, and “Exit”: “Take a bite”, “Taste” … They are the same thing!
… If nothing else, the warnings before the introductory video are nice graphically, and we appreciated how they were made.
Let’s go to the introduction.
The dubbing. Let’s talk about it, it’s a disaster both in Italian and in English.
In Italian, however, the serious problems of expression and “falsification” of the voice are much more audible, even if in English (if you listen well) the voice really sounds … Inexpressive, but in the wrong sense of the term: it does not tell you nothing, and as in Italian the voice is very distorted, made it more “cute”. A voice actor does not distort the voice, change it, change it, but the voice is his. It will look like a small thing, but this video is the complete destruction of the dubber’s trade, which generally uses THEIR voice, but changes it, and does not falsify it so blatantly.
“But it’s an indie product, what do you expect?” I expect results similar to Sen’s voice lines in Mad Father (more than anything else we should give credit to the Vita-Chii site) Lydia in Aria’s Story (which, though not a great game, the voices were appreciable, and the author organizes real contests on Twitter for the voices of her characters), and for the cutscenes, if you want to put dubbing, I can mention Empty Sharp (another very valid Italian title) as example, with a truly masterful dubbing, even if done by guys for an amateur project!
The introduction is poorly thought out, written worse and … Really, since how much in a game there are no longer these types of introductions from the early 2000s on those online game sites that wanted to let you know in a nice way the characters of scarce platforms ?
The problem is not the choice itself: even the cliché can be considered a work of art if well exploited, but every choice must be thought with knowledge of the facts and awareness of what will be presented to the player.
For a writer it can be very important to take this “slogan” as a reference point: “show don’t tell” (which in an audiovisual product is then reflected in the direction).
A video game is an audiovisual art form, respect it. Like you did with the noise of children in the background, for example. It was a good start.
You could, however, disperse information about yourself as you explored the maps and interacted with the characters, or if you really wanted to summarize that information in a short time, why not do like “Up”, for example.
Of course, we mention the masters, who have summarized in a few minutes of film the life of a man, or “Rear Window”, in which only framing the photographs and objects in the protagonist’s room was revealed in a few seconds who he is, what he did and what happened to him in his wheelchair.
Let’s take examples right in the world of Horror RPGs.
“The Witch’s house” and the reading of the diaries as you go along the maps, in a video game there is more freedom for the author to manage information, which can be innovative, really pleasant to discover, as it was for the story of Ellen ending with the final revelation given by the letter, the first starting point with which we interacted.
And speaking of allegories? “Dreaming Mary” is an excellent title: the introduction is of few words, everything starts with the instructions given by the radio that want to suggest an almost despotic system for how information is provided and how the characters behave: they are clear, from the The first words they utter we immediately understand who they are and what they could represent, Boaris’s expressions transmit concern from the first meeting and every sentence seems built to give you the idea that this character represents something dirty: the sexual theme and the clues that speak of pedophilia are masterfully filtered by the attitudes and terms that the boar uses.
Let’s go to the summary.
Eris is a girl abandoned in an orphanage – a really poor and unusual orphanage on a realistic level, I mean, I don’t know if with so few guys she could be considered an institution in all respects, and if there really was a more important sub-plot in this regard it has never been minimally hinted at or deepened – and it immediately makes us understand that he has problems relating to others and to compensate for his loneliness he “created an imaginary friend”.
And the disease, you will say?
No, really, why the disease? How was it born? Eris suffers from solitude complexes from what we have seen, what would have resulted in her illness?
Other kids have also been orphans, but this is not enough to talk about mental disorder.
We will argue this point better towards the end, when we have all the information in hand.
Scenes in the present begin with this incipit: Eris and Millionmiles, the multicolored cat, are hungry, and let us understand that they are poorly fed in the orphanage.
