Anime Review – Your Lie in April

Hey everyone, it’s Kern here. Today I’m reviewing a drama anime, before I do though we should define the difference between drama and melodrama.

Drama is a noun. In the context of this review it means to express an exciting, emotional, or unexpected series of events or set of circumstances. Melodrama is also a noun, but it means to sensationalize a dramatic piece with exaggerated characters and exciting events intended to appeal to the emotions. Sensational means over the top in this instance, but unless you’re Penny Polendina from “RWBY” sensational doesn’t always mean its good.

Actually, I’d argue that most bad drama anime are accidentally melodramas by their nature. Good melodrama is even more difficult to write than drama itself. For example Oniisama e, also known as Dear Brother is a melodrama anime done right.

Unfortunately, crappy drama anime are dime a dozen, melodramaticin all the wrong ways to a fault, and searching for cheap ways to pander to the viewers because that’s the easy thing to do. We’ve all seen them out there.

Every year more mindless drivel gets released only to be forgotten. To be honest, good drama anime are very difficult to come by. That’s why Your Lie in April is an important anime to discuss.

It isn’t a melodrama by its core nature, and it isn’t particularly bombastic either. At the end of the day, Your Lie in April is very well written drama anime.

Your Lie in April or Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso, released in 2014. It was directed by Kyōhei Ishiguro and written by Takao Yoshioka. The studio that worked on this dramatic title was A-1 Pictures, so you know going in that the music is going to be amazing and the animation quality isn’t going to flounder under its own weight.

There is plenty of media for this series, including manga and a light novel, as well as an OVA. I’ll just be focusing on the anime though.

For me personally, it wasn’t the hardcore gut-punch that many claimed it to be. That being said, it shouldn’t be overlooked or bypassed. To even think otherwise would just be flat out stupid, because there are so many things this anime gets right.

A Simple Story Done Right

Your Lie in April isn’t about complicated interwoven narratives. It can’t carry the same sort of gravitas that some other great anime can. It doesn’t need to do that, and it doesn’t attempt to be more than it is. I can really respect series that understands the core messages and themes it conveys.

Let’s be honest, painting a narrative that encapsulates themes of traumatic experience and coming of age concisely and consistently isn’t always easy. These are teenage characters, but Your Lie in April manages to handle the story incredibly well.

It’s a simple story filled with complicated emotions. It isn’t anything more than that, and it doesn’t want to be. Therefore, what we have instead is a true series of heartfelt emotional turmoil, and the process of overcoming it.

We follow a boy by the name of Arima Kōsei, who is as troubled as could be. After his mother’s death, he lost his love and passion for the piano. He can’t even listen to the sound of his own playing without being bogged down by the emotional weight of it all. Suffering a mental breakdown at a young age, two years later he still struggles with his trauma.

At the beginning of the anime, about halfway into the episode Arima describes how he experiences the world. To him it is a place full of monotone. The vibrancy and thrill of life itself is something he just can see for himself anymore. This is a metaphor for a slew of deeper issues, but on a surface level saying he’s chronically depressed isn’t an understatement.

The catalyst for his emotional levity comes in the form of a young blond haired girl named Kaori Miyazono. She is a skilled violinist with a free spirited personality and a passion and flair for music arts.

Kaori lacks a fair amount of restraint, and Arima observes she has a bit of a violent personality at times. Regardless of that, he’s very interested in her. Kaori’s musical talents and her outlook on life are the influences he needs the most. She lacks his stringent views of the musical arts and she fills a void in Arima’s creative ability.

Slowly and with no small amount of effort, Kaori revitalizes Arima’s love of music. Through her, he begins to see music as an outlet he needs. Slowly, the world becomes a vibrant place for emotional and personal growth once more.

See what I mean? Your Lie in April has a simple and uncomplicated plot. As you can probably guess, this means the anime needs to dig deep to be fully enjoyed. The plot is an emotional journey of the soul itself, a story of triumph over trauma… or in some cases, acceptance over grief.

It’s not groundbreaking by any means, and I’d hesitate to call the series foundational to the anime medium, because it isn’t those things. That being said, the anime is a beautifully told story. Concepts of love and the desire for hope are focal points for the characters. It is what drives the plot forward.

Familial love, romantic love, a passion for hobbies and interests, and a love for life itself trickles into the narrative commonly enough. Hope for the future is what blend the ideologies of these youths together.

Love in spite of trauma and hardship. Love in spite of grief, and love clung onto tightly even when letting go of the past, are all themes well represented here.

Hope and inspiration are the balm for Arima’s traumatic past and his emotional burdens. The healing powers of music plays a strong role here as well. Showcasing that for some people, music is not only a talent, it’s a legacy.

There is also a thick layer of metaphor here, as music is used as a way to connect these characters. It gives us a deeper clarity to who these people really are. Rather than having a character simply go on long and cumbersome diatribes, music becomes the looking glass that allows us to really see beyond their carefully constructed masks.

To be clear, every character has one one these masks, the “lie” you could say. Even the free spirited Kaori is not exempt from this. She has once too, and it is just as tragic and cumbersome as Arima’s own.

The cast is huge. Since the anime is only twenty-two episodes in length, many don’t get the time they deserve. This isn’t too awful though, as the series was never meant to hold aloft a complete medley cast of characters.

At the end of the day only two characters really matter, Arima and Kaori. Everyone else just functions as plot threads to build the world these characters inhabit. Many of the side cast don’t get fully completed stories, and since the plot is so centrally focused anyway, it doesn’t rightly matter.

However for all of the good things this series does manage to do well, there’s just one way it entirely fails in every way possible.

Repetitive Trauma: Eventual Desensitization

Trauma is not a one-size-fits-all narrative lens. After an emotionally crippling experience, recovery has highs and lows. Recovery isn’t easily attained, meaning cycles of repetition can occur. Even though it is very factual to life, generally speaking it isn’t very satisfying to watch.

The cycle of trauma is a vicious one. When poorly handled, it can come off as overbearing. As fans, we usually expect better of protagonists by default and that doesn’t help. We want to hear stories of victory, but in some ways this is a story about loosing more than winning.

By its pure definition, trauma is a deeply distressing or disturbing experience. That means it sinks into a person with a vice-like grip. You don’t just get over it. That’s not how deeply seeded trauma works.

There is a “two-steps-forward and one-step-back” mindset that hard hitting emotional trauma causes. Recovery itself isn’t a linear path. Enter in Arima to that cycle of repetition, and we can see where this causes the main issue I have with Your Lie in April.

Arima is incredibly human for his depiction of circular patterns of thinking. He has a tenancy of falling back down into his own poor mental state.

Several times in the show we see how this impacts him emotionally. There is no question about how heavily it weighs down upon his poor self-image. We can’t avoid the topic, the anime won’t let you.

Although, to a point touching upon his trauma happens too frequently. It’s easy to get bored with him or to lose any ounce of sympathy you have with him. A huge part of that comes down to his constant inner monologues.

His struggles would negatively impact anyone, but especially a boy like him. We don’t need that point beaten into us, yet it often is.

While many characters use music to truly express themselves, there are times the thick and heavy mental state of the characters does that job too. Particularly where Arima is concerned, it can be too much.

I praised the show’s ability to use music as a means of emotional expression and metaphor. That’s because when those moments don’t happen, we get the exact opposite.

Sometimes it seems like the series thinks it needs to beat the point of his anxieties into us, because we’re too stupid to figure it out on our own.

When inner monologues do happen, they’re long and almost too heavy handed. Sometimes it detracts from the musical piece on stage to have the monologue laying so thickly over the top of it. This isn’t a psychology or sociology anime. In the attempt to make Arima feel more like part of humanity, what we have instead is a loss of that human nature itself.

In a way, that’s almost genius. No, I’m not kidding. Listen, it doesn’t matter if we want to admit this or not. It is pure fact. Arima is the personification of what trauma does to a person when left untreated. He should have gotten the help he needed long ago, but he didn’t and what we see is that result. Trauma harms his way of thinking in different ways, damaging the greater logic he needs in order to see his own self-worth.

As much as it sucks to realize this, that holds true to reality. This is why so many people just don’t recover from emotional strain in real life. Even when they think they are on the road to recovery, they can be proven wrong, and it can resurface or come back with a vengeance.

Across several episodes, Arima describes playing the piano as if being under water. The sound dulled, or at times he’s down so deep he can’t hear it at all. While these moments showcase his true anxieties well, it comes so often that it can feel like you’re watching versions of the same scene over and over again.

The issue is though, real life trauma and creative narrative stories don’t always mix very well. This isn’t a true story. These are characters and this is an anime. We need to be able to see the humanity in the characters too, not just the mental struggles they present to the story.

Your Lie in April is not anything like Anohana, that’s for damn sure. This is why it lacks the emotional gut-punch for me. We lose the character Arima to his own brain more times than not. Their mental diatribes lack parts of the core human experience. Notably, it and quite sadly, it lacks any real catharsis.

It gets to a point where I just don’t care about Arima, because I feel like he’s a character better suited to far more heavy handed series. Your Lie in April isn’t by its nature a dark series. It’s emotional, sure, but it’s not dark and gritty.

There’s too much poorly placed comedy to really draw me into a darker narrative. The over all tone of this series doesn’t suit a darker narrative anyway. tragic storytelling is not the same as dark storytelling.

All-in-all this is the largest issue in the series and for some it could even be a deal breaker. I know several people who dropped the show because of Arima alone midway through.

Honestly, that’s a real shame because Kaori’s story is just so damn good in the second half to a point she nearly steals the show, and for good reason.

Speaking of Kaori, by now you’re probably wondering why I am avoiding saying too much about her. Well, I wish I could say more on that, but I won’t.

No, really, I can’t dive into that, because it is way too fundamental to the story to speak at length about it. I don’t want to spoil her story arc for those who haven’t seen the series. I want you to watch it and see it for yourself.

What I will say is that Kaori is the reason you watch this anime. Her message, her emotional traumas, and her bond with Arima aren’t things you just pass up. All of it is just just too good, and it will kick your ass emotionally more than Arima alone ever could.

It also finally gives Arima the catharsis he’s needed for the vast majority of the twenty-two episode run time. So yeah, sorry, can’t spoil it. You’ve got to experience it for yourself.

