Tales of Vesperia: Definitive Edition Review (PC)

This game has to be one of the worst disappointments I’ve ever had the displeasure of playing. I suppose I fell for the hype train for this game’s release, but only found an unmemorable and awful failure of a story and convoluted gameplay. Tales of Vesperia’s cast is among the most forgettable of them all. Nobody but Karol has any real character development and there’s only one really good twist in the entire story and it’s wasted with no impact. I tried forcing myself to complete this game, but I just can’t stand it anymore. This game is absolutely horrible and it’s positive qualities don’t make-up for its colossal failure in one very important aspect.

Music: The music is great and a pleasure to listen to. It fits the mood and setting spectacularly for the most part.

Gameplay: The gameplay feels like a more convoluted version of Tales of the Abyss’s gameplay, but I think that’s simply my own personal preference. The gameplay is fun, fast, and exciting. There are no drops in quality or any technical issues from my experience, and you do have to think over how to beat challenging enemies like optional bosses on the field or the secret mission system that offers bonuses for preventing bosses from regaining a particular advantage against you throughout boss battles. Overall, the gameplay is a very enjoyable experience and I personally really liked using Yuri Lowell’s gameplay style.

Characters: The characters are all realistic, believable, and really fun to listen to for the most part. Seeing them engage with each other is fun, but as the story slowly falls apart, it’s clear that these otherwise great cast of characters is absolutely wasted on this terrible story. I liked everyone but Rita, who felt more like a one-dimensional character compared to the more complex, upbeat, and compelling characters who have more interesting reasons for what they’re doing. However, apart from Karol, none of them are really developed and the game itself even points out the main character, Yuri Lowell, hasn’t changed at all throughout the journey. Yuri does come close to being a gary stu, but only because of how the entire plot falls in the party’s lap out of an ongoing convenience of there always being danger that needs Yuri’s assistance to beat. The characters motivations and decisions aren’t adequately developed or challenged apart from Karol. It’s a really interesting and likable cast that’s essentially wasted on a terrible plot.

One annoyance though, the new voice actor for Yuri Lowell is totally noticeable and sounds like some idiotic stereotype of a surfer throughout the game, which ruins the enjoyment of listening to him in the English version. People complaining about the voice actor sadly weren’t exaggerating as I had initially believed. It’s awful, but you do get the Japanese audio option. It’s still disappointing though and does detract from the overall game.

Plot: Fans of Vesperia admit the plot is “generic” — but that’s only putting it in the nicest of terms. The fact is this game’s plot doesn’t really exist. It’s a set of events that have no coherence when you try to fit all the pieces together. Around 20 hours of this 50 hour plot is honestly just searching for an answer to Estelle’s question, having the party separate in a town, talking to the party members, Yuri asks Estelle what she wants to do, and then the party setting off for the next dungeon with something totally fucking stupid preventing some character from answering Estelle’s question. That’s 20 hours of the game as the only motivation and it’s a completely stupid one. Ostensibly, Yuri and Karol are forming a guild and doing a job for Estelle, and despite Judith’s suggestion its really following Estelle’s whims…. that’s what the entire game essentially becomes anyway. The plot is non-existent trash. Estelle’s questions could have been answered in one sentence. 20 hours for a one sentence explanation that you can figure out through basic critical thinking skills.

After this godawful clusterfuck of an adventure, some random NPC becomes the villain and Yuri randomly concludes that he’s “behind everything!” — whatever that means. The main villain doesn’t even state his goal, Yuri randomly comes up with an epiphany about what it is. This is honestly the dumbest and most poorly written storytelling I’ve seen since Chrono Cross.

This game’s plot is among the worst writing I’ve ever seen in a Tales game and that is saying something as  I thought Tales of Graces F was the worst. Vesperia is only a better by a miniscule amount. If anyone would like to argue it is a ten-year old game as a flippant excuse, that just makes it worse. Its predecessors Tales of the Abyss and Tales of Symphonia were phenomenally written stories with some of the best plots ever written in all of video gaming. But of course, the writer of those stories wasn’t doing Vesperia’s plot and instead Vesperia seems to have four writers who clearly wanted different things, so this plot is a muddled fuck-up of an excuse compared to those stories.

Apologies in advance, but the flaws outstrip the positives:

Overall Rating: 4/10.

Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse Review

I’m not sure what I can add to what has already been said about this film. I had watched an Angry Joe review before I was even aware of this film and I have to admit that it is everything I had wanted the Toby McGuire Spider-man to be, I had never bothered with the second Andrew Garfield film after seeing the first film’s painful amount of plot holes, idiot balls, and the terrible extent they made Garfield’s version of Peter Parker into a Gary-Stu character. I hadn’t been a fan of Garfield’s acting, but the script and character they gave him was awful and I don’t blame him for the failures of those films. I didn’t bother to watch Homecoming, partly because of the sheer saturation of Marvel films, and partly because I just couldn’t find it in me to view the character of Peter Parker as interesting anymore.

I loved the 90s Spider-man cartoons. Among US cartoons, it and Batman had been my two favorites, but the McGuire films were chalk full of stupid writing compared to the brilliant, analytical, and empathetic cartoon version of Spider-Man. It wasn’t always perfect, of course. However, the writing, plots, scenarios, and characterizations were so far above everything that either the Toby McGuire films and Garfield films always failed to capture. Peter Parker wasn’t just some stupid kid going through puberty; he was a brilliant, analytical, and compassionate individual who thought through serious issues, grappled with life-death circumstances on a weekly basis, and showed compassion throughout. Perhaps my love for the 90s cartoons skewed my views, because evidently that wasn’t Comic-book Spider-Man. I knew I would never see that brilliant version of Peter Parker again, but to repeatedly see from new cartoon series to films . . . this stale, average, and frankly stupid Spider-Man really killed any love I had for the character and series. Over time, I grew to detest the character of Peter Parker too and got sick of the franchise as a whole. I suppose I became a jaded Spider-Man hater, because the writing of all these stories had been so damn terrible compared to the 90s cartoon.

This film has absolutely changed that for me. Miles Morales feels like a fresh start to a new Spider-Man. The comedy is top-notch, the characters have real depth that is shockingly on par with the 90s cartoons, and everything I missed about Spider-Man has been reshaped and re-imagined with this new Spider-Man and the phenomenal writing of this film. I highly recommend Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. It captures everything I missed about the 90s Spider-Man, adds genuinely hilarious humor unlike most Hollywood films, it has great music that is executed with wonderfully, it does absolutely stunning work with visuals far above and beyond anything previously done with the Spider-Man franchise and that isn’t a hyperbole, and I loved all the characters and their individual stories.