There are some squabbles with the maids and then the agreement with Chantico takes place: the protagonist chooses, “for too much hunger” (but why? instead of a decent meal, without considering that he could ask Shiva for a favor as he considers him a petty thief) to give up his brooch for a treat, to be precise, and instead he finds himself with an apple.
All clear up here? Don’t you notice anything strange about issues? We’ll talk more about it later.
He feels cheated, the agreement is made, and he takes the decision to take it back in what should be “Abaddon”, his distortion of reality, and the events follow each other rather smoothly, if the other big problem does not come : the stake.
He could simply take the pin secretly and make up excuses, why get to the stake? Millionmiles?
But wasn’t it just his mental representation? What should Millionmiles represent at this moment? Suppose Eris wanted revenge for the deception he suffered.
If he wants revenge, it means that he is fully aware of who “the witch” is, he burns her to “wash away his sins” and then he wakes up the next morning.
The general panic is unleashed when it is discovered the next morning that Chantico has disappeared.
Leaving out that no one has noticed outside the orphanage – given the short distance that separates it from the place of the crime – I do not pretend to suspect traces of smoke, but at least the wood burned, but if Eris really thought totally disconnected because she would have to worry to remove the traces?
Yeah, what’s going on with Eris? Is she worried, is she feeling guilty?
Her total ignorance of murder is rather problematic: is she really only realizing now that she has killed Chantico? And we who thought it was a representation, a projection of what the girl represents for her. What’s the point of falling from the clouds now?
Who on earth thinks she killed then last night, a wicked witch totally randomly, why did she like doing it? Did you talk about punishments and sins, if you don’t realize the association you made on Chantico because then you made those speeches that would immediately become incongruent and out of context?
Hannah Arendt had analyzed an interesting question in the book “ Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil” (we talk about the historical context, but which, however, I am decontextualizing to exploit it in the argumentation), which often turns out to be the key to a psychopathic nature: these types of people generally they present a disturbance at the base which foresees the lack of empathy for the nature of the neighbor and they see it as an object, an instrument, or any representation that precludes even the only conception that can be its peer.
Eris wanted to be a representation of this disorder? The answer is unknown, confused.
The first act is concluded, making us understand that the division into chapters of history depends on the various murders that will be committed.
We then have the second murder, Sol.
We will only make a mention to the various endings: we think it is better to treat them in the part dedicated to gameplay, here we can only consider the boredom and the tremendous and false goodness that they cover, a special mention for the finale in which everyone remains alive.
“Oh, tiny sprouts! So we all knew that Moloch is a dirty villain? “
“Oh yes! Really?!”
“Oh golly, how many years did we spend the five of us in the dark, without know anything!“
“But why don’t we go against him now, running to defame him in the middle of the village?!”
Well, well, let’s get back to the main storyline.
The murder of Sol takes place with a certain bitterness: she seems to know what Eris has done, so I think the need to kill her is well justified even though she promised not to reveal anything: it is legitimate to suspect whether she will keep the word or not, if the act of leaving her alive would cause trouble.
Let’s bring up the continual anatomical errors in the CG, which should be the “mother scenes” of the game. This title has been awarded for the drawings, they say.
The deaths follow each other in a natural way, or better, what remains: the very unlucky Mani.
His death is a suicide request, but before arriving at the end of the first part of the game we want to make a special mention to Glenn: how useless can his appearance be? It is a random way to justify its presence in the second part of the story, because it is completely normal that a stranger in a quiet walk decides, by chance, to inflict himself in an orphanage through a breach in the wall.
Breach, remember, kindly offered by Shiva: what genius, what mastery, why try to climb over the gates when you can be more suspicious and noisy when trying to smash a wall?
Another special mention goes to the Eris’ falcon eyes when in the realistic dialogue with Glenn – in which she prefers to tease him about his clothing rather than worry that a stranger cabbage has entered the structure – he thinks to himself “Oh, by how much time is that there this breach?”. She had never noticed it.