Final Thoughts

Yes, there are many flaws with this show. Even so, it doesn’t diminish that Your Lie in April is one of the best drama anime out there. While it doesn’t usually portray as melodramatic, it can toe the line sometimes.

The series is also possibly one of the best examples of how real trauma manifests in a person. The series explains why it is not so easy to move beyond it. The show fully displays those difficulties even when its a hindrance to do so.

That legitimate “two-steps-forward and one-step-back” traumatic cycling is very hard to find in any anime series. Usually it just isn’t done well. Normally it has some supernatural or magical component to it… or there are time skips clogging the recovery itself.

Your Lie in April offers that distinct personal looking glass of that trauma inwardly. On top of that, it manages to do it in a fairly digestible way. Completely accessible for teenage viewers and with a core theme that suits reality. Often times people in mental health recovery programs take up the arts as form of healthy outlet. Arima’s coping skills through music are very reminiscent of that, even though music is part of his trauma in the first place.

It’s a messy message to send, I won’t deny that. However that alone holds true too. Trauma will never be clear cut, and it would be impossible to avoid the triggers that cause trauma for your entire life. Learning to move above and beyond that will never be simple. One day, you need to find the way to cope with it, or you’ll just continue to suffer.

Arima learns that the hard way, but it is a lesson we all come to learn in our lives at some point.

Kaori’s involvement in his life, and his newfound love of music isn’t a cure-all, and that’s the key. Thanks to Kaori’s influence and using music as a touchstone, Arima finds a way to deal with his traumatic life experiences in a helpful and meaningful way.

Now, are there better depictions of this sort of theme out there? Sure there is! However, all of those better examples I come up with aren’t as easily accessible to viewers, or they’re filled with concepts just aren’t useful for younger teenagers.

Your Lie in April doesn’t shy away from emotional difficulties, but I’d never say the anime goes too far down the rabbit-hole either. It can be heavy handed, but I wouldn’t call it nightmare fuel by any means.

This strong balance makes it one of the best drama anime out there that focuses on traumatic life experience. If that sort of thing interests you, then you have to watch this anime and come up with your own opinions. There’s no question about that.

This has been Kernook of “The Demented Ferrets”, where stupidity is at its finest, and level grinds are par for the course. If you liked this review please be sure to check out similar content down below, plus a few announcements of upcoming anime review content.

We have a lot of great review content coming up in the following weeks. The Patreon exclusive poll has some results in for one game review and one anime review. If you want to help decide content going forward, becoming a patron is your way to do that.

Anime: Zombie Land Saga in the first week of June.
Game: Valkyria Chronicles for the PlayStation 3 also in the first week of June.

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Kern Plays: Dinner with an Owl

Hey everyone, it’s Kern here! Good games sometimes come in small packages, often times when you least expect it. That’s what happened to me when I played a game called Dinner with an Owl.

It was a game I streamed live on Twitch late at night, long after Kresh was asleep. It is also now up on YouTube.

To be honest, I wasn’t exactly sure what I was getting into with this thing, as the description only says this: Break the puzzling spell of your eccentric host! Dinner with an Owl: A short surreal point and click adventure.”

Kern Plays: Dinner with an Owl

Kern’s “let’s play” footage of Dinner with an Owl. This game was played in one sitting, as it is very short.

Part 1 of 1 (Watch on YouTube)

The game is exactly as it says it is, really. This game is short, and the puzzle itself is actually quite interesting. In retrospect, it was actually easy to solve, hiding in plain sight, but that’s what gave me such great difficulty.

The game is certainly “spoopy” instead of truly spooky or frightening in any way. Although it did catch me by surprise a few times, though not in a “jump scare” kind of way. It was more like a “Well, I wasn’t expecting that!” sort of way.

I’ll say this though, I doubt this is the sort of game anyone would want to play or watch more than once. If you’d like to experience the game yourself, go and do that instead of watching anyone play it, myself included.

Don’t worry about barriers to entry, there really isn’t any that I can think of. If you have a computer that’s even remotely functional, this game shouldn’t give you any issues. It’s free and you can get it over on Steam, so the price is right too.

More Information

If you like slightly grim point and click puzzle games, this one is worth a look. What we have here is strictly that. Dinner with an Owl is a point and click adventure game with surreal and grim undertones. The somewhat “Spoopy” part of the game lingers within the confines of the narrative.

Originally, this game was part of a game jam in 2017. On May 18, 2021, the enhanced “Dessert Edition” was released on steam. This is the version is the one that you see me playing in the video above.

Dinner with an Owl is compelling to say the least, because it isn’t overly complex, but it isn’t mindlessly simple. It stands in a strange in-between. The graphics aren’t god awful, and fit the over all design of the game well enough to get by without complaint. The soundtrack has its own original lyrical song as well, and that’s something noteworthy for an entirely free title like this one.

The voice acting isn’t half bad either. It is certainly good enough not to be earsplitting or absolutely awful. To be honest, I actually found some of the voices to be perfectly fitting, notably the owl himself.

If I had one gripe, it’s the repetitive nature of the game itself when it comes to dialogue options, though since this game was originally a game jam project made by BoringSuburbanDad you can hardly fault the project for being lacking in that single aspect. This likely wouldn’t be as annoying of an issue if I had figured out the puzzle far earlier than I did.

I wasn’t expecting it to be so straightforward, and that’s what gave me such great difficulty. All-in-all, this is a compelling little game, all things considered. For what it is, I found it enjoyable, and the price was right too.

This has been Kernook of “The Demented Ferrets”, where stupidity is at its finest and level grinds are par for the course. Be sure to check out our other great content down below.

I’ll see you next time.

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10 Amazing 70’s Anime

Hey everyone, it’s Kernook here! Over the years we’ve had some really wonderful anime that time seemed to forget. Let’s do ourselves a favor and dig through the decades to find those old gems.

These are anime that are pivotal to the medium, and helped to make the anime industry what it is today. If you haven’t seen these series, you really should. The anime in this list aren’t in any particular order of importance. These are just ten amazing anime that should be forgotten.

Mind you, there is an anime that’s on this list simply for being amazingly bad, and no I’m not joking. Could there be a worse one? Sure, but I haven’t found it yet. That particular anime made the list because it is the worst trash heap I’ve seen in 70’s anime, but we will get to that later.

The rest are real gems though, so don’t bypass them. This thing is going to be long enough without my rambling, so let’s just dig into the list.

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As a “Little Ferret” you will be allowed to help decide topics for the blog, and have access to patron only updates. Your name will be credited on every post for as long as you are a patron. This will also get you access into The Demented Ferrets official discord server. Join here today!

#1: Space Battleship Yamato

Originally run from 1974 to 1975 this twenty-six episode anime became widely popular, inspiring a wide range of other shows taking place in the vast world of outer space. It has plenty of sequel and remake fodder to keep an anime fan entertained for hours.

The series boasts a nice collections of games to accompany the franchise, so you won’t be hungry for more content. Space Battleship Yamato is almost required viewing for any science fiction fan. This thing is the epitome of a space opera, and for its time it even looks very pleasing to the eye. You won’t regret watching this classic masterpiece.

#2: The Rose Of Versailles

Okay fans of Utena, this one is for you. Historical anime have always been popular, and that’s no joke. In 1979, though there was a massive shift in how we think of these types of shows. All of it thanks to series like this one. Carrying its way into the cusp of the eighties, this anime refused conformity and gave a big middle finger to anyone that might be offended.

The Rose of Versailles was very unique back then, and it still is today. You’re not going to find many anime like it. The series totaled forty episodes, completely embracing the slice of life genre and blurring the lines of performative gender role as expected by society. All of these themes are wrapped with several layers of romantic intrigue and political drama. The fact that it takes place during the French Revolution is just another interesting bone to chew on. If you like series such as Revolutionary Girl Utena, this is not an anime you pass by.

#3: Ashita no Joe

If you like boxing anime, this one is your classic bread and butter. In recent years we’ve had Megalo Box as a spiritual successor, but you just can’t beat out this incredible classic. In 1970 this anime literally came out swinging and sports anime was never quite the same after that.

This anime had a little bit of everything. Great ring matches, wonderful commentary on the boxing world at the time, and a main protagonist you couldn’t help but love. There was a lot of heart and soul in this series, and at a robust seventy-five episodes, you can be strapped in for one hell of a ride.

#4: Mobile Suit Gundam (The Original)

Alright, come on guys, you knew this bad boy was going to be on the list. Mecha series are an anime staple for a damn good reason, and this anime was the forefather of the Gundam series. Yes it’s old. Yes it is very dated. Yes there are better Gundam series out there.

Any Gundam fan will already know this is not the cream of the crop, but that’s not why it’s on this list. It’s here because the original 1979 Gundam anime was foundational to mecha anime. Let’s be real honest with ourselves. Ignoring this landmark title is not something we can meaningfully do. Besides, it heavily inspired other mecha series too, and we can’t forget that.

The only mecha series that could be more foundational would be Mazinger Z, one of the first mecha anime ever made. It’s an honorable mention, because this this is one of the forefathers of mecha anime. However, I’d argue that Gundam is more paramount in the long run, and that’s why it’s on the list.

#5: 3000 Leagues In Search Of Mother

If ever there were a series that needed to be given the full remake treatment, it’s this one.  In 1976 anime fans were gifted a journey about a boy traveling from Italy to Argentina all on his own.

3000 Leagues In Search Of Mother is a heartfelt period piece taking place during Italy’s depression. It tells the story of a young boy who leaves in search of his very ill mother when he stop receiving letters from her. This anime is just so amazing, it’s hard to imagine it’s been left alone and forgotten. The heart and soul that permeates the series is not something easily described, because for as heartwarming as the adventure can be, the main protagonists is a little boy who goes through a great deal of trouble reach his destination. As much as there’s joy and adventure, there’s a lot of sadness and heartache too. At fifty-two episodes you’re in for an experience you won’t often find elsewhere.

#6: Future Boy Conan

1978 gave us one hell of a special anime series. Future Boy Conan is the first complete run of a series that Hayao Miyazaki ever fully directed. Do I really need to say more than that? Prior to this. he’d had a hand in directing Lupin the 3rd for about fifteen episodes, but that was about it as a director.

