February 27, 2016

I like Atelier alchemists for the most part but…

Posted in video games tagged , , at 12:02 am by riulyn

I think it’s obvious enough for anyone who follows this blog that I really like playing as a female protagonist in Japanese RPGs. If not as the playable character, I like having female characters that are important and powerful in the plot. I would also prefer female characters in a game to not all be the same, for them to have both physical and mental prowess, and then I pretty much find myself in Suikoden or Fire Emblem land… Also Rachel in Wild ARMs 4 is the only reason to play that game.

Anyway, I’ve recently been playing a lot of Gust games. Maybe I’ve overloaded on the Atelier games. While it is totally awesome that most of the Atelier games are led by female protagonists, I’m finding more and more that I’d wish there was a bit more variation in the female protagonist’s character. I think the similarity between Rorona and Escha was too much for me. Especially considering that Escha & Logy has two alchemists who come to alchemy via two different means. Of course Logy has to be the bookish one, the one who actually went to school and can do things because he studied a lot and is book smart! Sure, it’s the male alchemist who uses weapons that aren’t staves (Logy obviously, as well as Keithgriff from the Dusk series and Felt from Iris 2)! I’m not an Atelier expert, but where’s the female alchemist with the awesome sword or gun? Maybe it’s not cute enough for Atelier?

The other trend I noticed is that almost all the Atelier games I’ve played in the series (except for the Iris games) the main alchemist starts off as new to alchemy and needs help nurturing her alchemy talent. Sure, nothing wrong with a person starting fresh and learning, like she can go to school (Eilie) or she gets a mentor/teacher… Ayesha is a bit different at least in the sense that she had a driving force and kind of just fell into becoming an alchemist, so I don’t blame her for not really gunning for alchemy or being initially competent. It’s just I’d like a bit more self-taught and able to self-improve alchemists? And maybe a bit less reliance on an outside source for all the thinking that comes with alchemy? I might have posted about this already somewhere, but despite how much I do enjoy cute girls like Rorona and Escha, I do miss having the Iris trilogy alchemists who seemed much more competent and were doings things on their own from the beginning of the game and felt like proper alchemists. Iris is still my favorite Atelier alchemist so far since she even comes up with a lot of alchemy recipes on her own!

Of course I’ve yet to play Totori, Meruru, Shallie, Sophie, and a bunch of stuck in Japan indefinitely Atelier games, so maybe an Iris-like main character has appeared again. It’s really too bad I didn’t enjoy the unnecessary padding of Iris 3, because I did like the cast of characters in that game.

(Once again I have to save my thoughts on the Ar tonelico girls for another day… One day I will rant about them, I’m sure.)

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June 21, 2015

I like cute girls but…

Posted in video games tagged , , , at 7:40 pm by riulyn

I just finished up the main story of Atelier Rorona Plus today. Since i haven’t played the other two in the trilogy, I am saving the next part for when I finish that, as the other two heroines are involved in the added part. Time to decide whether to buy Totori Plus or to play my brother’s copy of Totori for PS3.

Anyway, I loved so much of Atelier Rorona. Rorona being cute and oblivious was definitely part of it. Cute, oblivious, and somehow kicking all types of ass with her staff (for some reason her weapons were always way more kickass than the stuff I had for other characters, probably because I really didn’t give them as much love). Rorona wasn’t the only cute girl in the game, though. Cordelia and Lionela were quite precious as well. Too bad I didn’t finish either of their stories (could not find the ingredients necessary for Lionela’s in time, and didn’t go out enough with Cory). Sadly, two of the four guys were much older though I guess they could be seen as cute. But I’m talking both about cute character design as well as cute in personality, and Rorona is the queen of this in her game.