The point is that in RPG Maker the vision of the map is generally total, the player is able to notice everything, there is no gaze guided as in the cinema, so we consider that we follow Eris’s point of view: it is really possible that we wander around around for the map or just turning the head has never noticed a hole like that?
We also remember fondly the scene of when she dumped Glenn on the spot, without even worrying about a stranger being in the structure: she ignores him and leaves him there. Fantastic, nobody cares in that orphanage if Glenn could be a thief, a maniac.
But back to Mani’s suicide.
What we know about the character is that he is a sensitive person – obviously -, unlucky and hoping for a rapprochement with his sister Sol, his suicide choice came about precisely as a result of her death. This was one of the few remarkable, interesting choices that could be better developed.
Shortly after the wretch leaves us his feathers, he enters Shiva, the village punk boy, and with vivid surprise and upheaval he realizes what has happened.
Eris pushes him aside, not even the tuna takes care of chasing her, the music is always the same and the scene gives us so many emotions. But also no.
Nonchalantly, without even the slightest annoyance and diversity in her expressiveness, Eris communicates the latest events and turns them in his favor, blaming Shiva and exploiting the prejudice against him. Obviously not only no investigation was carried out on the part of the local police, but all the intent was not staged but communicated as a stark explanation between Eris’s thoughts.
“If I make them think Shiva is the culprit…”
“It’s my word against his…”
And then, what happens? Only she and the director remained – obviously the orphanage was not even closed and Eris was not transferred – our protagonist decides to let Millionmiles go, making us understand that she feels guilty, especially for the ticket she finds later in the second part of the story; and then it is recalled by Moloch and there is a struggle.
A compelling and realistic scene in which they show themselves with text messages as the bad director is hurting poor Eris.
Scene from the movie “Primavera di Granito” –Leblanc’s death
A pursuit follows which ends with the sowing of Moloch. Who knows, maybe the old man will have had a heart attack. No really, no one knows what happened to him.
In any case in the second part of the story the point of view changes, after having had an intermezzo phrase: “I will be your family and I will take care of you”.
Well, now we have the point of view of Alys, the link with A Timeless Story and the question of marriage accomplished by necessity.
I agree, but what perplexes me always concerns the reasons for the event. The story seems to take place in modern times, if not contemporary. If Alys feels so uncomfortable about this marriage, could she ever try to find a job? The point is that we should not take anything for granted, even a brief information about it would have been enough.
Everything seems to flow very well from this point on, the exploration of the mansion becomes relaxing, if there were no problems related to the space-time relationship. Unfortunately you only want one category, you only want another one, there are many of them such in this part of the game.
One of the details undoubtedly concerns the letters, that is: we are talking about writing letters to people who in fact are just a few meters away, and who, on the other hand, decides to visit in person them the morning after the day on which the she writes these letters.
This was at least what seems to be apparent from the succession of events, because after the wedding night spent with the beloved Glenn – the marriage took place because it was indeed proposed to offer expenses to help Alys’ mother – it is not clear whether a temporal ellipse has occurred or if the events continue to take place the next morning, this derives from the great problem of directing that this product suffers.
Since she feels down she decides personally to visit her mother and had the idea of visiting Lysander as well; despite its textual words, it would have been “a long walk”.
Literally two steps away.
Now, I understand free interpretation and wanting to make this detail something smooth and not binding for the player, but the words should have been dosed differently. Or find other reasons that have led her to avoid all that time – how long it will actually be, days or months – to meet the people she cares about.
Her mother apparently continued to be left alone, and it does not seem that her desperate state of health could agree with what Glenn would have promised. Considering that Alys literally blew his own personal fulfillment, I imagined that as “the best care that can be offered” was protection from the indicated staff, yet Alys had nothing to object about the state of the mother who she died in total anonymity and let us remember that she left there. Nothing more was known about the corpse that probably after the last events of the history it will have remained in decay.