Sure, he had a slew of credits within animation departments, and had written and directed the Yuki’s Sun short film. However, Future Boy Conan was his first massive undertaking as a director, and this series really shows off what he was capable of in his earliest days as a director. This series showcases a world that has been devastated by war and the elements themselves after earth was thrown off its axis. As far as post-apocalypse science fiction goes, this is everything you’d expect of a good series. It has a love story, action and adventure. If you are a Hayao Miyazaki fan, this is a twenty-six episode series you have to watch.

#7: Chargeman Ken!

In the 60’s we had a real gem in Speed Racer, but in the 70’s we weren’t so lucky. In 1974 we were treated to the complete dumpster fire that was known as Chargeman Ken! This is one of those “so bad, it’s good” anime. Nowadays it has a fairly strong cult following.

Believe it or not, even when it was released, it was critically panned for low-quality production values. Knack Productions made this absolute abomination, and in turn it gives us a baseline for what 70’s anime looked like at its worst. There is no nice way to put this. Chargeman Ken! will show you what an animated shit stain in the 70’s really looked like. It is amazingly terrible. This is a series you watch with a group of friends to suffer with, or to troll the absolute hell out of them.

#8: Belladonna of Sadness

Okay, I’ll level with you, this one is way out there. I’d never fault you if you haven’t heard of it. Belladonna of Sadness is anavant garde anime film made in 1973, and dear sweet god, it is not your typical anime by far. Don’t go into it thinking it is, because it isn’t.

This film was initially coined as total commercial failure, however if you’re an anime connoisseur of the highest order, this is a must see film. It is very experimental with its animation. You’ll find beautiful painted still images that are as amazing as they are sometimes violent or explicit. There’s adult themes and imagery in this film that are not made for children. The film also inspired Kunihiko Ikuhara and its visual and thematic influences can be seen in Revolutionary Girl Utena. Having sat through the film twice now, I’ll say it’s interesting. I don’t know if I could say I liked it. but it is amazing just what this film managed to pull off.

#9: Aim for the Ace

We’re equal opportunity here, and with a sports anime showcasing athletic guys on the list, I couldn’t very well leave out Aim for the Ace! This anime has very strong female representation for an anime that came out in 1973.

It’s prolific for that alone, but if you like tennis, or sports anime in general, this is a paramount staple to have on your watch-list. Though the anime was initially aimed at girls, guys love this thing too. There’s a lot of great tennis anime out there, and this one stands with the best of them. You’ll always see it on a top list for tennis anime, and it even holds a solid foundation on most sports anime top lists too. If you need a good sports anime to watch, pick it up, it’ll be worth your time.

#10: Cutie Honey

I couldn’t avoid it forever, magical girl series are another common staple in the anime fandom. Very few anime from this decade will do you better that Cutie Honey. In 1973, this anime was a hit right out of the gate, and series is very intriguing to say the least.

This magical girl can assume a vast many personas, and when doing so she gains special abilities. The titular character, Honey is super mischievous and troublesome for a female main lead of her time. She’ll tease her male friends at school and has no qualms giving out her opinion. She’ll downright aggravate and taunt the absolute crap out of her enemies in combat too. She can be everything we want out of a magical girl. Do you like your female lead to be a bad-ass biker chick? She can pull that off. Would you rather have a magical girl with cutesy-poo pink hair that’s your typical warrior of love? She can do that too. This anime showcases one of the best female leads in a magical girl show. If you’re a fan of that, don’t miss out on Cutie Honey.

Final Thoughts

As you can plainly see, in the seventies we were given many great anime series, and this only scratches the surface. If you’re a mecha anime fan, you’ll find a lot of your classics hailed from this decade. Space operas found their calling, sports anime was heavily on the rise, and some of the earliest truly experimental works in anime can be found here.

When we think of classic anime we turn to the eighties and nineties most of all, but we shouldn’t turn our noses up at these seventies classics either. Some of the greatest names in the anime industry really found their footing here, and the foundational touchstones that many of these series had to offer influenced tropes and storytelling still used today.

If you’re hungry for truly classic anime, these choices won’t do you better. It’s an eclectic mix, so dive right in. You’ll be glad you did. Honestly, there are just too many great series that I couldn’t name them all. Maybe you’ve seen a wonderful series that I haven’t yet. Let’s share our passion for these classic treasures.

Do you have a favorite seventies anime that wasn’t on this list? Tell me about it down below.

This has been Kernook from “The Demented Ferrets”, where stupidity is at it’s finest and level grinds are par for the course. If you liked this content, please be sure to check out some other great content down below.

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Kresh Plays: Crash Bandicoot (N. Sane Trilogy)

Hello everyone, it’s Kern here offering you up past live stream post. This is a game we recently completed over on our Twitch channel, and is now archived on our YouTube channel as well. Yep, that’s right! Kresh finally completed the first game in the Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy, a series of the first three remastered Crash Bandicoot games from the 90’s.

In the two videos below you’ll also hear me talking, as I’m on co-commentary on Saturday mornings when the live stream took place. You may recall that earlier this year, Kresh played and completed Crash Bandicoot 4:  It’s About Time on our Twitch channel. This prompted the decision to go back and play the first three games in the series.

The game has an absolutely infamous level that was so difficult in play-testing that they decided not to make it mandatory. You’ll see Kresh struggle against it quite a bit before true victory is achieved and the level is beaten.

Kresh Plays: Crash Bandicoot

This is the first game in the Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy being played Kresh. As usual, Kern sits in on co-commentary.

Part 1 of 2 (Watch on YouTube)

Part 2 of 2 (Watch on YouTube)

More Information

In the 90’s three dimensional platforming was still in its infancy. A few landmark titles had come out, but there was still many improvements to be made to the genre when it came to complicated and vast three dimensional environments. To be honest, developers were still trying to figure out the best way to design these sorts of games.

Crash Bandicoot is so widely loved by gamers because it managed to get right what so many other titles of the era got wrong. Originally developed by Naughty Dog and published by Sony Computer Entertainment the first game in the Crash Bandicoot series first released in September of 1996 for the PlayStation.

This 3-D platfomer is one of the most popular franchises to have ever released for the PlayStation. To this day it is considered by many to be a very difficult and fun game to play. Many adults have fond memories of playing the game as a child, and others have gone back to experience the game from a simpler time.

There’s a lot to like about the franchise. The titular character is zany, the villains are a bit wacky, and there is plenty of comedic relief to go around. A game suitable for children and adults alike, Crash Bandicoot has earned a rather die-hard fan following.

The franchise proved to be so successful in fact, that in June of 2017 the first three games in the series were released in a compilation title known as Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy for the PlayStation 4.

A year later, Switch, Xbox One and PC gamers would have access to the game as well, holding a wide consumer audience and massive sales once more.

With upgraded graphics, and overall faithfulness to the original releases, not much has changed. If you want to experience the original game this rendition serves you well. Though the jump mechanic feels a little different for sure, something Kresh comments on during gameplay.

Game Mechanics, Crates, and Other Crap

Crash Bandicoot is a platformer, so you know the drill. You can jump, run, and all that other fun stuff. You also have two main ways of dealing with enemies. You can jump onto enemies, or you can do a spinning attack that will send enemies bouncing out of the way.

Boss battles often have their own set of rules, but the idea is usually the same. Weaken the boss in same way, then attack them. Do this a number of times, the boss goes down.

To win against “Ripper Roo” for example, you need to have him blow himself up on those flowing TNT crates. After he does, you’ll be able to jump on him and take down his health bar.

In each of the levels you’ll find different kinds of crates. This is a core feature, there is a ton of these things and some of these are actually pretty deadly, so there are ones you won’t want to break. Crates can be broken open by jumping on them, using a spin attack, or knocking an enemy into them.

Most crates will only contain “Wumpa Fruit”, a fictional fruit that can grant the titular character Crash an extra lives. You’ll receive one life per one-hundred fruit.

Basically if you’ve ever played a Mario game, “Wumpa Fruit” take the place of coins. There are occasionally power-ups inside the boxes as well. Some crates will display an icon of what they have inside. Crates displaying Aku Aku’s face on them will give you a mask that protects Crash from a single enemy or certain traps in the level.

If you manage to collect three masks consecutively without taking a hit (yeah, good luck with that if you’re not a pro at the game) Crash will get a temporary invulnerability from all minor threats in the level.

Crates marked with a “C” act as checkpoints, your absolute best friend. Crash will begin at a checkpoint after losing a life, so long as you haven’t gotten a “game over”.

Then there are metallic crates marked with an exclamation point. These cause something to change in the area. Usually this just spawns more boxes, but sometimes you need those things so it is best not to ignore them.

Now onto the more dangerous crates. Jumping on a red TNT crate triggers a timer that culminates in an explosion. Spinning into these causes an immediate detonation, so yeah be careful around these ones. You need to blow them up for the box counter, but do so carefully.

Thankfully, there is no “Nitro” in this game to worry about, as that didn’t make an appearance until the second game in the series.

In the Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy a few changes were made. Crash’s jump has changed slightly, and returning players often comment on needing to get used to it. Kresh certainly does in the footage above. That’s not the only overhaul in the game either. There’s been a lot of “quality of life” improvements to be found.

Notably updated pause menus and save systems have been included. Time trials which didn’t show up in the series until the third game, now show up across all three games in this remastered version. Furthermore since this is a remastered rendition of the first three titles, game audio and cut-scenes have been updated. New recordings of the in-game dialogue was re-recorded by recent voice actors in the industry.

Well, those are the basics. By now you can determine for yourself if you want to play the game or not. With the gameplay footage above you can at least watch Kresh play the game if nothing else. So, that about does it.

Don’t forget to follow the blog for more content like this. Want to help keep the blog advertisement free? Please become a patron! We have a $1 “Little Ferret” tier that’s perfect for blog readers.

As a “Little Ferret” you will be allowed to help decide topics for the blog, and have access to patron only updates. Your name will be credited on every post for as long as you are a patron. This will also get you access into The Demented Ferrets official discord server. Join here today!

What did you think of the game? Let us know in the comments below. I always reply to comments, and so will Kresh if the need arises, so be sure to leave one if you want to.

This has been Kernook of “The Demented Ferrets”, where stupidity is at its finest and level grinds are par for the course. If you liked this content, please be sure to check out more like it below.