If you’re even slightly considering watching Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse, I highly recommend it. I really feel this film outshines everything before it. Gwen Stacy and Mary Jane are both actually interesting for once, the characters are all exceptionally developed, the origin feels far more fresh than the overused Peter Parker storyline, and Miles is more interesting and brilliant as a lead character than any of the previous Peter Parkers since the 90s Spider-Man cartoon.

Score: 10/10

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List the Plot Holes: The Narrative Failures of The Worst Game Ever, Chrono Cross

Note: This entire post will contain spoilers for the Worst Game Ever, Chrono Cross and it’s prequel game, Chrono Trigger.

The plot contradicts both itself and Chrono Trigger because:

– The red stone materials were never part of Lavos. This is explicitly shown in Chrono Trigger.

– Serge shouldn’t have been able to cross worlds in Lynx’s body.

– You never meet the Lynx of your world. It’s assumed that he was frozen in the Dead Sea…. too bad that he’s not there with the rest of them. I know, I checked.

– The necklace that Kid uses is the same as Marle’s. If Schala gave it to Kid and Kid was zapped into the future then how could Marle have ever gotten it? Furthermore, how could the events of Chrono Trigger have ever happened in Chrono Cross if Kid has that necklace?

– Schala has blond hair and wears a white dress. This is an absolutely stupid contradiction that just shows ignorance and laziness.

The suspension of disbelief required is absolutely ridiculous in this game:

– Serge never reacts to any given scenario even when characters ask him too. It’s hard to believe that he always reacts in the same shocked way over and over. The Silent Protagonist is a failure in this game because Serge is asked to give his feelings and can only ever reply with “…” as if that’s a satisfactory response.

– Kid pulls a knife on the Dragoons who come to take Serge into custody since he’s a mysterious intruder. They act as if Kid is in the right when she literally pulls a weapon on the equivalent of police officers.

– Kid uses Viper’s daughter as a hostage and yet is somehow said to have ‘saved’ her. Viper’s daughter wouldn’t even be in danger if not for Kid literally placing a knife to her throat and using her as a hostage.

– Kid magically forgets the switching of bodies. When next you see her, she’s helping Lynx (in Serge’s body) to cause a war that’s killing innocents by the thousands and comes to literally bomb your small group of escaped refugees with their war ships. Some of the refugees are sick and injured. Somehow Kid is unable to see the difference between a Serge who is amassing a massive army and killing hundreds of thousands of innocents to the Serge that she was camping and sharing stories with in the early parts of the game. All Kid is focused on is murdering Lynx (You in Lynx’s body) and doesn’t give a damn about the innocent refugees.

– You save a group of Faeries from fire-breathing mechanical Dwarves. You literally stop a genocide. Somehow, the Faeries blame the humans for everything with no explanation on how humanity had anything to do with Dwarves slaughtering Faeries in droves. This is like a sick joke on the very real problems of mass genocide that has unfortunately become more of a problem in recent years.

– Why would Schala save Serge but not a suffering and crying Magus in 600 AD? She saved Serge because she was reminded of Magus… instead of saving the actual Magus. Also, romancing the person who reminds you of your brother is… rather creepy.

The letter Lucca gave Kid makes absolutely no sense. The first part is about how imperative it is that Lucca essentially writes her last will in testament in hopes that Kid understands the dangers. The latter half consists of a good luck and that she’ll share important information with Kid later… despite the fact that this is suppose to be her last letter before her imminent death.

The destruction of Guardia and deaths of the CT cast do not even make sense. Some warlord from some other timeline came to help the goofey idiot from the Antiquity era. Some warlord is more powerful than Lavos? Really? That doesn’t even make sense. It isn’t even elaborated upon further. Just something we’re expected to believe. Furthermore, the darkness beyond time concept makes no sense. Why would people in the erased future want to come back when in CT they clearly expressed wanting to just die? Masato Kato obviously never had any real part of the story. I even doubt his claims of making the 600 AD era. I think he just robbed from Yuji Horii. It’s no surprise that Chrono Cross came up with a concept that was ripped straight from Dragon Quest 6.

The dialogue of the game is stale and uninspired. It becomes a bit pretentious at times since characters like Lynx never get to the point of what they’re trying to say. Even worse, when he takes the body, instead of focusing on his so-called goal to succeed in his objectives… he decides to go around doing stupid crap because he suddenly likes having “feelings”. Instead of being a serious villain, as he’s presented, he just goes on and on about feelings when he could have won. Fate does this while knowing that the Dragons are looking to usurp power to destroy him.

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My Favorite Games Thus Far

Note: These are my favorite games from among my favorite game series. Major Spoilers for all series mentioned.

Phenomenal indicates it is among my favorite games of all-time in no particular order. This title is for games I absolutely loved.

Great Games indicates that the game would have been among my favorites, but was just missing one small thing that prevented it from being one of my favorites of all-time. I adore them and highly recommend them, but there was just this one small aspect that prevented me from making it an all-time favorite.

Average is self-explanatory. They aren’t bad games by any stretch, but I didn’t really find them charming and they definitely never came close to the games ranked above them.

Below Average is for games that I found severely underwhelming and was totally disappointed by. They’re still good games, but I don’t find anything positive about them or what little I find positive is overwhelmed by all the negatives. They’re either boring or terrible to me.

Garbage is for games that I absolutely hated. Either due to its poor technical aspects that ruined any enjoyment, or because the story was complete trash, or an amalgamation of both. That being said, game developers sometimes have to take risks to prevent their series from becoming stale. Sometimes, they want to try a radical new idea that they think will work great, but doesn’t have they impact they desired. Or perhaps, they missed the mark because they wanted to reinvent their game with a new concept for a new iteration.

I’ll add commentaries for each series and explain my reasoning in brief. This’ll likely be a self-updating blog post over however many years it takes for a new game to grapple my heart and bewitch me. I don’t expect anyone to really be interested in this one as it is obviously just my personal tastes being shared about subjective content.

Dragon Quest Series:

Phenomenal:

Dragon Quest V: Hand of the Heavenly Bride (DS)

Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age (PC)

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Great Games:

Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King (PS2), Dragon Quest IV: Chapters of the Chosen (DS), Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Sky (DS).

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Average Game:

Dragon Quest VI: Realms of Revelations (DS)

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Garbage:

Dragon Quest VII: Fragments of the Forgotten Past (PS1), Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime (DS), Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker (DS)

Of the Dragon Quest games that I’ve played, I’ve found the series to be largely phenomenal. I use to be concerned by arguments from people that Dragon Quest was somehow the same story in every game with no real changes in gameplay and plot, and I honestly have to wonder what the hell people were talking about. I had presumed these people had played the games, but over time I realized most didn’t even bother to look beyond the artwork by wrongfully accusing Akira Toriyama of plagiarizing himself. Also, I no longer understand how people can say the plots are all the same or generic. Dragon  Quest V’s plot and events are far, far different from any other Dragon Quest. However, I do think that apart from Dragon Quest IV and Dragon Quest IX, the main villains don’t really have character development and motivations outside of some selfish desires or simply the desire to bring darkness to the world. Despite how much the player hates the leading antagonist of Ladja from Dragon Quest V, his motivations are simply serving his dark God, Nimzo.