And then now Alys no longer has any reason to be interested in marriage and mansion, if he really finds himself so ill because he simply didn’t leave? Why did it actually suit her? Too bad that this character feature is never highlighted in any way.
The state of sadness and desperation of the characters makes sense when it is well justified.
And above all to think of having the ability to write means that there should be no need for the author’s justification, to feel the need to justify everything at a later time is done by those who are not aware of their work. The elements that are left to the interpretation and the elements that should be woven to build a logical plot are different things.
Let’s go back to the summary and see the new protagonist -or co-protagonist, as it would perhaps be more correct to call it on our part – who would like to ask someone for help but instead finds himself in front …
Eris? Oh man, how much hell have you grown up? It is a problem that concerns only this character: although after the pursuit with Moloch the direction lets us understand that in the meantime the other characters have passed, like Glenn himself – or Shiva who can be seen in one of the finals – have remained of the same aspect of past times.
If you consider changing character traits to indicate that time has been matched, it is quite useless to propose this disparity.
The presence of Eris makes Alys suspicious, Eris shows herself as a first woman unlike the cold and shy characterization she had as a young girl and even, asking for information from the servants, a maid informs that Eris, since she had fled, lived hidden in a room in the mansion!
Thing? Hidden in a room, really?
Why should he have? Were there any problems with the parents of his benefactor? And even if it were, once they died did it continue to remain hidden?
Or did he keep her locked up for fear that he might be a violent person? It’s a pity that Glenn never thought of it this way because in the final acts he sees himself clearly and nonchalantly that he considers her his lover.
Alys, as soon as she knows more about checking the scattered papers for the house, decides to go and visit the orphanage that was shown at the beginning of the game.
And then, what about the character of Lysander? Not answering when they knock on the door without even knowing who it is could indicate a state of great suffering which, however, is obliterated by their brief conversation in which they apologize, at least this is one of the scenes you would get if you decided to take the choice of get two finals that contain his presence.
You meet this character already in A Timeless Story indeed, but there his drama seemed to derive from a serious problem of distance, of physical distancing that concerned perhaps even in the escape in different countries, not that it remained anchored to the same village where his ex-lives playmate to throw a tantrum.
To get the Secret Ending – by the way, a secret ending from what we know should not be used to explain the main information on the story but only to add something more – you didn’t have to deal with Lysander, so we’ll continue to comment on the main storyline.
The part of the orphanage is boring and bland, perhaps it is however one of the few times – considering the story of Eris and excluding Alys – in which we try to recreate a climate that is in fact horror, even if following simple clichés.
About unjustified clichés: if spirits keep their characterizations even in death, why did they want to kill the co-star? The purification took place when he performed the ritual – by the way, a small logic problem that someone else has noticed is the fact that Alys knows exactly where to dig. Apparently everyone knew about Eris’s hideout, so does that mean they died with a pinch of bipolarity?
Here, however, Alys discovers that Eris carried out the murders, and the two endings vary depending on whether or not she is aware that they are actually sisters.
If he does not know it, True Ending follows and involves the drama: after one learns of the evil plan between Glenn and Eris, having a child – for … Why should two such people nurture both this desire? Would you like to indicate that in reality they are two good-hearted characters or at least that they hide an inner sensitivity given that they want to convey affection and education to a child? This is not how the characters would be justified, but two scoundrels remain -. Returning to the problem: having a child and using Alys to do so since Eris was wounded in the belly.
Then, Eris shoots her. In this final, on the other hand, Alys makes us understand that the demon sees it too, it is still present.
So … was Alys also sick in the end? Do they share the same blood and therefore share the hallucinations?
Why does the demon really exist then insist on talking about mental illnesses in a “raw and naked manner”?
There are other masters who talk about mental illness, which we repeat is a neurological problem, it differs according to the infected area and there are various causes, for example hereditary or due to trauma
Then we have the other embarrassing ending, the “Secret Ending”, or the “It doesn’t matter if you have killed people, you are my sister and I love you the same”, with a lot of closing comment from Glenn: “What an unexpected ending “.