This type of cute is what I want more in games. Not a cute character that isn’t just there to be rescued or humiliated. And especially not a cute character that is just there to be sexualized. Some of the sexualization I have heard of in recent games borders on pedophilia since the girls look so young, and I’m not okay with pedophilia. My biggest problem is when sexualization of cute girls is integral to the game mechanic. Even if you can do things like turn off the stripping videos in a game like Ar tonelico Qoga, it’s still heavily integrated into the game mechanic. It’s especially disturbing to me when the stripping is not done entirely by will and the character you play encourages the girl to strip to be more effective in the game. Yes, I think I’ll never be okay with Ar tonelico Qoga because of this. But I feel like other games like Criminal Girls and Senran Kagura do stuff like this too? Maybe not quite ATQ in “exposing skin makes song magic more powerful” but as generally part of the action (reward or punishment)? I haven’t played either so don’t quote me on that.

Do Atelier games have to be my only real option for a game featuring cute girls as main characters with a deep RPG feel? Do I have to otherwise find my fix in games like Harvest Moon, Rune Factory, Pokemon? I’m all for the increase in female leads recently in games, but JRPGs are still really the only place for serious games with cute leads and the bias there is still really strong towards “cute” males… What a shame. There’s got to be other people like me out there, right? Gamers who want to play cute girl leads in serious RPGs without them being sexualized.

May 8, 2013

New and Improved: Female Protagonist in P3P

Posted in video games tagged , , at 5:29 pm by riulyn

Hello May! In the past 8 days, I’ve hit my replay of Persona 3 Portable pretty hard, already getting about 1/3 through the game already. As I’ve already beaten the game as the male protagonist, I decided this time to see what the female route had to offer. Combined with following a max social links guide, I have gotten a pretty good look at the changes so far, though I hear the best has yet to come…

So what’s new with the female protagonist? Most importantly, new and different social links! I think everyone figured that one out. Not only do I enjoy the new social links so far, I like the ones that have changed so far as well. But most importantly, I think the fact that the male protagonist doesn’t have social links with the male SEES members is kind of ridiculous. You are out there risking life and limb for each other and you don’t “support” (sorry for that FE term)? At least there should have been a Junpei social link on the male side (sorry Kenji, but your social link is crap).

I also enjoy different, mostly because I didn’t want Yukari and Fuuka to become my girlfriends, especially Yukari. Something about her personality and mine don’t mesh, I guess. I like her a lot better in this playthrough for some reason…maybe because I can join Yukari in calling Junpei a pervert? Or Junpei spends some of his time “hitting on” me as well as Yukari? Who knows?

Another added bonus in the new social links is having your friends actually care about you instead of you just solving all their issues/comforting them (Kenji caring about your clothes does not count). It also brings up an interesting but unfortunately true fact in life, at least from my observations. Take a pretty boy with all the skills who quickly gets popular: all the girls want him, all the boys want to be him, and almost everyone is amazed by him. Take a pretty girl with all the skills who quickly gets popular: people spread nasty rumors about her, somebody thinks it’s okay to take perverted pictures of her, and it’s definitely okay to threaten her. I haven’t seen anything more than verbal harassment yet, and I think the game doesn’t quite go to that level, but it could easily be imagined. Well, having Mitsuru as an ally probably prevents anyone from really doing anything…

Anyway, the biggest change is really in the social links. Most of the dialogue only changes “he” to “she” (except one part in the audio they forgot to switch “he” to “she”). In some of the story events where your gender matters, you get paired up with the appropriate other people. But the gist of the plot is the same. So if you don’t care for the plot, the female doesn’t make it good enough to replay it. But if you enjoyed it the first time, it’s definitely worth a female protagonist run. If nothing else, you get to wield a naginata. How cool is that!

October 11, 2012

5 of my favorite JRPG Females

Posted in video games tagged , at 2:19 pm by riulyn

I have to say 5 of them because if I really did my top 5, I think they may all come from the Suikoden series 🙂 Just kidding. In no particular order I present 5 of my favorite females, with the limit of one female character from each series.

