torsdag 24 januari 2013

The Void

Do you like immensive violence that cover more than the world genocide? Do you like being an invincible superman that can walk through enemy fire with unhealthy healing abilities? Do you like killing husbands and sons whose several families and wives now lost because you kill them for your own selfish country? Do you like using electronic killing-droids against civilians that has to use sticks and stones only to stop you from killing more civilians? Do you like having an incredible amount of weapon arsenal against dusty Kalash rifles that have enough dust to form it's own bullets. Do you like a game that keeps holding your hand on everything you do? Do you like being nothing but an unemotional droid with no response than to follow arrows to your destination, being ordered in a linear path but doesn't mind because they just have a realistic wood texture? Do you like repetive gameplay with the only new thing every sodding game being a new gun? Do you like having a plot about rich and wealthy people moving down other nations because they use the toothpaste on the middle? Do you like being imperialists massacring the ewoks? Do you like that I pretty much summarized almost every modern war game?Yes?

"The Void" aka "Tension" aka "Turgor" aka "Captain Scarlet and the Quest for Booty" is a very... well intresting game made by "Ice-Pick Lodge". But how to really talk about it without exaggerating is a very hard thing to do.
Ok, ok, ok. It's too early to bash on an "interesting"  game, but if "I" am going to explain The Void, people will die of old age if I'm going through it. So I will give you fractions, but if you want the whole picture with your own intepretation, then I suggest you get the game.

Ok, so you are a soul that accidently lingered into something called "The Void". The Void is a purgatory-like place before absolute death. How you got there is for you to find out yourself, though there may be hints that your death was caused by suicide. My own reason why I died was that I got executed for fucking a hot mother and her hot daughter while doing an 'effing piano solo on the desecrated corpse of Godzilla.
But anyway, in The Void, colour is the life force for The Void. But a mystical famine occured and almost compeletly drained the whole Void of it's colour.
Anyway, you are awaken by a nameless "Sister" who gives you a "Heart" and colour on her realm so you can survive. She tells you that there is a way to escape The Void, but to do that, you need to find all the hearts around The Void and "Your real heart" and reach "Turgor".

Ok, that's pretty much what I could get from The Void, so your game starts with scavenger hunt for colour. That is pretty much your food, ammo, armor, communication, donation and movement. And you will constantly use colour. So this is a game where you need to fucking roleplay "Scrooge McDuck" to survive the game. Several times I died was that my colour got depleted. Anyway, so as I said, you start with looking around for roots of colour into something called "Lympha", a palette  that holds your colour that you've collected. That you can put on your "hearts" to be able to survive and move around The Void. And as time goes, colour that is in your hearts will convert into colour for your "Nerva", which is a palette that holds colour that you can paint with, for attack, movement, donation and so forth.
So yea, using colour to draw "Glyphs" makes it a dark version of "Okami".

Eventually you stumble to a "Garden". There, you can donate colour to trees that in due time will bloom colour for you to harvest.

PRO TIP: Make sure you only plant 2-3 trees in the beginning. Because to fill the trees to full potential takes a large amount of colour and every time they bloom, the trees starts to die and give you less and less colour. They do reset, but that will take time. And make sure to focus on a couple of colours.
And by the time the game goes, I realised that I was also playing an abstract version of "Farm Simulation", with the maintaining of the gardens and stuff.
And to get through the early stages, you have to focus on an certain colour.

So to open up the game, you need to donate colour to "Sisters". (And my dirty mind have done something I don't want to share.) And that will take a HUGE amount of colour, so make sure to use excess colour of the colour they like and use a certain colour bonus when donating. The reason why you donate is to open their hearts (More about it comes later) and be given access to their specific realm and if you give them enough colour for a second heart, then you are given access to even more sisters, and their realm.

The Sisters are some kind of priestess or something  to keep realms around the alive. Actually, I kinda have a hard time to explain the Sisters right now. May I save it for more explaining later? If not, fuck you this is my writing.

Also we meet the "Brothers" who looks like entries to a Silent Hill Fanart Contest. Anyway, you end up pretending to be a "Brother" so you can walk around The Void. The Brothers seems to be security around The Void as they walk around destroying excess colour that lies around the realms. The reason why, is that since the mystical famine, colour is extremly precious and can't be used wastefully. It is also food for everything around The Void, even to predators that will feed on colour drops lying around. So that means, everytime you use colour in a realm, more and stronger predators will appear as they devour any remains from used colour.                          