Ah yes, in all this does nothing escape you? Like the famous symbolism of the apple?
She has never returned since that conflict with Chantico had occurred.
The apple of Greek mythology was golden, because it would have gone to the most beautiful of the goddesses. The apple as a biblical symbol and the temptation in Adam and Eve was a forbidden fruit, in both cases we speak only of symbols with respect to something greater: man is selfish, he is not satisfied with what he possesses and he has more and more aspirations even if this involves his inner corruption.
Eris what aspiration would he have had? Satisfy your hunger with a treat. Yes, there is something wrong with this sentence.
There was talk of physical need, hunger and bad nutrition – he insisted on this point, it was considered one of the main motivations of his pact -.
There was not even a forced reminder, a little commitment in wanting, for example, to link this new characterization of Eris as an element that indicated the starting point: it was satisfied with the events that happened, because that deception was what he urged her to carry out the murders and thus be protected by Glenn living at home. I mean, hidden in her home.
It is a reasoning that draws water from all sides, in fact it speaks of recurring themes and symbols that should serve only as a communicative cue to communicate a type of message and a key theme, a narrative feature that is often commented and treated in screenwriting manuals and that films like “Dillinger is dead” have preferred to deal with irony and challenge: there is a gun that will condition the ending of the film, and it is continually cured and painted by the protagonist at home even without any sense.
Did he want to do some self-mockery? Given the uselessness of Glenn’s presence in the aforementioned scene, at least there could have been a quote to Raz Degan in the Italian movie Albakiara when he pronounced the joke: “The time of apples is over, whore!”.
~Gameplay, game mechanics and graphical matters~
And after the intertwining that the most gentle PaoGun has stripped us of, let’s move on to gameplay because, let’s remember, this is a video game, so you also have to talk about gameplay!
Surely you don’t expect a profound gameplay from a Horror RPG: for most of the games in this genre the gameplay consists only of puzzles and exploration. But the very simple one of this game… I swear I cried.
The gameplay is too guided and forced when it shouldn’t: it’s not a video game, it’s a goddamn of interactive drama! Telltale Games, get out of the way! Midori Fragments have arrived with their phantasmagorical exploration phases! Each point will be very long, so I’ll divide it into paragraphs:
The maps are botched together and, being more outspoken than they have been right now, objectively horrible, with default assets misused, and even those downloaded were thrown into the treacherous maps, not even the shadow of a screen tint, which makes all the colors of places look flat and without depth, a perspective sometimes sent to the dump, together with the whole concept of map design.
And no, I do not accept the “But the part of the mansion there were lights!” As justification. On the contrary, it creates a great problem of inconsistency in the maps: it is very disrespectful towards gamers to make maps like this:
In the orphanage phase, where one should (theoretically) know all of Eris’s character, and the whole case of his murders in places significant to her.
Are these the significant places in her life?
A green expanse with some randomly planted trees, with giant concrete blocks?
You can’t go randomly with external maps! RPG Maker certainly does not help with them because let’s face it, the assets it provides for outsiders are quite mediocre, so you have to pay even more attention to external maps, just because they are much more difficult to do!
Or how can we not mention the wonderful corridors, with stone stairs?
Here too the same problem: an enormous expanse of a wooden tile with walls always and strictly by default; yes, I press a lot on this thing because the “original graphics” of this game were mentioned. Surprise: the maps are to be considered in the graphic section too!
Going back to the stairs, their position … I don’t even really know how to express myself. I will not dwell.
It must be said, at least, that small maps are not wicked, mainly because they do not have the problem of vast expanses of a single type of tile.
Going to the mansion, where the maps are more “cured”.
Certainly, certainly from the orphanage phase there is a clear improvement and it shows, but from here to say that the maps are more cured, it takes.