Dragon Quest XI was a surprisingly good step away from that with the villainous motivations. Each of them fit the theme of the game, where the Light was used to signify working on improving from your personal failings to grow to be a better person, whilst darkness was allowing your personal insecurities to override your better judgment and to seek vengeance upon others due to an inability to deal with that pain. I found both Dragon Quest V and XI show that a silent protagonist can be depicted rather wonderfully in terms of motivations. Dragon Quest V more so, since DQXI falls back on the “But Thou Must!” trope to subtly hint at a particular plot point in its story.

As for the games listed as Garbage, I tried to get into Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker, but it was a horrible game that is completely obsolete compared to both Pokemon and Shin Megami Tensei. Rocket Slime, at least the first one that I played, is just a bad game and not very fun. As for Dragon Quest VII, I’m basing my ranking on the PS1 version that I played. I beat the main game in 123 hours and I just couldn’t bother forcing myself to do anymore. I really tried liking the game, but the plot makes no sense and completely falls apart by the end because of Melvin (the Hero) having random psychic and fire powers just to keep the story going after a major plot twist in the late period of the game. Unlike other casts of characters, none of Dragon Quest VII’s characters were interesting. Which is a huge surprise to me. For example, even without the party chat, Dragon Quest IV’s cast had a charm to them. Dragon Quest V’s cast is phenomenal. Dragon Quest 8’s was very good and endearing, while at least 4 of the cast members of Dragon Quest XI had great development throughout the story. But Dragon Quest VII seemed to gimp the development in favor of exploration and the exploration honestly felt like a giant chore in which I had to redo the same area twice; first the past, and then the present just for shard collections to get to the next point of the game.

However, I understand that Dragon Quest VII was an attempt to do something radically new, both with the upgraded job system of Dragon Quest VI and the massive story that expands throughout every single continent in a somewhat more episodic fashion. Dragon Quest IX attempted to be radically different too, but with more success. Both 7 and 9 seem to be the hit – or – miss games for fans. I can absolute appreciate that the developers wanted to try something truly new and unique for the series. I don’t recall puzzles and shard collections being utilized either before or after Dragon Quest VII. Despite it’s 2D pixels and old-school as fuck gameplay, Dragon Quest VII still stands out rather uniquely compared to Dragon Quest VIII which seems to have had its amazing graphics and gameplay wholly outdone by Dragon Quest XI. The gameplay isn’t entirely the same, but Dragon Quest XI certainly feels like a more upgraded advancement of Dragon Quest VIII’s system to me. To be fair, the overarching plot of Dragon Quest VIII still feels more unique and interesting as it’s premise and events. It felt as if you beat one game and started another during the major plot twist in the middle of DQ8’s plot. However, Dragon Quest XI’s characters and the presentation of its cookie-cutter plot is still done better and feels like a more complete journey. For me, the gameplay in Dragon Quest XI was the most fun of any Dragon Quest as the special attacks felt like they meant something significant and the double and triple tech attacks were amazing.

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Chrono Cross: Revisiting the Serge is Janus Theory

Why the Serge is Janus theory clears away plot contradictions, nicely intersects with the plotlines, and how both Chrono Trigger DS and the main game of Chrono Cross clearly validate the likelihood of Serge being Janus. I present to you Revisiting the Serge is Janus Theory, a.k.a. The Most Disturbing Chrono Cross Theory Ever

About Me and my disposition towards Chrono Cross:

If you’re familiar with my previous work, you’ve probably heard of how stupid awful Chrono Cross is by my many attempts at bashing the plot. Some of you may be thinking “Why the hell does this idiot spend so much time hating on a video game? Why can’t you get a life, loser!” and to that I say . . . you just can’t argue against my genuine criticisms because they’re the harsh truth. You use ad hominen to bash me because you can’t stand the fact that I’m right. In fact, every single time I engage with this fanbase it’s either they resort to bashing on Chrono Trigger because of their own laughable insecurities and pretending Chrono Trigger’s fame is somehow to blame for the legitimate hatred of Chrono Cross or the fanbase quite blatantly doesn’t even address the criticisms and claims I’m somehow a “troll” or being rude for taking the time and effort to post 10 to 20 minute videos to highlight my legitimate criticisms. Chrono Cross fans just can’t stand the fact that I’m right about the Worst Game Ever, Chrono Cross! They can’t stand the fact that Masato Kato is a shit writer. That’s why they highlight age-old reviews that video game companies pay or give incentives to get high ratings on even back then in the early 2000s, that’s why a good chunk bash Chrono Trigger, that’s why they use nonsensical fanon that has nothing to do with the content on the Chrono Cross discs like the Chrono Compendium, and that’s why they refuse to engage with my criticisms. After all:

  1. I stick to the main plot of Chrono Cross in my criticisms and judge solely on its own merits. The only time I point out inconsistencies with Chrono Trigger is when the plot of Chrono Cross specifically relates to a plot point in Chrono Trigger.
  2. That’s why these people can’t defend this completely awful dumpster fire of a video game that is Chrono Cross. They cover their eyes and ears and whine about “trolling” whenever legitimate criticisms are brought to them as a way of safeguarding the unsalvageable mess of trash.
  3. Over the years, it’s become clearer and clearer that Masato Kato is a shit writer who was never serious about storytelling. Evidently, he’ll whine and shit on Yuji Horii for how Horii made time travel in Chrono Trigger and try to steal the man’s work and claim it all as his own when all he did was write the script of Chrono Trigger (i.e. the dialogue, for those of you who ignorantly don’t know what a script is) and he’ll steal the hard work of Soraya Saga to claim that he wrote her parts of Xenogears, and then maybe he’ll shit all over Ninja Gaiden’s plot by writing Ninja Gaiden 3, but he sure as shit won’t ever be a great story writer. He’s no Yuji Horii. Yuji Horii has gone on to create masterpiece after masterpiece and proves his talent with his hard work. His time travel stories, while a bit nonsensical in some parts, are still far above the shit writing of Masato Kato. In fact, every parallel universe story from other series are way better than Masato Kato’s shit writing and I’ll be making a blog post highlighting games that delve into alternate universe storylines in the future.