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With your contributions, you make our efforts possible. Thank you for supporting our content. Patreon supporters receive access into our official Discord server, and a few other perks depending on the tier.

There is a $1 tier, perfect for blog readers, so don’t hesitate. Join today!

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At the time of this post there are 3 supporters of our content, currently all of them are in the “Demented Minion” tier.

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Fandom: The Comfort of a Good “Let’s Play”

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Hey everyone, it’s Kern here. This is just an introspection piece, and that’s why I’m posting it on a day that isn’t typically a blog post day. It’s just a few thought I have, nothing more.

About a year ago I was asked by an elderly relative, why gamers these days watch “let’s plays”, when we could just play the game ourselves? This older relative is an extended relative, a great aunt of mine. Unlike most of the family, she never quite understood why we played games in the first place.

Since she’s so old, I came up with the usual and easy excuses. I brought up money constraints, games can be an expensive hobby. I spoke of social interaction, internet communities can be very closely knit in some circles. Lastly I mentioned impressive feats of skill, some gamers are just the cream of the crop and the rest of us want to cheer that on.

However, those were all very impersonal answers to what I feel to be a very personal question. My aunt seemed to have forgotten she asked this question, and over the phone she asked it again just yesterday.

Cut her some slack, she’s very old. To put my family into perspective here, my mother (who used to be a gamer) is in her 70’s, my great aunt is in her nineties. The woman isn’t nearly as sharp as she used to be, she’s more forgetful about mundane conversations every single day.

Yesterday, I felt that I finally had an answer that was far more satisfying to me and far more appealing to my aunt.

I think we watch “let’s plays” because it fills some sort void. Something that is intrinsic to who we are as a greater community. It isn’t just entertainment, it becomes a balm for something greater. At least that’s what I think, and let me tell you why.

Today, my aunt is here and she’s watching my little cousin, her “great, great, niece” play a video game. She never did that when I was young, she was more ornery about games back then. More brainwashed that games were damaging to children. It took two full generations of gaming within the family to finally remove that stigma out of her.

Gamers of a certain age will recall the days of meager graphics and simple sound design. Times when we would run home from school, kick off our shoes, and grab the nearest controller. For a few perfect hours, all was right with our world. We’d take up gaming as a fun hobby before doing our homework, having dinner and going to bed. For many of us, these are memories that likely fill our heads.

Well, you would recall that if you were a little older than me at least. My recollection of the games started when I was still toddling around in diapers. Many of the early games I was exposed to came out sandwiched around the year I was born, 1989.

Games such as Mario and Mega Man titles were common household staples. A Boy and His Blob Trouble on Blobolonia was a beloved title in this house, though that cartage NES game finally died a slow death about eight years ago. The Mega Man ones are finally dying out too, but Super Mario Bros 3 is still going strong despite the heavy use.

I’ve said it before, but I came from a family of gamers, so the sounds of eight and sixteen bit games were often what I napped to in my earliest years. My father was the only one in the household that didn’t play video games. Anyway, I was one of those diaper clad toddlers that was handed a controller. I would push the buttons mystified, even when it wasn’t plugged in.

More importantly to my little and innocent soul, came the all too coveted nap time in the summer months. That’s when my extended family came over almost daily to spend countless hours enjoying the back yard, chasing the ice cream truck that passed by at the same time almost every day, and of course playing video games.

There was an eighteen year difference between some of my older cousins and myself. The shortest distance was still a lengthy one at a seven year divide. For me, there was no better way to fall asleep than to watch my family play games. Nap time for me was all about grabbing my pillow and blanket. I’d insist on laying on my favorite mat on the floor. I’d fall asleep watching those NES, Sega Genesis, and SNES titles. I eyed the lone Game Boy in the house and often got pretty bratty when I couldn’t see what was being played.

You could say I was a fan of watching “let’s plays” before they were ever really a thing gamers did in mass. I suspect they’re a sensation at all because so many gamers likely grew up like I did. With an older sibling or a parent playing video games as a key element of entertainment in the household.

Many of us probably grew up with that comfort, so it became something more than just a mere game. For me, it became an extension of family time. It was part of my personal identity in a very intractable way.

As I grew older, my cousins and sibling married off, eventually having children of their own. This tradition lives on. The huge age gap between me and my youngest cousins is about seventeen years. I’m the baby as far as the adults in the family go. While I’m now thirty-one years old, those little cousins are just now reaching their teens.

I feel old…

I also feel validated that they are growing up in a world where gaming is far more normalized than it was in my youth.

My family played video games, but most of the people I knew at school in the early 90’s didn’t. As a person that was constantly bullied I didn’t much care for having them as friends anyway. Back then I could barely hold a pencil, let alone play sports. Gaming was my major hobby.

Nowadays that stigma among other children has been thoroughly trounced, and gamers come from all walks of life. My cousins are growing up in a much more enlightened gaming generation, and I get to watch them mature within it.

That’s pretty damn special, I’ve got to say. After all, I firmly recall their earliest days. Actually Kresh and Ruka do too, to a small degree. After all, those little cousins were on my lap more often than not during hot summer days. Back then, we used Skype as a just barely functional for VOIP to play FFXI and other such games.

When I was fresh out of high school I was the perfect babysitter. Two toddlers roaming around diaper clad, a baby on the hip, and my games were on full display amidst the warm glow of the television. These children mystified, the same as I was in my earliest years. Now, they’re young teenage and tween gamers themselves. They’re just edging into the wide and vast world of gaming. Branching out from the insular family unit they clung onto when they were young, now they’re playing games together in small circles online.

Now they’re playing MOBA‘s with friends from school, and discussing what series they like in more interconnected and diverse ways. When you play games with kids, it is a powerful tool for teaching and engagement. I’m proof of it, and now, so are my cousins.

Sometimes it is very fun to play a game yourself, and my cousins agree. Every now and then though, I find myself missing the random phone calls. A small nightmare or a bad day at school prompting them to ask “Can I watch you play?” all while sounding so full of hope over something so simple. I don’t think I ever said no, now that I think about it.

Now that those days are gone and passed, I find myself wondering about it. What drove us to do that? Why were we so fixated? Why, amidst everything else, was gaming such a core comfort to the younger family unit?

Well, I don’t have an answer to that. I wish I did, but I don’t. There are too many factors to name. Maybe it was the comfort of a momentary escape. Maybe it was the bonding that occurred because of it, or maybe that was just because we liked games.

I think, in the end, the reasons are too diverse and personal to name. They’re so personal because we gamers aren’t a monolith. So, to answer the question, why do we gamers like to watch “let’s plays” so much? I go back to what I said before.

It gives us something we need, even if that thing isn’t entirely something you can measure. I think anyone who needs to answer that question for themselves will come to find their own personal story about why its so important. A reason why they watch instead of just playing themselves.

Something beyond the usual rhetoric and above the typical reproach. Intangible perhaps, but no less valid for its existence.

Why do you watch “let’s plays” and live streams? Let me know in the comments below.

This has been Kernook of “The Demented Ferrets” where stupidity is at its finest, and level grinds are par for the course. If you liked this content, please be sure to check out some other great posts down below. I’ll see you next time.

To Our Supporters: Thank You!

With your contributions, you make our efforts possible. Thank you for supporting our content. Patreon supporters receive access into our official Discord server, and a few other perks depending on the tier.

There is a $1 tier, perfect for blog readers, so don’t hesitate. Join today!

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At the time of this post there are 3 supporters of our content, currently all of them are in the “Demented Minion” tier.

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Kern’s Collections: Death Note

Hello everyone, it’s Kernook here (Kern for short). I hope this post finds you well. It’s time for another “Kern’s Collections” and this one was a long time in the making. Why did it take so long? Well, primarily because the video editing gave Ruka and I plenty of trouble. Anyway, here it is. I hope you enjoy it.

As always, this is a series dedicated to brief glimpses of media and why you might enjoy them. Included in this post is the video production and the written script.

Video Production of this Script

This is the finished video regarding the script. It is written, edited, and read aloud by Kernook of “The Demented Ferrets”. You can watch the video on this blog and on YouTube. I hope you enjoy the content.


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Written Script

Hello everyone, it’s Kernook here. Welcome to “The Demented Ferrets” channel. This is a segment called “Kern’s Collections”, a series dedicated to brief glimpses of media and why you might enjoy them.

This is not a review. This is merely a simple glance at an anime that could be worth your time.

Today I’m going to be talking about Death Note.

I’d like to think that the series is so well known that most anime fans already known of it, but I recently realized how wrong I was. I met someone who was so new to the anime fandom that they thought Death Note was merely the live action movie that could be found on Netflix. They only recently got into anime as of this year, and well, as you can expect many shows just aren’t on their radar as of yet.

So, I’m going to highlight some of the good and the bad that the series has to offer.

While it’s true that Death Note does have have live action and written media counterparts, today I just want to speak of the anime itself. The series came out in 2006, so I can understand why newer anime fans may not have gotten around to it yet.

First of all, let me just begin by saying this. The series is a Madhouse production,and in the early 2000’s Madhouse was considered top of the line anime. They’re still great now, don’t get me wrong. It’s just that back when Death Note came out, they stood as the cream of the crop, so to speak.

Anyway, you’re going to get a quality series in a lot of respects. In spite of how old it is, Death Note has good animation, and a strong soundtrack. So, don’t let the fact it was made in 2006 put you off.

The series is a thriller first and foremost, but it is also a very good anime when it comes to studying society at large. The complex interplay between the characters makes you think that the minds of the core cast are all that really matters, and that might be true the first time you watch Death Note.

However, I find that the first half of the series is even more rewarding the second or third time through. When you can really sink your teeth into the implications of the world that Death Note attempts to illustrate.

The story is simple. A notebook falls from the sky, and into the hands of a boy named Light Yagami. This young man is on the brink of graduation, bored, and with more ambition than he knows what to do with.

He takes the book home, and finds out it has incredible power. With the book in his hands, and a clear set of rules in place, he comes to realize that he only needs a name and a face. With tho two things, the notebook is able to take human lives with little more than a few mere pen strokes.

Naturally, Light lacks basic human empathy in many ways. Displaying what passes for it, but never truly feeling it. As he chooses to take the law into his own hands, he plans to to make a better future. One that he can become the “god” of. He wants to build a whole new world, based on his desires and his ideals.