Yes, because there is the exact same pain of every map even minimally extended in this game! This gigantic carpet, which makes it look like everything, will never stop saying it, FLAT and without any effect of shadow and / or light, since they are given only by the light of the windows (crooked and badly made, moreover), from the lights of the candelabra (couldn’t you put the same script in the orphanage? It wouldn’t have hurt those maps!) and the screen color not even so preponderant, since its task was only to make the map a darker minimum.
In short, I don’t write the big problem of the maps of this game again, but simply “cure” a little more the maps only for a certain phase of the game, as I said it is disrespectful towards the players who expect a good quality from the I start at the end of their gameplay, and that “not being good at mapping” does not justify: if a person takes this great job (because being a map designer is a stressful job and with so many responsibilities) then or does it well, or if he is not good he must learn. Maps are absolutely not acceptable, if you want to make your game public, if you are presenting a product to an audience.
Now, after that long parenthesis on the maps, let’s move on to the juice of the question, to the showpiece.
I would like to start with a lack that seems to have not only bothered me, since I also got to see the video of another Italian youtuber who complained:
the race. In fact in the whole game you can’t run. Not even during the chases, so we find ourselves in these scenes where the protagonist says she has to run … But she doesn’t run. Go around with all the tranquility of this world.
This running problem could also be a small thing, if not for the reason of this choice and the effect it has on the gameplay.
Let’s start with the effect: it makes the whole thing much more frustrating, because the movements of Eris (or Alys) are not, very basic, very fast. So you walk in the already mentioned fantastic maps with 800 kg weights on your ankles, which don’t allow you to run and which make moving extremely slow, therefore frustrating for the player. Get ready, because I will often repeat the word “frustrating” when I talk about the gameplay of this game.
For the reason of all this, I have to give a small explanation of an external story.
When the game was published on the Italian forum RPG2s.com, many users had complained about the infidelity of “stealth” to Abaddon, which we will discuss later.
To solve the problem, therefore, instead of fixing the stealth phase, the run was completely removed. I understand why: this would have meant completely redoing that phase from the beginning, because it had actually been reported that there was a problem at the base, for the stealth one.
So the running option was taken out, but the whole game was boring to play. I want to applaud the genius of this choice, really.
But this stealth of which I talk so much about problems?
It was very simple in operation, actually: the red shadows move, if they see you it’s Game Over.
The problem is how it was done, which I already understood at first glance: a radius of action has been put into the events, if it reaches that range it is Game Over.
First of all: in every stealth as it should be, enemies must first see the player, before triggering the consequence (whether it’s a Game Over, or something else).
Then, the almost random movement was the great failure of this “stealth” phase, which actually translates into a “walk and pray“. I say “almost randomly”, because the pattern is so long and with random movements that I consider it, and I also exchanged it at first glance, like a random movement. Also because you have to go, in fact, also by chance for the directions of the sprites, because they themselves … They are not very eloquent! For this reason all this stealth does not become a good challenge, but simply frustrating, above allbecause the range of action is too wide, and this makes it almost impossible to do, given also the narrow map!
There was a stealth phase in another Horror RPG, which I’d like to take as an example: Mad Father.
The “cave” phase of the dolls. Remember it, right? Every Horror RPG player remembers it. There the dolls had a precise pattern of movement, but this did not make that phase extremely easy, indeed! The difficulty was given by the radius of action, at times, and above all by the speed of the dolls to move, and in the more advanced “levels” by the length of the patterns, and this caused the players to create a strategy, based on the information they had: speed, pattern, directions. This stealth, as I said, is extremely tedious to manage, since the movement of the red shadows you don’t know, so … Go randomly, praying that they don’t really see you, that you only wanted to go and save in the only available savefile.
Exactly! In this game you have only one save file for 9 endings! Argh!
Do you know what it means to have a single save file?! The player will have this perennial fear of making mistakes, or of taking what is not the true ending, and will always be afraid of having to start the game all over again!