I kinda like how they made the conflict between the Sister and the Brother believable. They don't make the Brothers "evil because they are" like most of the games around here. Because using colour drains whatever life The Void have left and The Brothers want to save colour to keep The Void alive
But the Nameless Sister, (Who I for now will call "Death" because that's what the other sisters call her) believe that The Void will be completly drained with no colour left no matter how much you try to grow it.
And when you reach Turgor, you will use a breakthrough, taking every colour around The Void pretty much killing everything.
So yes, it's a dilemma on both sides. I FUCKING LOVE IT!!!! (Though don't take my story version too much, I'm not happy with that.)

Wow, I've gone this far talking about the story and barely on the gameplay. Well, that's because the gameplay is awkward and incredibly boring and repetive.
The majority of the game is about collecting colours, collecting colours from roots, collecting colours from trees, collecting colours from trees you've grown, collecting colours from mountain walls that you mine, collecting colours from parasites and occasionaly, paint on enemies 'till they die. 45% is wasting your fucking time walking around The Void maintaining your gardens and mines, collecting colour. 45% is donating colour on trees and sisters to get around and collecting hearts, unlocking more mines to mine and more gardens to donate colour to trees. And the rest 10% is combat. And the point of this game is to avoid combat as much as possible.
So the game focuses on "Give & Take" colour management... and that's a fucking stupid thing for a game called "The Void"

Also The Void have a bit of Dead Rising when the whole game is time-based. Everytime your have an overview of The Void, the cycle goes and every cycle have 99 seconds  before moving on and for every second, your hearts drains colour too and you can speed it up if you need to. There will be events that takes place during some cycles and you have about 37 cycles before game over. Though there is no hurry if you are in a realm because the cycle stops. And for every new cycle, colour refills randomly around The Void, so make sure you save many times.
And that's the key to winning The Void, you sometimes have to save scum the shit of the game to recieve a good amount of colour to survive, harvest, donate and occasional combat. Because the game IS incredibly hard. One mistake and you will be begging for the right colour to proceed so you don't waste any colour. There is an "easy" patch released that will help you give more colour and stuff but it is optonal to download it. For me, well... I never actually downloaded that. I already were halfway in the game so I never really bothered it. Either it's me being an idiot for taking the stairs high up when there's an escalator OR me being incredibly smart for completing the hardest ending without any help (from the patch I mean).

PRO TIP: Never engage in combat unless it's fatal or a boss. You use colour to attack enemies, but will leave drops for more enemies to come the next cycle. And you want to save as much colour as possible. Try to avoid enemies a much as possible, many of them are just a waste of colour and isn't work killing to harvest colour unless it's the non-hostile predators. Because you gain more colour than you sacrifice from those little buggers. But go into a realm, do whatever colour collecting there and bugger off before predators glimpse at you colour-filled ass.
It may weaken the Brothers but it will also make it harder for you to harvest colour as the predators become more and stronger.

So at first the only attack is to draw paint on the enemy, which at the beginning sounded quite fun when enemies can die by drawing a massive dick over them. But it extremly died down when you avoid combat as much as possible and using "painting over the body" tactics takes a quite amount of colour. As you earn hearts, you learn "Glyphs" that gives you drawings for movement, defense, mining and masturbation. Oh, and you also gets some attack glyphs, but those may need tactical maneuvers on using so you don't miss and waste colour, and since you need to save colour, it's not even used that much except in the bossfights against the Brothers. So most of them is pretty useless, even the three first bosses are pretty pathetic. In due time, you learn a glyph called "Web" that sends a poisonous web to an enemy that slowly drains it's health and when it dies, it explodes. You need to put Web on the smaller parasites so when the bigger target eats them. It gets attacked from the inside, and that's pretty much the only thing you need to do during the parasites bosses.
Even the bossfights against the brothers are pretty weak, just run around avoiding attacks and use corresponding colour against the brothers and win, then lemonade.

So combat is out of the way and most of the gameplay stand with running around into realms so you can harvest colour, so you can donate colour to trees, so you can harvest even more colour, so you can donate colour to Sisters, so you can open up their realms, so you can find hearts, so you can contain even more colour, so you can harvest even more colour, so you can donate colour to trees, so you can harvest even more colour, so you can unlock more Sisters,  so you can donate more colour to other Sisters, so you can open up more realms, so you can find more hearts, so you can contain even more colour, so you can mine colour, so you can harvest even more colour, so you can plant even more colour on trees, so you can harvest even more colour, so you can even more donate colour to even more Sisters, so you can- UUUUAAAAAHHHHHH!!!!!!!!