Kainé (NieR). Have I not gone long enough about how much I love this game right now? And how she was one of the best aspects of it? She has such a presence that I even thought about cosplaying her for my first cosplay ever…until I realized that she doesn’t wear pants. Crap. But anyway she has some wicked blades and great magic, making her useful during the game, and her story which gets highlighted on the way towards Ending B, is very interesting. Also the way you first meet her; she’s no pushover. She’s hard and foul-mouthed because of her past, but it’s not all for the wrong reasons. A lot of depth and personality, she can be rough with you but if you become her friend, she’s a friend for life.

KOS-MOS (Xenosaga). It’s pretty much a spoiler to tell you why I consider KOS-MOS a female character, but anyway she is just so kickass. One of the reason I love the Xenosaga series to be honest. All the reasons why I love her are big spoilers, argh!

Lucia (Suikoden 2 & 3). It’s almost impossible to limit myself to one Suikoden character from a series with plentiful amazing females, but Lucia is everything I’d want to be if I ever grow up 🙂 Strong but kind, biting with the tongue and the whip, and confident. There’s not much else to say. She’s just that awesome.

Seth (Lost Odyssey). The limiting of characters per series allows me to squeeze her onto this list. Another badass mother, she is an action girl but not with the annoying “tsundere” factor of many younger action girls. She’ll give Jansen a good kick, but in a friendly manner, she’ll take charge if need be (though Kaim is a pretty capable man), she’s a freakin’ pirate in all ways.

Terra (FFVI). If you read my earlier post on my 5 favorite protagonists, you knew she would show up here. She was the first JRPG character I played as and my favorite in that game from first sight. I really enjoyed her self-discovery journey and her ability to kick ass was also very, very awesome. She is my favorite FF character overall.

So hard to write these types of posts without spoilers! Anyway let me know if there are some JRPGs with awesome females that I need to play (without spoiling me). I’m all for ass-kicking to come from people of all types.

September 7, 2012

Being a female in a JRPG isn’t so bad?

Posted in video games tagged , at 2:19 pm by riulyn

I just read an article about everyday sexual harassment so this came to mind. As much flack as JRPGs get for making creating a lot of female characters with little/no personality and ridiculous proportions to make them look sexually appealing to heterosexual males, the treatment that these characters get isn’t actually too bad most of the time compared to girls in real life. Of course, when I’m talking about JRPGs I’m talking about the standard types where the adventure ends up saving the world. Not those visual novels like School Days…

Anyway typical JRPG girls are:

1. Sheltered princess, usually lacking in real-world experiences. May be used in hostage situations, in which she may be shackled but otherwise kept rather comfortably. People are almost always on her side.

2. Priestess or healing maiden. Usually not a great physical attacker, but respected/necessary for healing abilities and knowledge. Sometimes a target for kidnapping but usually also not treated harshly.

3. Tomboy who tends to have a fiery temper, will also tend to be he person to cheer the party up when things get tough. May get some verbal criticism that may border on harassment, but usually not.

4. Mysterious girl. Many times she wears ridiculous clothes, which may be noted [and emphasized by camera angles] but otherwise not used as a means to actually harass someone.

5. Others I’m too lazy to type up.

See a theme here? Unlike real life, girls in JRPGs really only have to fear great danger from monsters, diseases, war, and kidnapping by people who need money/power. In comparison to real life, there is a much lower rate of sexual harassment, abuse, and rape. Girls don’t have to fear walking down the street alone. The appropriate person (usually a male) who does more than just say “that girl is smoking hot” is usually branded as an awful person, not the girl.

In addition, look at all these girls who have opinions that are respected! You happen to be the best sword-wielder in the game? Men are like “I want to be as awesome as she is!” and not like “she must be secretly a man because only men can be strong”. You happen to be the smartest person in the area? You happen to be good enough to save the world? Let’s all help you, not try to say you can’t do this and that because you are a girl. Yes, there is still the whole “guys tend to be seen as protectors” mentality but if a girl can kick ass, no one sees that as a bad thing.

As much as JRPG creators may be misogynists, they sure treat the ladies in game a lot nicer than in real life.