When I played it, this choice already bothered me a lot, because it is obvious that a player prefers to have as much flexibility as possible with the save points – you, the author, don’t know what someone might try to do to play your game: if they maybe want to test some choice or even some death in a point of the game previous to the one in which they are, even just for fun (because, you know, the video game is first of all something that must entertain and amuse, many seem to have forgotten it), it is simply cruel to leave a limitation like this to someone who simply wants to have fun … Badly or not! So, let’s add to the list of frustrating elements of this game.
And then if only a save is made, the average Horror RPG player … Without being too exaggerated, but he has a perennial anxiety playing, if he wants the true ending! It should be illegal to give a similar anxiety to poor players who do not know about the infamous finals room, which we will talk about towards the end of this papyrus.
But I only scraped the tip of the iceberg.
The real, great, masterful, mammoth-sized problem that afflicts this title is the entire exploration phase, in general.
Finally, we got there!
What a grind … And there is still so much to say because, as mentioned at the beginning, the exploratory gameplay, which should be the simplest to bring on RPG Maker … It is not even discreet. Simply for a big problem that afflicts him, and that makes everything further, let’s repeat it together, frustrating!
Let’s take an example, it will be easier.
At some point in the game, during the endless exploration of Abaddon (where, on the other hand, as soon as we arrive we will find ourselves completely in jeopardy, after all that boring and very fast pace we had become used to), Eris will have to solve an enigma in the common room (don’t ask questions), it says:
“What color were the books?”
And the player wonders at this point
“What books ?!”
But don’t you remember them? The books on the bedside table directly above the bookcase, of which we all obviously remember the color! Poor us mere mortals that we see the colors of those books only once in passing and then ignore them, thinking they are an element of any scene!
According to this game, we must remember every single element of every single map … Otherwise we find ourselves in these situations! Because in theory we had to remember from the real world the color of the books, which are treated as normal stage elements, and not as elements to remember for an enigma, and then guess it to have only this information:
“Birds love sweet food and shiny things.”
The poor player asks.
“So you get to the most critical and senseless point of the gameplay!”
Finally we are at the focal point, which is actually very simple.
The concept is what I mentioned at the beginning of my review part …
All the gameplay is forced! Nothing is left to the player: if you don’t do this first, if you don’t activate this switch first, this doesn’t happen, even if you meticulously checked the room five minutes ago!
With this concept in mind we return to the riddle.
After having solved this riddle with a beautiful imprecation, let’s go back to blocking ourselves in the maps of Abaddon, where by now the BGM will already have entered our minds as the most annoying of the summer torments. Until we get back to the kitchen.
What is a cake doing in the kitchen now that I sifted to perfection ten minutes ago ?!
It is simple: first the riddle had not been solved, so the cake did not appear. All logical, everything runs smoothly, doesn’t it? It’s not true.
According to the game, that note about birds that love shiny things and desserts had to serve something … Yes, but actually… No.
The player remembers that in the kitchen there is nothing, and therefore it is normal not to control it anymore, so this damn cake can find it only in a raptus of desperation in which he searches again, for the seventieth time, in all the rooms … But has activated the pie switch, so it can go on. I’m sorry to be dramatic, but I’m freaking out. It does not structure this way, a gameplay…
The problem is that these huge logic defects (which in the end affect the gameplay, and therefore the entire gameplay of A Figment of Discord) are there on daily basis, in all the exploratory phases, and therefore the predominant ones in these types of games, of this title! Yeah, if you don’t do what the game wants first, you can’t even take a very innocent key, and you know why?
Because if everything had been done according to logic, the order of events would have been totally busted, because there was … Indeed, I dare say that there is really no state, a terrible job in the integration of the enigmas, then of the “Phases in which you play”, in the plot, and therefore you have to resort to these stupid loopholes without logic, which only make the game more stressful, make it more … Guess what: frustrating!
So, in conclusion, the phases in which you get stuck in this game are not given by information that the player cannot understand, but which are given, but by information that the player does not receive!