Now, this is problematic for the people around him for more than a few reasons. None more so than Light’s own immaturity, and lack of perception. He’s not a good person, and he’s really not the sort of guy you can root for if you have any value in humanity at all. Especially once he begins taking the lives of innocent people for his own gain.

Frankly, he isn’t meant to be the sort of character you can cheer for. Well, unless you like cheering for villains, I suppose. Make no mistake about it, Light is a villain from start to finish, but he is a very well written character even at his worst.

What make the series so interesting, at least for a vast majority of it, is the interplay between Light, and a surrounding characters. This especially holds true for a character simply known as “L”.

It’s the mind games and competition between these two characters that keeps the series engaging.

The anime itself has many super natural elements. Gods of death, and the concept of the book itself falls squarely into the territory where you’ll need to suspend your disbelief. The same goes for Light’s amazing intellect and ability to out smart the forces opposing him.

In general, this isn’t hard to do. More often than not, the series invites you to do this, and viewers often don’t have an issue doing so.

Now, that’s not to say the anime is all sunshine and roses, it’s far from it. Speaking from a time when I was a young adult, I look back upon Death Note very fondly. Anime conventions were full of cos-players, and “L” was a very common character to go as. He was so easy and simple to dress as.

To cosplay as “L” you required only a tiny bit of makeup under the eyes, a black wig, a white shirt, a pair of men’s jeans, and a simple pair of unobtrusive flip-flops… since you know, you shouldn’t walk around barefooted at a convention center.

He was the perfect character to cosplay as when you have very little money to your name and sill wanted to get in on the fun. So, he was a common character to see walking around.

Taking of the nostalgia goggles though, there comes a time when Death Note falls flat on its face in more ways than one. I won’t speak about why, as those would be spoilers. However, what I will say is that when a few new characters start coming around in the back end of the anime, they just can’t compete with their predecessors.

At that point, the story is in no way able to live up to the thrilling and suspenseful ride that it has built up to that point. You may find that to be a disappointment. However, to avoid the series strictly because of its short comings would be a huge disservice. Not every anime is perfect, most are not, and this one had flaws too. Even with the nostalgia goggles removed, there is a lot of good things here.

One last caveat, the last episode is absolutely abysmal, but fear not. There are live action movies that don’t include that crap as part of the narrative and if you really want to see those, give a look for them, they’re around. I’ll talk about them at a later time, though.

Regardless, I still feel that Death Note is well worth your attention. Even though we live in an era of more anime than we often know what to do with, so few can match what Death Note has to offer. So if you’re a new fan, or you simply bypassed it, go back and give it a try.

At the time of this post the anime series can be found over on Funimation and Crunchyroll.

This has been Kernook of “The Demented Ferrets”, where stupidity is at its finest and level grinds are par for the course. I’ll see you in the next post.

If you liked this content, be sure to check out our other great media down below.

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The Problem with Lady Dimitrescu

Lady Dimitrescu from Resident Evil Village could have been my absolute favorite character in the entire game. Instead, she became the character I came to hate the most. I’m so saddened by this, because I was so sure we were going to receive a deep and compelling character. I saw such a great promise in her. Now, I just feel that she was not the character I hoped she would be.

To be absolutely honest, I find her to be a flat our offensive character on principle. The issue is, as a villain she shouldn’t have been offensive in the very specific way she turned out to be.

Yes, her character design is absolutely the sort of representation we need in gaming. Women aren’t often portrayed as strong and assertive. At least, not nearly as often as we gamers might like.

I can respect her for that, but what I can’t do, is pretend she’s a good character when it comes down to dialogue.

Listen, she’s a man-hater, plain and simple, and the issue with her is that she could have been very compelling to have in Resident Evil Village with that mindset. However, it didn’t end up compelling, because the way she displayed that hate was just resolute mindlessness.

Lady Dimitrescu is many things, but she’s not supposed to be reduced down to a nitwit, and that’s ultimately what happened. When you listen to her speak for any length of time it becomes clear. Her insults are gender based more times than not, being prefaced with the word “man” in some way, shape or form.

Worst still, we know she has passed this ideology down to her daughters. Even they are very much obsessed with the concept of gender based ideologies, that just don’t have meaningful extrapolation.

Do we really need a reminder that our character has “man hands”? Does him being a man somehow lessens his complete and total existence? Is this really the best insult a person of such high bloodline and education can make? Is she really that lacking when it comes to turns of phrase?

Well, no, she shouldn’t be. She shows she can be far more than that. Yet, she doesn’t become more than that. That’s ultimately my problem with her…

Look, I get it, she’s a villain, but that’s the issue. She gets reduced down to a stereotypical woman angry at the male gender for seemingly no good reason. Lady Dimitrescu is supposed to be a very intelligent woman, thoughtful in her words and deeds. In short, she’s not a total and complete idiot. Yet, this is the best dialogue that they could come up with?

This is not the first time an issue like this has cropped up. It won’t be the last. A notable example is in Last of Us 2, showcasing a transgender character being horribly mistreated based on a performative interpretation of how they wished to be identified. A large contingent of the trans community, myself and Kreshenne included in that wide and diverse spectrum, took great issue with that.

Now Kreshenne hasn’t played Resident Evil Village, and and can’t speak to it meaningfully, but I have played it and I can speak to it.

I can’t in good faith have the issues that I do with the handling of Last of Us 2, unless I take those same issues with Lady Dimitrescu when referencing the male gender. It all comes down to the same problem. A complete and total lack of care when considering how best to handle the character.

I’ve done my research. Plenty of blog posts out there explain Lady Dimitrescu as a character. They go into detail, and I’ve looked for clues I may have missed. I just don’t care for how she was handled.

Her hatred of men doesn’t help the narrative in any meaningful or heartfelt way. It only does damage. I don’t mind seeing difficult topics handled in games, but they must be handled with careful consideration, and Resident Evil Village failed to do that.

When you reduce insults and slander down to gender continually without any real need to do so, it is absolutely flat out bad writing. I don’t care what gender a character is, when insults are reduced down to that level, it makes everyone doing it look bad.

Lady Dimitrescu is not above this, and she really should be. She is tall not only in stature, but in personality and refinement. Even in combat, she fights with poise and grace until her final form. She is an aristocrat of the finest order, proud of that esteem, and her three daughters.

She is orders of magnitude above the other sorts of people our main character has faced before, and that alone should be intimidation enough. Yet, there is still something more. She hungers for more favoritism from Mother Miranda, and she’ll go to great lengths to get it.

She’s smart, cunning, and more powerful than she lets on. It is very heavily implied and shown that she is an intelligent woman. Apparently Dimitrescu maintained an almost feudal-like rule over the peasantry near her castle. Yet, for all of those amazing qualities, we see so little of them.

What little we do see is bogged down by her constant use of gender based insults. Unfortunately, we have no clear and obvious reason for her to hate men. Still, she treats the male characters she’s around with disgust and vitriol with no discernible reason for her to do this.

She doesn’t clearly voice a reason why she seems to look down on men, only that she does. It’s too heavy handed to place it aside. If you’re not speed running through the game, you’ll hear some of those insults more than once.

If you were like me, taking your time to play the game, you stayed in her domain long enough to hear those ideologies more than a few times. These ideologies coming from Lady Dimitrescu herself, and all three of her daughters.

Having one female character like that is one thing. Having four women in the same vicinity with that ideology is a bit problematic, don’t you think?

Lady Dimitrescu looks down to men like children, or the pure scum of the earth, some notable quotes are “Ugh, just another simple little manthing.” and “Stupid manthing! You won’t live long, even if you run!”oh, and let’s not forget the best one: “Oh, so gauche. What do you care for bread and circuses? The manthings suffering is assured, regardless.”

Look, here’s the sad part of all of this. She actually had the vast potential to be a far more compelling character. We see hints of it beneath it all. My absolute favorite line shows just how well educated she is, and just how cunning she can be when she says this:

“The man is of no real use to anyone else, and my daughters do love… entertaining foreigners. Furthermore, I can assure if you entrust the mortal to House Dimitrescu, my daughters and I shall deliver to you the finest cups of his slaughtered blood.”

There, see that? An insult, a threat, and a promise all encapsulated within the confines of her station and abilities. She can still see herself as a superior, but she does so in a thoughtful and meaningful way.

Now, that is a compelling villain. This is the sort of dialogue that shows just how prim and proper she can be, with that incredible ruthlessness we expect from her. It’s classy, it’s “well-to-do” as expected from an aristocrat. Above all it shows, her true grace and intellect as a ruler.

It shows how she was able to rule over the lands for so long, before becoming infected by the mold. It is characterization that is paramount for her, and we get too little of it.

We should have had more of that sort of dialogue. Grim promises, deeper threats to our livelihood, and a grace all her own. All of that from a ruler who doesn’t take idle shit from anyone.

Instead, a lot of her repetitious vocal lines fall under those before mentioned gender based insults, and that’s just sad. It diminishes her in a way that is well and truly a letdown, because she could have been so much more.

In attempting to defy stereotypes, Lady Dimitrescu become one of the worst ones a female antagonist could be. She became a mindless man-hater, with no real explicable reason for why that is, or what drives that deeper hatred of men in general.

We can’t assume she isn’t one. All we see is Dimitrescu talking down to her brother, or down to the main player character himself. There’s no other male for her to defy the precedent she sets for herself in a useful way.

It’s just so sad, because if those lines had been handled with just an ounce of care and mindful foreshadowing, she could have been one of the best villains to ever show up in a Resident Evil game.

As she is, only her looks will stand the test of time, her characterization will be too easily forgotten. That’s a real shame, isn’t it?

Well, that’s just my opinion. I know it will likely be an unpopular one, but that’s my view. In any case, this has been Kernook of “The Demented Ferrets”, where stupidity is at its finest, and level grinds are par for the course.

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Kern’s Thoughts on Resident Evil Village

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I prefer to review series critically only after I’ve had time to look back upon it retrospectively. I like to have time time to play the game more than once, and let myself really sink into the core narratives and confines of the game as a whole.

Resident Evil Village is too new, and I’ve only played and beaten it once with plenty of dying and screwing up to say that yes, it is certainly a Resident Evil title in that way at least. Actually that’s probably the only way.

Anyway, this isn’t a review. It isn’t meant to be one. These are just some initial thoughts about the game, and my overall enjoyment of it.