My contempt for Chrono Cross burns metaphorically as hot as the surface of the sun. I have nothing but loathing for the Worst Game Ever. However, after my initial stint on Gfaqs, I have never once taken the bait and acted destructively as Chrono Cross fans. Evidently, many of these people claim Chrono Cross is about empathy, compassion, and love for those of us who are different and yet they fail to embody all these lessons when anybody criticizes their precious little pile of bad writing. Do you feel angry at me for speaking honestly and truthfully about my opinion? I’ve received so many “F U” comments in various forms and been insulted for “trolling” for simply specifying point-by-point facts in which the game fails as a narrative. Indeed, this so-called “compassion” that this game purports to give its fans is proven wrong throughout social media websites: Gamefaqs, Reddit, JRPG Facebook Groups, and so forth. Ahem, you can see my youthful antics in full galore, I feel kind of bad about it now, but it doesn’t excuse the personal insults that were thrown my way back then. Anyway. over and over, it’s insulting personal attacks, arguments of being too superior to me to challenge my views, or criticism of Chrono Trigger as if that somehow makes Chrono Cross’s failings better — Hint: It doesn’t! My experience has increased my confidence that Chrono Cross fans simply defend the indefensible and they know it. They don’t argue to challenge my views, because I am right. Chrono Cross is the Worst Game Ever created in all of Human History!

However, I’ve deigned a boon for these insufferable fans who clearly have no valid argument to defend the Worst Game Ever, and decided to absolve them of their agony in loving such a stupid, pathetic, and piece of crap game by sharing a fan theory that was originally told to me by a close friend who finished the game and informed me that Serge was Janus and how Lucca’s Letter was the ultimate proof. Taking this theory to heart, I had inquired about it on gfaqs forums as an early teen only to find myself rebuked by frankly illogical arguments made from dumbass Chrono Cross fans who are so stupid that they use Chrono Compendium instead of the game’s content itself. After finishing Dragon Quest XI (y’know, a superior game from a more accomplished developer and story writer like Yuji Horii) and thinking of how much better Final Fantasy IX is to the shitpile that is Chrono Cross (y’know, since Hironobu Sakaguchi is also a more accomplished and superior story writer and developer than that fucking idiot Masato Kato) I couldn’t help but think over how — as much as I hated to admit it and as much as I had wanted to deny it — well . . . The Serge is Janus theory fixes all plot holes, makes the plot more sensible and uniform, changes utterly ridiculous events that Chrono Trigger fans especially hate into events that seem perfectly plausible and legitimate, and the content Masato Kato added in the Chrono Trigger DS helped make it possible in a . . . subtle way.

To be clear, the Serge is Janus theory predates both myself and the friend who mentioned it to me. In fact, many diehard Chrono Cross fans or fans who had freshly completed the game had taken away that Serge was somehow Janus due to time and dimension shenanigans, but were never able to curtail the arguments of naysayers. Well, CTDS has provided a possible theory, and to be honest, it seems to have been staring fans and haters in the face for awhile now.

Onto the Serge is Janus Theory By Jarin Jove:

You may be wondering, why would I do this? Why would I make the time and effort to go into an in-depth analysis to prove myself wrong about Chrono Cross’s plot after rudely bashing its fans, creator, and the content of the game itself and making it quite clear that I absolutely hate the game? Because I don’t want to be a destructive asshole who ridicules with personal attacks like the aforementioned Chrono Cross fans, I want to constructively destroy and combat The Worst Game Ever and prove, once and for all, why it deserves to be called the Worst Game Ever!

Noteworthy Timeline events to keep in mind:

1004 AD – Lucca finds Kid and makes the orphanage.

1005 AD – Guardia Falls. Overlord from another timeline helps Dalton to destroy Guardia with the help of an Overlord / Emperor who time traveled.

1006 AD – 4-year Old Serge is Attacked by the Panther.

1010 AD – Kid saves Serge from drowning in Home World while the other Serge dies in Another World.

1015 AD – Kid orphanage burned down and Serge saves her as Lynx burned it down.

For this theory, I make five key assumptions about the plot and Masato Kato’s own story at face value:

  1. FATE is a supercomputer capable of predicting the future, acting on those future predictions, and all its subsequent actions are based on this logic and have a singular purpose that is being fulfilled as Balthasar intended.
  2. Janus was willing to do absolutely everything to save Schala, no matter what the cost. This is a completely reasonable and almost wholly obvious assumption. Kato himself claims to have written the Zeal Arc and much of Chrono Cross is based on Zeal with the endgame apparitions in Chrono Cross saying it all began in Zeal.
  3. Serge loves Kid. And since Kato said this was really a boy meets a girl story, this is a fairly innocuous assumption that is repeatedly defended within the content of Chrono Cross itself through Serge’s actions in the game’s story and by many Chrono Cross fans themselves who claim as much about the story and how great the ending is when depicting the love between Serge and Kid.
  4. The Time Bastard Theory — in brief, the theory that two alternate selves can’t exist in the same universe after going back in time to change the future and that each universe creates only one person per universe as these universes diverge — has been debunked by Masato Kato himself in Chrono Trigger DS. The shocked expression of Magus in your party and his recognition of Schala being trapped provide ample evidence of this in the added secret ending of Chrono Trigger DS, which will be shown below.
  5. Lucca’s letter was left by the developers on purpose and wasn’t an accident. The context of her intimate knowledge and familiarity with Janus gives significant in-game evidence that Janus did join the party in the Chrono Cross timeline. The letter strongly implies that he grew so acquainted with Lucca and likely the others that they even casually talk to him using his real name. Lucca is so confident within the letter that she makes it clear that Janus will definitely always protect Kid. She uses his real name out of endearment and familiarity.

Now, after thinking over how to begin the topic, I feel it is best to just dive right into the theory itself. Please be sure to keep those five assumptions in mind as the basis for the conjecture and implications within the parameters of this theory. Onward to poisoning everything you love about your precious piece of shit through constructive feedback and theorizing! >:D

First, let’s start with Masato Kato’s added content in Chrono Trigger DS, which shows us a Magus from another universe discussing how he’s from a timeline where they’ve already beaten Lavos and he’s unsure if the dark presence ahead will be your future timeline or not. The Magus in your party does react to him and is shown to be genuinely dumbfounded by the existence of another version of himself.

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Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of An Elusive Age Review and Final Thoughts

Note: For this review, I’ll begin with a spoiler-free portion and then go into spoilers after a warning.

Dragon Quest 11 is an absolutely amazing experience. I’m surprised how much I enjoyed it. It’s a fairly cookie-cutter good versus evil story, but the manner in which they utilize the cliches feels surprisingly organic and original. I’m quite pleased with everything and I have no complaints about the interface or gameplay at all. I sank 123 hours into this game and I’m quite pleased to say that it never got boring, there’s so much content to have fun with, and I cannot recommend this game enough! Definitely get Dragon Quest 11, if you’re interested in purchasing it or are choosing between it and other games. From what my brother and a close friend tell me, it’s far better and feels more complete than Final Fantasy 15; they both played and beat both games recently and unfortunately, Final Fantasy 15 doesn’t really have much in the ways of coherent structure and half the game you basically have to watch or buy other content for. Dragon Quest 11 is a complete game with so many side-stories and sidequests that give a wealth of content. No stupid paywalls and no DLC scams like other games. I’m so happy that this game was released overseas. It’s a phenomenal experience. If you want a complete game without any nonsensical DLC scams or wish to support games that go against such scams, then please consider supporting games like Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age.