… As another example, I would like to make a special mention to them. The unique and inimitable.
Did you see them?
Those always damned stones that were inexplicably important!
Here we have a basic problem with the difference between props, and objects that are important for the plot. We have also seen it in books, right? But here we talk about where Eris kept his secret box, I don’t think he buried it so badly!
Thanks Midori Fragments.
Now let’s go back to a point I mentioned a little earlier, which ends my part of this exhausting review / slating.
Remember the endings room? Now let’s talk about it.
So, for these busy and well-kept endings we should rely on the “ending room”, which as a place does not really make sense on a logical level: what kind of room is that? Why are there doors that when opened take you back in time, probably creating 800 parallel dimensions? What is the function of the bonus room? Why should he say everything about the characters?
Why does all this exist?!
Surely many of you will already be with the keyboard in hand to mention Mogeko Castle … Well, it’s different there.
Mogeko Castle is full of these insane additions, it is one of its peculiarities, the nonsense. When you’re in that situation, so when you play at Mogeko Castle, make up your mind and think you don’t have to ask questions.
In Mogeko Castle, then, that room could very well be one of those of the castle, which as I said is full of these oddities, so a room with statues of all the characters, a kind of wardrobe to dress Yonaka, and all that already we know that we played Mogeko Castle … All this becomes almost normal, the player is used to the weird castle populated by yellow little creatures.
Even Misao, another RPG with a bonus room, had the supernatural factor to help it all.
Not here. They give you a plot that would also like to go on the “realistic”, and that does not aim absolutely at nonsense (indeed, this game also wants to be taken seriously), the places (apart from Abaddon) seem to be villages, houses, orphanages …
And in the end we find this gigantic carpet, 9 doors waiting for us and Millionmiles as a guardian to that cursed room.
And a question makes its way into my mind …
But how did we end up there?!
We cannot know it, we will only know that all those doors represent important divergences for the finals, and that if we unlock them all, the top door will open, showing the aforementioned bonus room.
Here … Instead of creating this damned room, you could very well give the player more freedom on when to save for an ending or another! These things piss me off so much, goddammit!
Because this room simply serves no purpose, and only gives useless information on the already mentioned forgettable characters, the useless origins of their names, is… A note from the author of the game. Let’s read it together.
“Hi, I’m Umi Nagisa, the founder of Midori Fragments, thank you for playing A Figment of Discord!”
Heartfelt thanks to you for making me angry, and at the same time entertaining, for a game like I had never played before. Thank you.
“If you had the patience to unlock all the endings, you must have really liked… I hope!”
… I continued it for science.
“How do you say? Would you like some anticipation on our next project? “
No! Please stand still! We’re all fine… Haha … Haha …
“I can only say that we will move away from the world of A Timeless Story and we will turn more to the fantastic realm.”
Well, so in addition to the problems of a fairly simple plot, there may be even more logical inconsistencies.
“You will never believe me, but an important clue to the plot has already been given within this game!”
I’m afraid I don’t understand. Enlighten me. Really, it’s an innocent request.
“I can’t say more! Continue to follow us on our social networks to stay up to date on current work, see you soon! “
And I also greet you, Umi, the whole Midori Fragments team, and I also greet you, poor survivors of all this slamming done with blood, sweat and tears.
I agree with everything you said and I just finished the game!!
I don’t think this game is worth for the 2019 Misao, there are a LOT of better games this year. I’m pretty sure the developers will ask for votes on their social media and that’s it.
Thank you: like we said we made this review with blood, sweat and tears, and we’re happy that someone sees the real “value” of this game. We also agree that there are better games this year: this won’t win. But we wanted to do this review anyway, even because the author asked us… Even if, at the end, we fought under one of her post on Facebook… Ah, such a mess ^^’
I don’t know what happened but there’s no need to be upset about it, you guys did a good job with it and I hope you guys will make new reviews in the future.