If I made a video review instead, I would be on fucking fire. Unfortunatly for me I don't have recording equipment so... suicide by fire do I have to put on my bucket list.
I mean think of giving that to an average modern warfare gamer, I bet they wouldn't even get past the first fucking realm. I even heard some people barely got past the menu screen.

But couldn't gameplay be simple yet NOT feeling so bloody repetive. Like Pacman, easy control, you pretty much do the same thing, but with immensive action, you don't forget, and it's simple. Eat cheese, avoid ghost. That's everything you need. Also you can eat the bigger cheese if you wanna- UUUUAAHHH!!!!!!

The control? Yeah, it's ok. It's small but it's simple and easy to control. Except movement is total crap. At least realm movement sucks. It is completly slow, like the walking in "Ju-On: The Grudge The Game", and you pretty much have to bunny jump to get around fast. There is a glyph that will boost your speed, but then again, you waste colour so don't bother using it. There is also a colour bonus that will speed you up, but it gives you the same movement speed as the default walking in many FPS games. So yes, bunny jumping is the way of movement is this game.

So yes, the gameplay is malarkey, but it's the story while scattered puzzle pieces,  the picture you build up to that really gets you. It's really something you need to listen and read carefully to get the picture right.

Anyway, the whole Void looks pretty stale. Most of the game is really boring and grey, it feels like I'm playing "Ultima: Pagan" again. Although it kinda works. With colour growing around, they do actually stand out. Making colour pretty easy to find. And if you visit a colour filled garden, it's really nice to visit it.

Okay, I kinda heard about a couple of negative "opinions" about The Void. Well, I shouldn't really give anything much by that except that someone accused the game of being sexist...WHAT!!!!

Apparently, some reviewer had a quite negative experience with the game. I wouldn't really go against personal taste, I mean this game can't appeal to everyone and that is one of the problems on the game. But for fuck sake! Just... stop. Stop it. I kinda worry myself for humanity with articles like:

Accusing the game for being sexist and using the Sister to see a short strip-tease and being surised when you talk to them they undress and giving them colour gives you a short sexy dance and...

STOP!!! Stop! stop! stop...  Look, I understand not having the same style of likings, I understand negative views if they have a good explanation why.  I understand sometimes not getting it. There is a line between accidental misunderstandings and mis representation. And I fucking hope it stands on the former.
But to make shit clear: Yes, there is nudity, there is tits and twats (Ok, not really full twats but still). And you can see the whole different attitude for nudity between Europe and America.
But to make even more shit clear: No, donating colour does not reward you with a peep show unless you are incredible desperate for something to masturbate on. Believe me, there are easier way to get games with better fap materials for free.
I will also mention another one that accuses the nudity of the game of "Selling-Out".

For the first thing, you can't communicate verbally to the Sisters so you have to shove colour into their gobs. But the thing is that you communicate to their "Soul Obscura". Now a Soul Obscura to the player is an overview of their body to put colour in your hearts.
A Soul Obscura to a Sister is viewing their soul, their pure form, SO OF COURSE THEY DON'T HAVE ANY FUCKING CLOTHES!!!!! So I have no fucking idea where the "undressing" thing came from, because they never actually undress.
And the accusation went to on of the early Sisters you meet who goes by the name of "Uta". And I never saw Uta's movement and caressing as sexual. I always saw them as this "High rich stuck-up, I'm the elder one here so I am smarter" kind of personality. Shrugging, and just doesn't care about anything that happens, looking down on everything, accepting whatever just have happened.
I watched pretty much every colour giving scene to Uta, and that I have to admit, some were a bit close, but it was more from "Accepting fate and silently asking you to stop before you kill yourself in vain" to "Realising everything and given power back."

I have donated colour to every sister and what, caressing thighs? wiggling hips? stroking breasts? Where? Do you really that doped to call that sexist? Do you call a woman walking in the street a whore just because she scrathes her thigh?
The Sister that matches the description the closest is "Ire" and maybe "Ava" for being the closest contestant. But for what I have, Ire is the most sexualized Sister in the game. I mean she's even naked in her physical form or atleast have some sheet barely covering her body like a concubine or a geisha. So Ire may the the most sexualized of all the Sisters but her animation, while being a bit strip-club-ish theme when given colour, she tends to breathe a sigh of relief, running her hands over her body in a pleasurable capacity for a moment before returning to her perch against a tree-stump. But then again, that's her soul.