Notwithstanding, this game is fantastic on its own merits. Here are some reasons why, from its weakest components to its strengths:

Music: 8/10. Quite possibly the sore spot for some people. The music is unfortunately the MIDI version which just doesn’t sound as good as the Symphonic Suite. If you played Dragon Quest 11 on Steam like I did, then there are mods to replace the MIDI files with Symphonic music which makes the game sound far better. I played the game on MIDI since I didn’t mind too much, but definitely consider using the mod if you really can’t stand the MIDI format of music.

Gameplay: 11/10. Hyperbole’s aside; It’s Dragon Quest 8’s gameplay on steroids. There are so many fun skills and combined attacks from pep-up (the Dragon Quest 11 name for the tension system that first began in Dragon Quest 8) that it never gets boring. The gameplay feels fast-paced as it isn’t slow by any stretch for turn-based games and you can even have characters move around the grid; even if it does nothing and is only cosmetic. The skill tree section seems a bit reminiscent to Final Fantasy X, but I would say it’s more similar to Digital Devil Saga 1-2, except it’s done way better than any of those three games. Unlocking new skills allows for all sorts of amazing benefits and actually feels like meaningful milestones within the combat itself unlike in Dragon Quest 8 where the moves barely did anything and didn’t even kill weak monsters.

You collect skill points as you level-up and you’re able to change them if you feel you’ve made a mistake by speaking to a cleric at a Church. The skills themselves look amazing on screen and there aren’t any slowdowns or unpolished attacks from what I played. Some Team Supermoves have a few short cut scenes but they go by quick and offer to further the exhilarating atmosphere.

Story and Plot: 9.7/10. The plot and story are done amazingly well; this is particularly surprising for a game with a cookie-cutter good versus evil theme. This game really shows that it isn’t always the specific style of story that disinterests people, but rather the manner in which it is shown to us. Everyone in the game had believable character motives, plotlines intersected in shockingly engaging and interesting ways, and – while the beginning is a tad slow – it really picks-up and is a blast from beginning to end once the third party member joins. Some plot elements which I had assumed was oversights in the very beginning were later  either clarified exceptionally well or specific characters were heavily alluded to having different character motives for their actions than what I had thought was the truth behind their motives. And please don’t be confused on this point, the perspective of these characters is at first shown to be one-sided, but then more story info and a clearer explanation from the characters themselves help to explain why actions that seemed like oversights were actually very well-developed and understandable actions from their points of view. I love when games do this. Dragon Quest 11 does this incredibly well. I still have some gripes related to the early portions of the game, like the Dragon Quest 11 Hero being so forgiving of certain actions taken by Heliodor, but that’ll be explained in the spoiler-section of this review.

Characters: 9/10. Four of the party members; Sylvando, Erik, Rab, and Serena get an amazing wealth of character development during major sections of the game’s story. Some of which isn’t until deep into the plot, but its handled beautifully and well worth the payoff. I was a bit taken aback by how much I could empathize and love this cast of characters and I couldn’t help but compare it to previous games. What really surprised me though was even side-character villains like Jasper have some of the best character motivations and development; I was honestly stunned. He seemed like a typical henchman and then they give you an inner look into his life and an explanation on why he became what he was. Veronica, Jade, the main villain, the Superboss (yes, the Superboss of all people), Hendrik, and the King of Heliodor get really good background character motivations. They all feel as enriching as Dragon Quest 8’s cast. So, they’re either really good or adequate, but they don’t really feel like they grow as characters like the aforementioned four others. Please don’t mistake my words, they’re not bad characters. They’re really good static characters, but they don’t feel like they develop beyond their background histories. They’re still very fun and enjoyable; they definitely enrich the story, but it seems primary focus was oriented more towards Sylvando, Rab, Erik, and Serena.

As is usual for Dragon Quest, if you spend time talking to NPCs, like I do out of fun, background characters like Veronica and Serena’s parents, Erik’s fellow thief Derk and other background characters later revealed, and Rab and his background history are fairly well-developed characters in their own right. It really surprised me and it really enhanced my enjoyment of this game. I had initially felt it was lame to be playing yet another Good Versus Evil / Light Vs Darkness story so typical in JRPGs and even more so in WRPGs, but to my chagrin I changed my mind after awhile. The characters were so developed and their trials so engaging within the scope of a really interesting plot that all I had left was a really enjoyable and fun experience.

I can’t help but compare this experience with Dragon Quest 8. This game’s cast far outshines Dragon Quest 8’s cast of characters. I was genuinely surprised, since this cast is much larger. With respect to comparisons, I would say that while Dragon Quest 8 had really fleshed out backgrounds and really fun party chat which helped flesh out the characters even further in their stories, it didn’t translate to the cut scene stories of the game which felt like a lot of their characters centered around their pasts or – with one particular character – a single conversation in their past being a defining moment for them which didn’t really make sense to me. Dragon Quest 11’s cast is just done far better than that to me. I would say this cast is second only to Dragon Quest V’s cast, but Dragon Quest V still remains my favorite and I’m obviously heavily biased in that regard. Heh. Erik, Rab, Serena, and Sylvando — like the Dragon Quest V cast and the Dragon Quest 9 side-stories — provide the best of both games along with an enhanced version of Dragon Quest 8’s gameplay that improves in every way.

Extra Content: Hands down, this game has some of the best extra content ever. Three extra dungeons (albeit rehashed designs), a litany of extra side-story quests for Post-game, an extra ending for beating the Superboss of the game, and 20+ extra story after you beat the Final Boss.

This is the quintessential Dragon Quest game and offers the best that the series delivers on. It definitely deserves Game of The Year, if nominated. I hope it gets such an award, because it absolutely deserves to. If you’re considering purchasing this game, I highly recommend it! It doesn’t have any dlc scams, it’s a complete game which you can spend 120+ hours on, and it has a really challenging and fun Superboss fight. Definitely consider purchasing Dragon Quest 11: Echoes of an Elusive Age.

Overall, phenomenal game and I definitely loved it. The beginning was a bit slow up until the third party member showed up where it really got the ball rolling, the extra content is great, and the plot is written incredibly well and always manages to remain engaging and interesting. Thus, I’d rate it a 9.7/10.

Overall Score: 9.7/10.

MAJOR SPOILERS FOR DRAGON QUEST 11: ECHOES OF AN ELUSIVE AGE AND OTHER DRAGON QUEST GAMES BEYOND THIS POINT.

