Monday, April 13, 2015

Figure and Bloodborne and music and oh my God have you seen this movie.

I got home today to discover Imca had arrived!  The badass supergun-wielding Ace of Valkyria Chronicles 3 (may it one day be localized).  I bought her on the cheap off Amazon - one of my most-desired Nendos - so she had no tracking and super-slow shipping, and was due to arrive anywhere between next week and mid-May.  So today felt very Christmassy.

While things are getting a bit cramped in there, and I do feel a need to move some stuff around, I obviously had to put her on the same shelf as the Grand Dame of Valkyrian Badasses, Selvaria.

...the base that the support for Selvaria's lance sticks in to takes up a lot of room...

Anyway, Bloodborne.  I tuned in to the latest Bonus Round today and they were talking about - surprise! - Bloodborne, and whether or not it's shit because it's hard.  Two of the four panelists were deeply entrenched in Chamberlain's camp - that Bloodborn is just a shitty game, and not fun.  One of them went so far as to say the controls weren't good enough for what the game requires, which is just bullshit.

Alex hit it on the head when he said the game's combat is "like mastering an instrument."  I refer to it as "gameplay language" or "expressiveness," but when a game has it, it makes all the difference in the world.

I've done incredible things in Bloodborne.  Mad, ballsy, stylish-as-fuck things.  I've had duels that existed as a series of strobe-light blinks as a bosses's scythe zips this way and that and he just... can't... hit me because every time he lashes out, I'm suddenly gone, suddenly behind him, suddenly crouching with a charging attack to be launched into his sternum as he catches his breath.

Cruising through the Chalice dungeons is a clear reminder that Bloodborne's combat - its play, its design, its feel in the hands - is not merely the cruel, unyielding challenge of say, Mega Man.  It's not rote memorization.  It's understanding.  It's reading a moment and knowing precisely which cut - which angle, which direction, which arc, which reach - you need to unleash to kill that thing before it kills you.

When you come up against a boss you've never seen, when you see just the barest glimpse of an enemy who's snuck up behind you and you don't shrink down - you don't run away - you rely on your ability to play the instrument of Bloodborne's combat.  You lay down some wicked licks, and rock the house.  And you beat that boss you've never seen, first try.  You zip out of the way of that ambush strike and crash back into your enemies like a truck.

It's so fast.  It will kill you if you screw it up, and the first time you pick up that guitar, you won't know how to play it.  Once you know how, you will get all the ladies.

Lock on.  Analog stick right, circle to evade.  R1 for a light strike which homes on the target after an evade, closing the distance.  Circle without an input on the analog stick for a backwards hop to evade a counter and gain space.  L1 for the transformation strike, ending in the longsword form of Ludwig's Holy Blade.
Fuck that spider.
Fuck all spiders.

Whenever this song comes on my iPod, I think of Bloodborne.  I don't think Howl and Moan's done anything since this album, but man... they should have.

Here came a man
On a ragged horse
People all say it's my time of course
It's the Devil, you see
And he's come to claim me

No, I won't die,
 no not today

That's Bloodborne, baby.  Every enemy may kill you.  Every enemy can kill you.  Give them that respect.  Feel the fear.  And kill them first.

Feel the rhythm - cause if you dance out of step, it's your ass.  Feel the beat, and lay the beat down.


Also, finally, months ago I bought The Tale of Princess Kaguya because once I saw some stills from it on a Gawker site, and it was from Ghibli.

This weekend, I watched it.

Oh.  My.  God. 

I came to it knowing only what I learned of the story of the Bamboo Cutter's daughter in Okami, but this... this is a story I would want to show my kids, if I had any.  It's a half-dozen little parables told over the course of a single story - a parable of parenthood, of youth, of love, of self-betrayal, of being true to yourself, of...

I didn't grow up in a religious household.  When I was a kid, my mother told me that we decide to live in their mortal shells, on Earth.  That we come here, because there are things we can experience and feel in these shells that we can't experience, and can't learn, on any other plane of existence.

Princess Kaguya is a story of that.  I haven't loved a Ghibli movie like this... in a long, long time.  It's the most excited I've been about a film since The Raid or Let the Right One In.

Watch it.


  1. Wha- I had no idea The Tale of the Princess Kaguya was out already! I had been anticipating this movie since I heard about its production years ago.

    1. Watch the crap out of it (warning: partial nudity).

  2. The nudity isn't really a big deal. Our whole family watched it together and apart from some giggling from my kid brother it was fine. (It's just like in the no nappy as a baby context)

    Also, hi! I love your blog since I play a lot of vita games and I've been reading for a long time! :)

    1. Welcome! And yeah I didn't think it was problematic, but you know someone out there is going to say "this movie was rated PG, so I expected it to by suitable for my children - but then my precious baby saw a mother's nipple in it! A mother's nipple!" (Faints straight away.)