But that's what? 2-3 sisters there and the article is about Uta. So what about Ole then? She's only riding a goddamn swing. You call that a strip tease? What about Yani? She balances on a ball and does a short ballet dance on it when given colour. And what about Una? She's probably the furthest away from anything sexualized, as she shudders in some violent religion-esque way it's almost scary when giving her colour.
The the perfect example about the donating colour thing is Sister "Ima". As you meet her, you see her being "chained". Both in the physical and in her obscura with a pendulum slowly going down on her. As you donate her colour she starts to break free and eventually dodges the pendulum.

And this is what donating colour is about. It is NOT used for the Sisters to dance around while glow flies away like an adultshow with a naked woman surrounded by ballons and slowly popping them of one by one.
The colour is the life force for everything around The Void and the Sister are chained by the Brothers by the lack of colour, their food, their strength.
Because giving colour has the same impact as giving a man lost in the desert for two days, water.
The Sisters movements does not represent a striptease, that's for the people who only judges a book by it's cover. Their movements represents the strength that has been returned after an incredible long time of vulnerability and weakness as they first start slow. And when more hearts unlock, their movements becomes more energetic.
I mean look at the fucking Brothers. They barely even have physical clothes but are seen as asexual because you don't see any penis. And thank fuck for that! I can live my life without thinking what "Patriarchs" chicken dick may look like.
But I can understand where the accusations grew from. Many people use the nudity as something to catch attention to their product and you can kinda see it on the game. So I could have expected that in games like "Dead or Alive" or "Soul Calibour", even "Two Worlds 2" can I expect these accusation from it's pointless boobshot from a pointless sex scene to a pointless character that we'll never see again from the whole game... or something like that. Maybe even in "The Witcher" series because... have you even seen The Witcher? Bloody 'ell! But then again it is part of their persona.
But to see these kinds of accusations to games like Mass Effect and The Void is a bit wierd, they never really exploit sex to the fullest and doesn't make the sex completly pointless. Mass Effect had the "Calm before the Storm" romance thing going on.
So I never saw the nudity as something insulting. Because in a game like The Void, we have to know what it means. It actually have nudity as a part of the game rather some eye-piece.  So judging the game like that is like judging a fucking nutshell.
And if you really are desperate on getting the Sisters naked then you are just going to die.

Also there is the accusation with Sisters being the beautiful innocent and weak woman and the Brothers are the strong ugly monstrosity controlling the Sister and are basicly evil.
Well, that if you are thick.

The game told that there was happy times when colour was full and companionship was between the Brothers and Sisters. And when shit happened, stuff became desperate on both sides.

Another one is about you being a pimp to the Sisters when giving colour to the Sisters is like giving money to a whore.
Maybe that's the case? Maybe YOU are the whore collecting colour to the sisters while they sit on their asses. Maybe the Sister are supposed to be the evil ones and were taken away their power to stop doing evil. Maybe the Brothers are the results of the Sisters evil. So you can either take the obvious or look deeper into it to see what more exists.
This one above is argueable and can lead to very intresting discussion and interpretations.
And with that, there are several ways to view their roles in the game. And it kinda works? I think? If you want the several interpretations on gender roles in the game, I suggest for you to look up the "Ice-Pick Lodge" forum for it, but be careful, it's a bit fiesty.

But the biggest thing that I have with the game is that can both give too much and too little information at the same time. By giving too little to build a full picture yet too much that you have to cut away a theory for another theory to create something. Switching from "Show, don't tell" to "Tell, don't show". And I have no bloody idea if that's a good or a bad thing.
I mean, that the whole story can be viewed in many, many, MANY different ways whether it's good for the game or not, that's for the player themselves to get.
This is a game where it relies on the players interpretation. They tell you things and it's up to you to understand which story told by the game for you to believe in. My story above is based of my interpretation and I can assure you that if you play it yourself, you would believe in another explanation and theories.

And the ending, well... It is very deep and toughtfull but with the execution? Let's just say that Deus Ex, Deus Ex: Human Revolution and The Void were the inspiration for the godawful Mass Effect 3 endings.

But do I recommend this game? I have no fucking idea! While the story is beautiful and interesting, the gameplay which is supposed to be intresting to keep playing the story is quite rubbish. And it's a kind of game that can only appeal to a certain kind of people. But if you are intrested enough for the game, then I hope you are ready for an incredible slow but very interesting game.