I don’t know if I could call this game a masterpiece, but what I will say is that Resident Evil Village pushes boundaries I never thought it would. So, let’s dive into my thoughts, because god knows I have a lot of them.

This is mostly spoiler free. Nothing big will be discussed. Although I do briefly touch on a few things, you won’t be getting any deep details, so don’t worry about massive plot being spoiled here, you won’t be.

A Thoughtful, Captivating Opening.

Most Resident Evil titles don’t captivate me right out of the release gate anymore. Mostly, that’s because the series is too old to really give me a halfway decent bone to chew on. Usually I have to wait to I sink onto the meat of the game properly before I’m surprised by an opening.

This one did surprise me, and not just because it actually had a halfway decent recap of the events in Resident Evil 7. Though, because it was decent, there’s merit in that too. It told the Resident Evil 7 plot without getting too deep. It was easy to digest and simple to consume. It does strictly as it needs to, and nothing more.

Now, you’d expect that after this you’d dive into gameplay, but that isn’t what happened. What we’re greeted with instead is the truly astonishing part. Something that made me take two steps back. It was simple, but for the narrative it was compelling.

We got to listen to rather grim a fairy tale…

Typically, you only see things like this used in puzzles in the Resident Evil series. Survival horror as a genre likes to take fantasy elements use them to craft clues for puzzles or use them as incredibly vague item or enemy metaphor. Yet, we rarely get to see elements like this used as part of character development, or as a taste for a larger metaphorical narrative.

Fantastical music boxes, nods to classic novels, and other such tropes are usually only puzzles only. So it was super nice to see them pulling that key aspect into something greater than making a character merely interact with it. Instead of just getting some sort of key or clue, we get a greater poetic narrative of the game at large.

This opening primes the player, and through my entire play-through I was searching for those metaphorical hints that the opening provided. All-in-all it was a solid opening, and a great creative addition that deserves praise.

On Horror: Lacking/Poorly Managed At Times…

There are times it certainly looks like a classic Resident Evil game. However, it’s not even close.

The game took me about eleven hours to beat since I was taking my time, and occasionally dying. One thing that became noticeable to me at about half an hour into the game was I hadn’t received any meaningful tension to make me feel scared.

Sorry, spooky sounds and jump scares just don’t cut it. Around that time I was wandering around this spooky, snow covered forest filled with dead birds (one of them acting as a cheap jump scare), and subsequently the cabin in the aftermath that creaked and groaned but provided no real payoff.

Continuing to play the game, through more snow covered woods and several more homes (with plenty more mangled and dead animals to go rounds). It was a decent bit after that when I finally picked up my first knife and things actually became interesting.

All of this is to say that the game does have some very good horror elements, but sadly it also fails to manage them correctly at times. This leads to somewhat boring gameplay during certain stretches of time. Considering that many of the areas of the game feel like something out of the original mansion, I do take issue with that.

It just reminds me of how good horror can truly inspire fear, and how this game just can’t cut it in that regard.

Also, the gore itself was just occasionally hard to believe or immerse myself into. It was nearly bombastic at times, but the gratuitousness lacked reason or subtly.

Again, this would not have been an issue, if I had not been so thoroughly reminded of what subtle build-up can provide. That is an ongoing issue of this game. It reminds you of older titles, but never in a way that satisfies.

This style is particularly true early on, when some things weren’t explained yet. There is only one very noteworthy section of the game that is absolutely horrifying, but the rest of it is truly hit and miss for me.

Enemies: What The Hell?

No, seriously, what in the actual hell were the development staff thinking on this one? This goes back into what I was saying before about poor management of horror. The dude in this image, he is a miss.

Listen, I don’t mind when enemies get smarter and faster than your typical zombies. Chainsaw dude from Resident Evil 4 is without a doubt the kind of enemy that will make you crap yourself if you don’t know what to expect. However, when enemies that are half yeti, half zombie roar at me, I feel a distinct lack of chills, and a clear amount of agitation instead.

Come on, seriously? I wasn’t exacting this to be your typical Resident Evil game, but some of these enemy types are flat out stupid. They don’t scare me, they just make me wonder one simple question: what the hell? This goes back into what I was saying before about poor management of horror.

Unintentional Humor (Hands have never been so funny).

No image here, because I don’t want to take away from that moment. I have only one word for you….

“Good.”

That moment, which I won’t go into detail about, is the one genuinely funny thing is this game, far better than the likes of “Jill Sandwich” and other such campy dialogue, simply because it was not supposed to be funny.

Even so, I legitimately laughed out loud. Considering this has become something of an in-joke among players who know what I’m talking about, I have a feeling this moment will stand the test of time.

Looks Nice, Plays Decently…

I don’t want to show you too many enemies, because again this is mostly spoiler free, but look at this hallway. This isn’t even one of the more stunning moments in gameplay, I’m just running away a villain that’s behind me. I just wanted this image to prove a point. Let’s face it the only ugly things in this game, are the ones meant to be ugly.

Unless you’re super focused on everything looking absolutely sunning no matter what, you’ll have no problems here. Everything looks good (some wonky enemy designs aside), and it feels good to play Resident Evil Village.

I will say that I believe there are too many “chase” moments. I don’t understand why people can dislike Mr. X or Nemesis, and yet they enjoy running away from these constantly circling abominations. The sisters are a particular pain in the butt as a whole in my opinion. They’re just not needed. We already had one very compelling villain willing to chase you. Did we really need three cronies too?

It’s like out of a really bad anime, and don’t even get me started on the fact the woman in question might as well be Lust from FMA. Actually, that’s an insult to Lust, because I don’t care how well loved she is, I take extreme issue with Lady Dimitrescu, the reasons why will be details in her own separate post, because she is entirely offensive.

There are times aiming can be clunky, and first person view is the absolute last camera I want to be using, but those gripes aside, it’s a solid player experience. I wouldn’t say that it’s the best experience out there. Then again, it’s by far not the worst thing I’ve played either.

First person view is a major gripe for me, though. I just don’t like that style, and it’s becoming more common in horror games. Still, if they wanted to make more first person horror, why not revive the Resident Evil: Survivor series, or something? Remake those games and then add onto them, why not do that?

Why does it need to be in a main series title twice in a row? I suppose ultimately that is what I’m asking. Then again, you could argue Resident Evil 7 set the precedent, and that’s fine I suppose. To me though, it just comes down to personal preference.

Resident Evil 2‘s remake proved that you do not need first person camera angles to make a good Resident Evil game. Anyway, this first person camera thing, it’s just not my style. At least, not for Resident Evil, or horror in general. It pulls me out of the experience more times than not.

Not My Resident Evil…

Honestly, the game is good, it is very fun to play, but it just isn’t a typical Resident Evil title. It doesn’t feel like one, it doesn’t really play like one. Although I did enjoy the game, I won’t be praising it as heavily as I would other games.

The games looses brownie points for me because if you call it “Resident Evil” I expect to feel like I’m playing a “Resident Evil game”. I don’t think that’s unfair to expect.

I feel like this the game you’d get when you let BloodRayne have a very confused orgy with Resident Evil 4 and Outlast, without anyone knowing who the father really is. Aw hell, let’s just throw in uncle Silent Hill and aunt Clock Tower for good measure. See what I’m getting at? The identity of this game is hard to pin down, and it looses a great deal of charm that I’ve come to expect from the Resident Evil series because of that. I’ll explain more about that when I do a review properly.

The enemies don’t feel like something out of a typical Resident Evil game. Rather, it felt more surrealist in scope, or particularly high fantasy horror. Think something along the lines of Alice: Madness Returns. While there isn’t anything inherently wrong with that, there is a time and place for those things. It doesn’t feel like Resident Evil when you include those fantasy elements to the degree Capcom did.

Again, that doesn’t make it a bad game. I just thought they would balance the setting and horror vibes more carefully, that’s all.

A lot of people compare this title to Resident Evil 4, but you know, I just don’t feel like that’s a fitting comparison either. Resident Evil 4 was certainly action packed, but it had a lot of truly creepy moments. This game doesn’t have that same creepy factor that I know and love.

You can’t really compare this to Resident Evil 7 either, because that game was super dark thematically. Way more than previous titles in the franchise. It was gritty, it was grotesque, and it was unapologetic. It glorified being disturbing to general sensibilities. Emotional abuse and mistreatment of the family dynamic runs rampant. Those qualities really upset some people, but at least Resident Evil 7 knew what it was. I wasn’t a huge fan of some of the lines it dared to cross, but at least I can respect it for understanding what it was trying to do.

To me, Resident Evil Village really jumped the shark. It’s not a scary game most of the time. When I play a horror game, I want to be freaked out, or at least mildly unsettled.

Resident Evil Village offered a thematically confusing, high octane experience. I really don’t care for that to such a large degree.

Now, there were moments that were actually unsettling or terrifying, but they were lightning in a bottle moments. They were not commonplace as I would have liked. I so rarely experienced the sort of tension required to be unsettled in the first place.

I wish I could say I loved this thing from start to finish, but I just don’t. It’s a good game, but for a Resident Evil title, it has earned itself a place in my mind of one of the worst in the franchise that I have ever played on the first run-through.

That being said, I felt the same about Resident Evil: Code Veronica and Resident Evil 5 at one point in my life, and they eventually grew on me.

If I pretend it isn’t a Resident Evil title, or at the very least pretend it is a spin-off, then the game is really damn good. Unfortunately, it’s hard to do that. You need a lot of the Resident Evil 7 backstory to even care about what happens to be going on. So let that ideology speak for itself.

This has been Kernook of “The Demented Ferrets”, where stupidity is at its finest, and level grinds are part for the course. I’ll see you next time. Be sure to join our other profiles for more great content.

Be sure to check out some related content, in case you missed it before…

We’re Finally Getting Male Viera. I am so excited for this.

In the Final Fantasy series, it is a common trope to had certain character races in the game to be one specified gender, or at least predominantly overflowing with that gender. For example, Final Fantasy XI (FFXI from here on out), the much older MMORPG gave us the Mithra, a primarily female race of “cat-girls” basically.

In the lore of FFXI, females were known to be more common than males by default. Among them, this was a polt line, important to their narrative backstory. While male Mithra were known to exist, you couldn’t play as them, and you rarely ever saw them as NPC’s.