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Shin Megami Tensei Discussions with Beadman

Spoiler Warning: This discussion contains spoilers for the mainline Shin Megami Tensei series and other MegaTen related series such as: Majin Tensei I and II, Digital Devil Saga Duology, the Persona series, Devil Survivor series, and well . . . potentially everything MegaTen / Shin Megami Tensei related, but those are the main video game series that get spoiled.

Content Warning: In general dialogue with others online, I tend to use expletives. Not in a way to insult in this context, but as a general habit of discourse. I don’t mean any insults towards Beadman, and apologize if any such comment was inferred or directly made by me. I do admit to purposefully using expletives to properly articulate by annoyance with Eirikjrs in this discussion at one instance. More importantly, Beadman and I have an outspoken and frank discussion on Abrahamic religious theology, its plausibility, and its history based on the evidence given by modern Western academics. I hold very negative views and am frank in my crass humor when talking about religion in general. Although, if you’ve checked my blog, then you probably knew that already.

Below is a backstory if you’re curious to learn more about who Beadman and I are, why I decided to have this lengthy discussion and asked Beadman if it was okay to share it with you all, and why I believe such discussions have value. If you would like to skip it due to lack of interest, please just scroll down below to the slideshow. 

For those who may be curious or hold interest in learning about either of us more personally, I am a self-described Hindu Atheist and Beadman is a Transtheist and Surrelativist (an identifying name for the position of Emerging Theism). We had a separate discussion about how he defines his personal beliefs, but I felt it was wrong to add that to the discussion as I don’t want this to be construed as an attempt to shame or insult his beliefs as that is not my intention.

Having thought over the SMT discussion, I couldn’t help but ruminate on the many, many changes on both my beliefs and my interactions with Beadman over such a short span of time. I first met Beadman in 2013 and we had thoroughly diametrically opposed views on the Neutral ending of Shin Megami Tensei IV on the MegaTen Reddit website. He couldn’t believe that the people of the Eastern Kingdom of Mikado could be herded through Naraku in a mass exodus without casualties and criticized them all fitting into Cafe Florida at the end of Neutral. I felt he was focused on the wrong details, making a mountain out of a molehill, and quite liked the ending. I stopped following Shin Megami Tensei for awhile, because I was under the false impression that there wouldn’t be another game for another 9-10 years due to the trackrecord of mainline games usually being that far apart on initial releases. To my pleasant surprise, I was wrong, and I got to enjoy a duology from the mainline series. And… a bunch of extremely personal stuff involving my near-death from a car crash happened, and I was not in the best of emotional states because my family basically told me that it didn’t matter that I almost died, didn’t believe I was in severe pain, didn’t believe I’m suffering from lifelong neck pain no matter how many times I tell them clearly and calmly, and well…. I took it out on Beadman at one point. I repeatedly apologized to him since then, but to my surprise, he didn’t remember the incident and he generally gives me the impression that he’s aloof from such things. I think it was because he was practicing Stoicism at the time, but I don’t think that he does anymore and I think he’s better off from it. He seemed to have his own bottled up annoyances, and I don’t believe that it was due to me, per se. I didn’t inquire though, but if there is anything of substance, I sincerely wish him the best in dealing with it.

I came to terms with my own personal issues upon recognizing my family, specifically my parents, are completely awful at articulating that they care in explicit terms. They’re the unique kind of… special that can’t verbally articulate or explicitly show they care, but instead do so with actions… and ignoring social problems deliberately because they’re awful at dealing with stress; but still support me through and through. It’s a very bizarre relationship; I’m living it and I don’t know how to fully describe it. I don’t go into too much detail because they have this fear and paranoia of being judged by the public that I never quite understood so on the off-chance they ever read this and know its from me, I’ve made sure to keep terms vague, because I just don’t want to deal with any potential future melodrama from them. I’m of the personal opinion that it largely doesn’t matter, anything you say about your life to the public will be absorbed for like five minutes of conversation, maybe an insulting text or a slew of insulting texts for a little while, and then promptly forgotten about because nobody truly cares about such gossip or melodrama beyond feeling better than some stranger online for however long the emotional superiority feels good to an individual.

As you can well imagine, I had to work on my own existential dread for awhile and my ire with politics, which I think affected me more deeply than most people since I am a political scientist albeit a low-level one, Beadman has publicly mentioned on Reddit that he minored in Philosophy while majoring in a STEM related field. For my part, I’ve read every major book of Friedrich Nietzsche’s and criticized his depiction of Nietzschean philosophy as it seemed to be based on Bertrand Russell’s godawful strawman depiction rather than genuine Nietzschean philosophy. At the same time, I’ve had to modify my views on Consequentialism and Utilitarianism, because that was his main focus and he clearly knows far more about it than I do. Due to Beadman’s influence, I read and finished John Stuart Mill’s Three Essays on Religion and I find it to be a fairly good critique of the failings of religion connected to State politics, but I also discovered that Mill was a racist moron. Beadman had once criticized Atlus for the “unclean” but I pointed out that if he’s right and I’m wrong about contentions I had against Law being Utilitarianism, then Atlus was completely justified in depicting Angels borderline racists against Japanese people. Mill repeatedly, and I do mean nauseatingly so, goes on and on about how Asians are untrustworthy thieves and diseased. Even if one were to argue that Atlus should focus on the philosophy and not the person, you have to keep in mind that if they did read Mill, it would be earnestly taking the time to read this man’s philosophy while he goes on paragraph upon paragraph about how diseased their culture is, how they aren’t worth trusting and should be looked upon with suspicion, and how their culture and society is a garbage heap. Atlus depicting Angels saying Japanese are “Unclean Ones” or “the Filth” is . . . incredibly benevolent and mild compared to the asinine comments that John Stuart Mill wrote repeatedly about Asian culture. Please believe me when I say that I’m not overstating this. It’s the equivalent of I, as a US-born and raised person, reading a book which falsely claims that the US is a disease-ridden group of morons with no moral values or positives repeatedly strewn across various paragraphs while a foreign person is passionately discussing their moral philosophy. It might credibly be the case that Atlus is trying their best to depict Utilitarianism in a neutral context from the standpoint of what Mill actually said about Asian societies as a culture and people in his own very homogenized context. Please keep in mind that I actually liked what I read about John Stuart Mill’s philosophy when he kept focus on the philosophy itself, but when he went into foreign cultures . . . it got very stupid, very fast. This judgment of mine is also based upon one small book of his, I have no idea how Mill addresses Asians within the context of his larger philosophical works. Nevertheless, I now realize I misunderstood what Beadman meant since I thought he was saying Law was focused on John Stuart Mill’s Pleasure-Pain principle, but in fact, he places more emphasis on Bentham before John Stuart Mill. To the best of my knowledge and based on what I read from Mill about his own personal teacher, Bentham’s views are more vague and less focused on pleasures in his Consequentialist ideology. Mill is the one who fleshed out the philosophy to be more coherent and it seems Beadman was emphasizing the more vague version of Consequentialist ethics when critiquing Law.

Anyhow, before I began the discussion presented below, I had given him my explanation for why Nietzsche has a very big emphasis with Atlus’s work. I’m fairly sure my essay had an impact as I showed the various forms of symbolism and allegories to Nietzschean philosophy throughout the Shin Megami Tensei IV-IVA duology. I had always wanted this sort of discussion with him because I feel such a discussion, and publicly sharing such a discussion, has far more to offer than the nonsensical travesty that has become Eirikrjs blog. To emphasize this further, and to give more credence to my argument about the Anarchy route foreshadowing from a year ago, consider the fact that Dagda’s Theme is a remix of The White’s Theme.

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Was Atlus Criticizing Islam in the Shin Megami Tensei IV/IV Apocalypse Duology?

Fair Warning: This post contains Massive Spoilers for Shin Megami Tensei IV, Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse, Devil Survivor 2, and links to spoilers for Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne. Read at your own peril.

For an Update On This Critique: Click Here

Over the course of my researching the major religious faiths that I am critiquing in the book that I am currently writing, I’ve grown to see more similarities and references in Shin Megami Tensei that I’ve come to appreciate. I’ve often been called foolish for such interest because of this prevailing idea that video games can’t be critiqued, but one of the main failures of these arguments is that Atlus itself encourages these deep insights to learn more about various religious mythos and stories. If they didn’t care, they would be more like the Final Fantasy series, placing names for characters with no reference to the original source material. Atlus goes so far as to provide a codex in every game to learn more about these myths and specific deities. Yet, it seems to me that a certain subset of fans just no longer have interest. It’s a shame. This is actually a relatively new phenomena. In fact, eight years ago, my interest in critically examining Atlus video games was spurred by the old Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne community that I had happily taken part in for several years. I had actually known about Nocturne since 2006, but got in incredibly late around 2009 after the utter fail that was Persona 4 on the PS2. I remember being able to share this experience with two close friends that I met online at the time, both of whom I’ve lost touch with. It seems as if, like always, life just withers away from you before you realize it and all you’re left with is the fond memories. It seems like some old fans are only interested in hating on Atlus based off wildly speculative conspiracy theories that have no basis in fact. Any attempt at disputing anything, point by point, through critical examination is simply labeled being an “asshole” as it seems most of these so-called fans aren’t interested in reading anything positive like the other older fans were. If they are, they certainly aren’t vocal or perhaps they’ve moved to Youtube, but it seems peculiar that Persona 5 gets deserved praise for themes, but Shin Megami Tensei, which places far more emphasis on themes in general, garners almost no interest at all. Oh well, perhaps in another 8 years, or perhaps there is a silent majority. On the more positive side for me, there is hardly a day where the second Thematic Essay on Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse doesn’t get clicks; but regardless, I’ve only ever actually posted material to share my love for video game themes. It’s just a shame that the community that was so open and happy with spontaneously finding new references and themes no longer seems so, unless it’s to throw contempt towards Atlus for make-believe reasons. It got so bad, even Polygon joined in to shovel contempt. I think, in all honesty, it shows the stupidity of Western culture, especially US culture, more than it did anything else. It’s like every time anybody has anything positive to say, people just want to kill it or mock it due to their Christian ethics.

So, after looking into more of the contents of Islam and listening to almost all of the lengthy panels by Ex-Muslims of North America, I’ve come upon striking similarities of Islam’s theology and the depictions of Law in Shin Megami Tensei IV and IV Apocalypse. Previously, I was under the impression that there were only tertiary connections such as the Islamic angel of death, Azrael, being a main story mission in Apocalypse and an extra boss fight when going back to Blasted Tokyo in Shin Megami Tensei IV. Back in 2013, I admittedly didn’t see anything particularly different about Law that stood out, but I noticed some odd behavior that didn’t fit with Law’s depiction from previous games. An acquaintance of mine on reddit, by the user name bunkerman or “Beadman” as he likes to be called, continually argued that it was Atlus’s contempt for Utilitarian ethics and that this was proven by pointing out Isabeau being killed for manga in the Law alignment of Shin Megami Tensei IV. I didn’t have an argument against it, but when asking for confirmation of how he was so sure that Law was depicting Utilitarian ethics, he pointed to Devil Survivor 2’s late-game conversation. Now, while I think there is merit in spotting Utilitarian ethics in Devil Survivor 2, considering the two main antagonists offer straightforward themes of Meritocracy against Socialism, I doubted that it fit Shin Megami Tensei IV’s narrative. There was also two severe problems with it, which nobody seemed keen on addressing and instead repeatedly insulted me with ad hominem on the reddit forum of MegaTen. Chiefly, in the Three Essays on Religion, John Stuart Mill quotes his co-founder in Utilitarianism stating that Utilitarianism can’t be used with any religion. Mill, a noted feminist, would have also been against disadvantaging people’s personal liberty. While Utilitarianism fit with Devil Survivor 2, it seemed like an odd choice for Shin Megami Tensei IV’s Law to be Utilitarian ethics. Many people in the MegaTen Reddit community seemed to throw contempt upon Atlus for “depicting Utilitarian ethics poorly” but, why didn’t this simply lower their confidence that Law in Shin Megami Tensei IV had anything to do with Utilitarian ethics? The assumption was theirs and the arguments about Atlus “depicting it poorly” could more readily be attributed to Atlus depicting something else entirely. Rationally speaking, especially if there is so many gaps, you should be less willing to place confidence in a belief.

Of course, Eirikrjs, a person I use to have respect for back when he was actually a fan of the Shin Megami Tensei series and provided rather fascinating translations and pointing out cultural themes, went off the deep end with a ridiculous theory that he tries to claim makes Atlus anti-Semitic. Yes, really. When I point out, point-by-point, the massive flaws in his assertions, I’m simply labeled a bigot and an idiot by his fans and the MegaTen Reddit community, who then go on and on proclaiming how stupid I am and when I retort with any sort of comment, I am labeled either overly sensitive or stupid. Admittedly, it isn’t all bad though, since attempts at pushing Eirikrjs’s specious ideas has led to comical results in which other people who, like myself, have a fascination for mythos can point out the thoroughgoing flaws. And then of course, follows a torrent of racist expletives thrown my way by the MegaTen Reddit community, followed by insinuations that any complaints by me are “proof” that I’m overly sensitive. Evidently, I’m suppose to just quietly take their racist abuse like a model minority and have no right to call them out on it, even when the process goes on for several months and the so-called “trolling” starts being hurled at my Reddit message box. To be honest, I expected this sort of stupidity from the Final Fantasy crowd from ye olde Gamefaqs, but it seems like the “newer generation of fans” from 4Chan have become even worse than 4Chan. This is after an incident where a former pen pal of mine called the police because someone from this Law-aligned community decided the willful sharing of child porn was acceptable within their community. In case the forum is deleted, here is what I am referring to. When I tried to civilly address this, they shouted me down with the typical insults and treated me with scorn. Unfortunately, I deleted the topic awhile back. If you need any more proof that this community has severe problems, look no further than the comments I received regarding a mousepad that I mentioned my sister got me. Does that strike you as a community of decent human beings? I was even accused of not having a sister because I’m a retard or something. Yes, you read that sentence right. Yes, I’m just as confused as you are by what that could even mean. I can only infer that these people either lacked or never developed any decent social skills among even their families and don’t have any idea what having a sibling who is female is like and attribute it to the garbage tropes currently running in the Anime industry. However, even that is bizarre, as it means that these people don’t understand social etiquette at all. The only funny part about them is that they actively try to use the internet as an excuse for their stupidity and abusive behavior. The internet is a tool, it doesn’t give anyone the right to hurl torrents of abuse. You may have the Free Speech to do so, but likewise, people have the Free Speech to call you out on your behavior.