Sadly, in FFXI there is only one male Mithra important enough to speak of, and merely implications of others running around out there somewhere. Due to this, it can be hard to really resonate with the Mithra depending on how you like to represent yourself in games.

This issue was corrected in Final Fantasy XIV with the new Mithra variant, known as Miqo’te. You could play as both male and female versions of this race.

Unfortunately, when the Viera were first added, they faced the similar issue as the Mithra for player representation in Final Fantasy XIV. You could play as the female form, but not the male form. During the Final Fantasy Fan Festival however, a very important announcement was made. Male Viera are being added.

This is incredible news, because gender identity is in small part a gamer’s identity. Frankly, in gaming, this really does matter in an MMORPG. For those of us in the GLBTQ or GRSM communities (depending how you identify) having meaningful representation and inclusion across all playable races allow more freedom of identifiable choice. Something we receive too little of in the “real world”.

Really, there was no reason not to have males running around before, but the distinct lack of them fed into too many negative “bunny girl” stereotypes that male Viera inclusion simply helps to mitigate. Those of us who wish to play Viera, but also play distinctly male characters can finally do it when they release, and that’s something to really look forward to.

It that can’t be understated. In an MMORPG when you can easily spend years of you life playing these characters, having one that fits how you want to be portrayed matters a lot. So, I’m excited.

One of these days, I really should dive into the confines of gender as it applies to gaming, but that’s for another post. For now, I just want to be excited for the day that we finally get to have male Viera as a playable choice.

It might not mean much for most gamers, but for one like myself, it is an inclusive step forward in a game I very much like to play. I’d never play a “bunny girl”, so I don’t identify well with female Viera, but let’s be honest, those boys don’t look half bad. I’m all for playing a male Viera, just like I thoroughly enjoy my male Miqo’te. Anyway, I am super excited for this, and wanted to share that joy with you.

This has been Kernook of The Demented Ferrets…

“Where stupidity is at its finest and level grinds are par for the course…”

The Demented Ferrets…

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Game Review: Resident Evil 3: Nemesis

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Hey everyone, it’s Kernook here. By now, it should come as no surprise to you that I’m a huge fan of the Resident Evil franchise, and Resident Evil 3: Nemesis from 1999 is by far my favorite title in the old series of games. I love this game, and I return to it often on my PlayStation that has seen far better days.

That being said, Resident Evil 3 is not a perfect game. Objectively Resident Evil 2 stands as the far better game, and the reasons why I like Resident Evil 3 are personal to me. Don’t worry, I won’t be speaking through rose tinted glasses here. Just because it is my absolute favorite, that doesn’t mean I don’t see the flaws.

The game has some very clunky elements. Questionable decisions were made that just don’t allow the game to have that same polished feel that its predecessor had. The game is certainly a step sideways rather than forwards when it comes to enhanced gameplay.

So let’s dive in and take a look at this amazing game, and why it fell a little short.

The Burdens of an Acclaimed Reputation

As I explained in my Resident Evil review, the game was a spiritual successor to Sweet Home, and the birth of survival horror as a genre. Due to the huge success, a second game came shortly after, and the fans clamored over all of the wonderful new additions Resident Evil 2 had to offer.

In the late 90’s Resident Evil had proven itself to be a series that was beloved by gamers everywhere, and this made it a hit. With two widely successful games in the series so far, and sales filling their pockets, Capcom knew they had a real gem to work with. A few spin-off games were already in production, but Capcom didn’t want the fans to wait too long. This resulted in another developmental kerfuffle.

They had faced one of these controversies in the past. I’ve highlighted that particular mess with my review of Resident Evil 1.5, which you can read here. The short version is this; Resident Evil 2 had a prototype that was scrapped due to disagreements in the development process.

Ultimately, this resulted in a lackluster game that was never finished. This prototype is loved by a select few, and is known in the fandom as Resident Evil 1.5.

Those still on the team at the time revitalized the game from the ground up. This was the right decision, making Resident Evil 2 the success it stands as today. Upon release, it quickly made incredible sales numbers. Many fans argue it’s the best game in the entire series, and really among the classic games it is very hard to dispute this fact.

Anyway, perhaps these past lessons about rushing the development process hadn’t been learned. Two spin-off titles were being produced at the time, and instead of making an entirely new title, both of these spin-off titles were in the running to take the place as the third official entry in the series.

For clarification, one game was Resident Evil: Nemesis. The other was Resident Evil: Code Veronica.

Quite frankly, I believe this is the core issue with a lot of the problems the game has. It stands to reason that taking a spin-off title and trying to contort it into a main story leaves, much to be desired.

Side Note: A Theory I Have

To be honest though, I don’t think the rush to release a new title was entirely unsound. Even though I do think the game did suffer a bit because of it. I’m sure that the precedent set by the swift release of prior games made the developers and the production staff behind the game feel a true sense of urgency.

Other horror titles were also in production by competing studios at the time, and this likely had a part to play in the decision to rush to a release. The games slipping into the market would promise some very heavy competition. What games you ask? That’s a very good question.

There are a few, but namely Silent Hill comes to mind as one such powerhouse title. It was in production at the time, and saw an earlier release in 1999 as well.

I can only imagine that the knowledge of Konami working to release Silent Hill in a timely manner, and Squaresoft releasing Parasite Eve in 1998 proved to Capcom that their hold over horror games on the PlayStation could be considered fickle at best. It is merely a theory, but I’m sure this contributed to some of the rushed decisions we ultimately see when in regards to Resident Evil 3: Nemesis.

What is important to remember is that while there were many horror titles in the original PlayStation era, few series were as popular, or as widely loved as Resident Evil or Silent Hill.

It is true that Clock Tower comes to mind as one such series that may stand up well against them, but due to gamers already knowing of that franchise as early as 1995, it’s hardly a fitting comparison. It released before the first Resident Evil had even seen the light of day, and Clock Tower already had a strong fan base crossing over from other platforms.

The Chosen Successor

From here on out, I will be calling the prototype to the game the “Nemesis prototype”. Capcom eventually chose their Nemesis prototype to become the third game in the series. It would proudly bear the number three upon it’s front casing, with the titular monster standing menacingly behind the title. When fans saw the game, we were hyped, and we just couldn’t wait to get our hands on it.

The game is known to us now as Resident Evil 3: Nemesis, released in September of 1999.

The issue is, this game was crafted to be a spin-off title first and foremost. It was never built or conceptualized to be a main series title. Originally, it had been handed to a small, and frankly very inexperienced team of people. The sort just getting their feet wet with larger and widely loved titles.

There was little knowledge among the group when it came to the vast lore of Resident Evil as a series. The game was intended to star an entirely new character, attempting to escape the horrors of the city now infested with zombies. However, this creative choice would not stand well against the already released and widely popular Resident Evil 2. The story was just too similar in thematic beats and story telling.

With two games out and set in stone, it was imperative that the next story reflected the already loved and established characters. With stories that hadn’t been entirely finished yet, the world needed building. The environment and threat from Umbrella needed to be extrapolated upon. When the “Nemesis Prototype” was chosen, and it underwent an exclusivity deal with PlayStation, cementing it firmly in place.

From there the wheels began turning into motion. Key plot lines were changed to include Jill Valentine from the first game as the main character for this new title.

She was chosen because she could still escape the city, and tying the story in closely with the events from the second game allowed many of the thematic elements to be kept from the initial prototype. They could still keep them well in-hand, without crapping all over the general premise that the “Nemesis Prototype” started with.

Shinji Mikami stepped in to help, as his previous experience gave him insight as to just how the game should be produced. Ultimately, the game is a mixed bag. Now let’s discuss why.

Story Troubles

Resident Evil 3: Nemesis makes the entire Resident Evil lore a bit messy thematically. Some parts take places before the events of Resident Evil 2. Meanwhile, others take place during the events, and some take place after the events. This makes the game stand as a strange narrative window into almost all of the early Resident Evil plot lines.

Jill is a former S.T.A.R.S. Alpha team member. She is coined by Berry, another teammate as the maser of unlocking.

In the first game, what started as a search for missing Bravo team members went south when monsters chased the group deep into the forest. Taking refuge inside the mansion, sinister truths began to unfold as zombies and other monsters run rampant.

At the start of Resident Evil 3: Nemesis Jill recounts the events. When the team returned to report what they’d seen at the mansion, the truth wasn’t received well. Due to the mishandling of information, and conspiratorial cover-ups, the dangerous T-virus has run rampant in the heart of the city. Now she must survive the hordes of zombies all over again.

Umbrella wasn’t going to go down without a fight. They had a new master plan. The pharmaceutical company gone wrong had a new bio-weapon they’ve been working on. This one is intelligent and deadly. Releasing it into the city streets, they’ve given this abomination one single mission. To eradicate remaining S.T.A.R.S. team members, and this creature will prove to be Jill’s most dangerous opponent yet.

As she calls it “My last chance, my last escape“. She attempts to flee the city, and bring light to these new horrors. During her escape, Jill teams up with a member of Umbrella’s own mercenary unit. A man by the name of Carlos Oliveira.

While it’s true that plot line itself is fairly straightforward, trying to break down exactly when certain events take place in relation to Resident Evil 2 can be a bit difficult. Thankfully though, this only really influences the most die-hard fans. An average player won’t be impacted by the questionable bits of lore buried deep.

Resident Evil has never really had the knack for complicated storytelling, particularly in it’s earliest games. What makes the plot of Resident Evil 2 so good is that it is very cleanly cut and masterfully written upon those surface level ideas. The details embedded into the core of the game need not be considered by the casual fans, and I think that has a lot going for it.

Meanwhile, Resident Evil 3 just can’t hold up as well. It can be too easily compared on a surface level, and to differentiate the game from its predecessor you need those finer details and several times playing the game due to branching paths. I’ll get to that later. For now the only point I want to make here is that most titles in the franchise linger on the surface elements.

That is where most gamers will collect the vast majority of the plot elements, and Resident Evil 3 fails to accomplish surface level storytelling. You need to be willing to dive deep to get the best out of it, and that shouldn’t happen in a zombie shooter.

This game requires that you understand the entire lore of Resident Evil up to that point. The events at the manor play a large role in the backstory. The corruption between Umbrella several key characters from the previous two games can’t be understated either. If you don’t know of these games, you likely have no idea what I’m talking about. That’s my direct point. The devil really is in the details on this one, and that makes Resident Evil 3: Nemesis much harder to simply dive into blindly.

Nemesis or Mr. X Clone?

Welcome to the devil within those details I mentioned above, the main big baddie of the game. This is another point of contention for the game. Nemesis is a clunky bugger on a good day, but we’ve already seen his mechanical style before. He chases the player in key moment of gameplay. Sound like something we’ve seen before? Well, it should because Mr. X does this during Resident Evil 2.

Many times when Nemesis crops up, the player can choose to fight or run away. Some battles are scripted boss battles that can’t be avoided, but there are plenty of times you can just run away too. This is a good time to discuss the multilayered storytelling, and the choose your own adventure style of gameplay. Occasionally, the player will encounter a moment when time slows down and the screen fades a bit to a whiteout.

Two choices will come onto the screen, and you have a few moments to choose one before the game picks for you. Doing nothing will always choose the option highlighted first. These moments don’t always include Nemesis, but it happens often enough with him that this is as good a section as any to discuss it.

I think this is why I love the game so much, and why it is my favorite. The layering of complex choices upon a first or second run of the game are staggering. For example, the first time this happens is an encounter with Nemeses. You can choose to run away, or you can choose to fight him. Here’s the funny thing though, you don’t have to fight him even if you choose the option to do so. Instead, you can run up to the dead body of one of your teammates and collect his identification card so that you don’t have to find yours later.

After grabbing it, you can run inside the police station and avoid the fight. Or if you choose to fight him accidentally, you can just run inside the police station anyway having done nothing.

This sort of complex narrative is done through player interaction, and it builds a very distinct style of gameplay that just can’t be overstated. You have options, often times way more than you think you do. Being creative and thinking about how best to tackle a situation is the core of the Resident evil formula, but here it really thrives.

How you choose to play after you’ve made a clear cut choice matters. It can and often does split the narrative path.

This matters on a personal level, and tactically it offers a far more robust gameplay experience on top of it. Without this key detail, Nemesis would certainly be a Mr. X clone many claim him to be. However, because these events are so often tied to a Nemesis encounters in some way, he’s absolutely not a clone, he stands on his own merits.

Your choices change some of your item pick-ups, bits of the narrative, and other small details. Each choice gives you a lot of tiny tactical options. Therefore, I firmly stand on the opinion that Nemesis is a much more improved villain over all. This is simply because the main story ties to him in a way that Mr. X could never hope for. Mr.X is an on rails experience, and he feels that way. Nemesis is on rails too, but at the time the game released he didn’t feel that way. That’s the difference here.

That being said, I still stand by what I mentioned before too. A casual player will miss out on the value this can offer. This concept is made for a hard core Resident Evil fan first and foremost. If you’re not going to think around the choice you pick, or you can’t think fast on your feet with all of the previous knowledge of Resident Evil games you should have by this point, most of the super small details will be lost on you.

Tank Controls and Dodge Maneuvers

Let’s talk about the new mechanics and the old. You know the game looks good for it’s time, even if it looks a bit trashy nowadays. You also know the soundtrack had to be good, and that’s a fact too. Typewriters and ink ribbons return, as well as all of the other stuff from previous games. There’s not much new here, though now there’s a gun powder system, that’s fairly standard and expected in the franchise now. Back in the day it was really cool, but why gush about something we’ve all been exposed to by this point?

So, we go to the core contentious mechanics that heavily influence the fandom. The Tank controls, and that dodge mechanic from hell. First however, let’s discuss something very few people bring up, in a segment I like to call “zombie eats bookshelf”. See for yourself…

See the zombie? See that bookshelf? He does that every single time! Without fail, I have yet to see him not have a go at the bookshelf instead of me, the fleshy person he should be after. This zombie absolutely loves that shelf. He won’t ever attack me unless I stand there long enough for him to figure out how to turn around. All of the other zombies could be dead, and he’s still playing with that shelf. Every single time, on any play through. He is not the only zombie to favor a wall or some other object either. The zombies are dumb, very, very dumb.

The enemies have never been too bright in these games, but certain ones are regularly more stupid this time around. It’s a real issue in this game because I notice it more in this one than in previous titles. This zombie tends to be the worst of them, which is why he gets the spotlight for most idiotic bullet sponge in the game in my opinion.

Okay, now then, onto take controls. I’ve said this before but tank controls deserve to be a gameplay choice, and I will 100% fight on that hill until the day I die for one simple reason. For me, it makes many games easier to play and enjoy. It doesn’t suit all gameplay styles though, and Resident Evil 3: Nemesis proves this in spades.

Now the tank controls themselves are fine. There’s nothing wrong with them even slightly, however a new gameplay mechanic was added that is without question very problematic. This little piece of unholy garbage is known as the “dodge maneuver”, and it’s just as crappy as you’d think it is by name alone.

What make tank controls fun for me is their predictability in the right sort of space. I know that when controlling my character, it will only run forward in very specific ways, and turn under very direct parameters. Tank controls aren’t a fluid control system. That’s why I like them.

However, the dodge maneuver takes everything I love about tank controls, and it ruins them. First of all, not only is the move clunky, it is very unpredictable. You might as well just send your character directly into the enemy you were trying to avoid. Trying to dodge will likely do it anyway, the thing is useless to anyone who isn’t a seasoned pro at the game.

The maneuver isn’t exactly player friendly, not to mention entirely not needed. That is the maneuver’s only saving grace. You don’t actually need to use it, and you can beat the entire game without having to use it at all.

Yep, you read that right. We don’t need this thing, the good ole fashioned Resident Evil “bait-and-run” works well enough on zombies. It’s the tried and true method. As for Dogs and other dangerous enemies, your old skills in previous games will serve you better than that maneuver.

Stop, look, and listen in every new area. All of the old hallmarks are there, including obvious warnings and attack patterns. Yes, some enemies move faster in this game sometimes, but you can and should be outsmarting or outrunning them. Classic Resident Evil has never been about blasting your way through everything, and it’s not about that here either.

If you ignore the dodging mechanic will you take a few hits? Oh yeah, sure, you will. However, you probably would have taken just as many, if not more hits just by using the damn maneuver anyway. You can still get the best rank in the game, never having used it once. Leave that thing to the top tier speed runners, the rest of us don’t ever need it.

Virtues of Easy Mode

This is the one and only game in the series that I will praise for having an easy setting. In most other Resident Evil games, having an easy mode only makes enemy placement or some puzzles easier to contend with. Enemies in these games are “bullet sponges” nine times out of ten on harder difficulties. Killing certain zombies qualifies as a strategy, and you don’t earn your Resident Evil stripes unless you know what zombies will screw you later. In Resident Evil 3: Nemesis, though having an easy mode set up the way it does actually has replay value.

On this mode, you’re geared out hard core. You have a wealth of bullets and ammunition at your disposal, and you can basically blast your way through the entire game. Unlimited ink ribbons and even coveted Magnum rounds are in the first item box you come across along with a slew of other healing items and weaponry.

You don’t have to play by the rules. You can run the early game with that high end weaponry. With unlimited saves, and more firepower than most people would ever know what to do with, this thing isn’t exactly an “Easy Mode” as much as it is a “Fun Mode”.

I’m actually kind of sad not all the games utilize this mentality, because easy mode turns Resident Evil 3: Nemesis into a glorified fun house and there’s something to be said for just toying around in the game every now and then.

In other games, this would be the worst idea possible, but Resident Evil 3: Nemesis has branching paths. Having a mode like this allows even the most casual players to see all of the options without investing too much time into the game. They can just recklessly blast their way through with no loss of difficulty later when they play for real.

This mode is far too easy to prepare you for harder difficulties, so the addition hurts nothing. Enemies basically melt, and your item boxes are bursting with all the equipment you need to thoroughly trounce Nemesis in every encounter you have with him if you’re even halfway competent. If you want the true ending, you still have the play and beat the game on the hard setting with absolutely none of the advantages easy mode gave you.

After playing easy mode, the curve in difficulty will be absolutely astronomical for the unsuspecting player.

As much as I love the typical way to play the game, I’ve got to admit, toying around in easy mode every now and then isn’t half bad either. Yeah, there’s absolutely no real difficulty at all, but it is fun. It has a real place here, and this is the only Resident Evil game where I will praise its inclusion.

Final Thoughts

This is a hard final thoughts to write. It doesn’t come easy to me, because I love this game, but at the same time it is a mess beyond words sometimes. I guess that’s the acknowledgement I need to give it. Let’s do that, then.

Let’s end right back where I started. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again. Just because Resident Evil 3: Nemesis is my absolute favorite game in the classic series, that doesn’t mean I don’t see the flaws. I do, trust me, they’re everywhere.

The game is a mixed bag. I’ve praised it, I’ve bashed it, and I still can’t help thinking that my not so favorite zombie will still toy with the bookshelf next time I play the game. I’ve got my complaints with the game mechanics, and yeah the story was a bit clunky. Nemesis isn’t perfect, and although the branching paths are my favorite part of the game personally, I can see why people wouldn’t like them.

When you boil it all down, the game can’t possibly stand on the same level of quality as Resident Evil 2. There’s no denying it, I won’t try. The game was a major letdown for a lot of people. They had high expectations, and the game couldn’t live up to them.

Still, it’s not a complete failure either. This game had a lot of things going for it, and it was nice to have Jill back for another main series title. The easy mode is pure fun to play, and the freedom of gameplay and narrative choice surpasses both of its predecessors by far.

That being said, Resident Evil 3: Nemesis is the game that I like best. At least when it comes to the classic Resident Evil titles. I can’t urge you to play it, objectively it just isn’t that earth shattering. I refuse to tell you to avoid it, because I like it too much, and maybe someone else will to.

This thing is a very old game. If you you must play every Resident Evil game out there, pick it up and enjoy. If not, that’s okay too. Don’t feel like you’ve lost your chance at a true piece of monumental survival horror history. This game isn’t like the ones that came before it. Resident Evil and Resident Evil 2 have the claim to fame, and those are the ones you should pick up if that really matters to you.

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This has been Kernook of The Demented Ferrets, where stupidity is at its finest and level grinds are par for the course. I’ll see you next time.

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