Notwithstanding, Eirikjrs and Beadman’s claims don’t seem to have any meaningful support when you judge by the evidence in the games. Eirikjrs is premised on the idea of Judeo-Christian lore being strictly followed and no real basis for any JJCAT connection apart from taking interview statements out of context and ignoring portions like YHVH speaking the Sermon on the Mount, to argue there is anti-Semitism even when the evidence has glaring flaws that contradict him. I made an effort to counter each of his points and he never once attempts to answer me. He’s now decided to simply delete my comments, so oh well. Beadman uses Devil Survivor 2 and Shin Megami Tensei 1-2 as go-to references, but there is no evidence Utilitarianism was ever used in Shin Megami Tensei Nocturne apart from the True Demon Ending, even grant this it’s still a tenuous connection at best, and the TDE isn’t Law alignment. There simply isn’t any evidence in Shin Megami Tensei IV or Apocalypse that Utilitarian theory was ever referenced as a theme. Essentially, both are making suppositions and when the evidence contradicts their preconceived suppositions, they argue the games are portraying it wrong instead of checking where the evidence leads. Nietzschean philosophy has been used by Atlus since 2006 with Nocturne Maniax. In fact, it was Sam Hatting’s blog post that inspired me to write since I had previously believed that doing such was silly before then. Hatting based his assertions on the evidence and the Nietzschean concepts are there. Of course, they’re more glaring in Shin Megami Tensei IV: Final /Apocalypse as I mentioned in Part II of my analysis on Shin Megami Tensei: Apocalypse. However, I didn’t pay much attention to Law, having assumed that it really was one of the biggest mess-ups when compared to the previous iterations due to the negativity pervading the MegaTen Reddit community, but I’ve come across evidence to doubt that.

I don’t want to overstate this case; the evidence being presented seems circumstantial at worst and valid to an extent at best. Nevertheless, it’s better than specious reasoning by Eirikjrs and misapplied critiques of Devil Survivor imposed upon the IV-A Duology by Beadman. I must emphasize that I will completely admit to being wrong, if the evidence contradicts me. Every person is a fallible human being. I don’t have as much confidence with this one, but I would love the constructive feedback. I doubt I’ll get any meaningful responses though, since most people elect to simply call me crazy from the present MegaTen community.

When researching various theologies for a book I am working on, I re-checked the material on Islam and looked more into Islamic Eschatology. I had previously entertained the notion of Nanashi from Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse perhaps having been influenced by Islamic theology, but I felt that any connections were tenuous at best. However, upon reading Islam’s version of Judgment Day, looking up precisely which Angel was a Messenger for the Islamic Prophet Mohammad, and looking up its description of Heaven; I realized there were far more connections than could be considered coincidental. In fact, the ridicule over Isabeau being killed for manga began to make far more sense once you realize Atlus wasn’t critiquing Judeo-Christian lore at all. It was Islam, modern Islam and ancient Islam, that Atlus was focused on in their critique. The assumption by Eirikjrs and Beadman about it being Judeo-Christian lore is what the problem was. Islam is also an Abrahamic faith and Atlus had already criticized Judeo-Christian lore in Shin Megami Tensei I and Shin Megami Tensei II. The new Angel designs, Mikado’s monarchy, and the desire to go back to an ancient time period were seen as Atlus bashing Western culture. However, the assumption was the fault of the well-known members of the fanbase, and not Atlus. People might be quick to point out the use of the English language is mystical, the Medieval designs of Mikado, and so forth. But, that fails to account for two crucial problems. First, Atlus would have put their own lives at risk and potentially the lives of people working for Atlus overseas for criticizing Islam directly in the real world. Second, the Eastern Kingdom of Mikado seems like a blending of several different cultures and criticizing what seems to be the Imperialistic past of all of them. Europe from the dress style and language, Japan itself since the warriors are the Blessed Samurai, and Islam from its Monarchy and the Monastery. Nevertheless, there’s more emphasis on Islam than the others, based upon the evidence of themes in both Shin Megami Tensei IV and Shin Megami Tensei IV Apocalypse / Final.

I’m currently writing it, and I will try to provide Beadman’s objections, because they’re very powerful objections to this argument and I find that they’re incredibly valid in their reasoning. Beadman’s thesis is essentially that Atlus was utilizing Greek and Dead Sea Scroll stories of Gnostic lore; some of which was an explicit representation of those ancient stories to blend with Judeo-Christian lore. Beadman believes these were literalist depictions to show the honest consequences of such depictions as far as Judeo-Christian utilitarianism (even if, such an idea is explicitly against Utilitarian theory according to both its founders). Nevertheless, I think Islam was a more dominant theme than he’s willing to admit. To what extent, I don’t know, but it became more pronounced and much of Law is shockingly explicit in depicting Islam. Not Utilitarianism or Judeo-Christian lore, per se. Instead, it was purely Islam that Atlus was censuring with perhaps some Judeo-Christian overlap for areas in which Islam is found wanting in explanations. The Eastern Kingdom of Mikado is a very literalist depiction of an Islamic society and its failings. YHVH’s Universe is – to my genuine shock – an explicit depiction of Sufism’s theological views on Islamic heaven (Jannah). That can’t be understated; it’s a literalist view of Islamic heaven under Sufism from the angels swarming every inch of the dungeon, to Walter and Jonathan’s ghosts and their subsequent transformation upon gaining their wishes, the teleportation doorways throughout the dungeons, and the three doors that block you from a boundary in which YHVH inhabits. Even the stars, galaxies, and the radiant light from beyond the boundary of YHVH’s throne are all an allegory for Sufi heaven. Atlus’s attention to detail is quite impressive. The only thing lacking is the 72 wives, it seems Atlus made it less stupid than the actual theology of Islam. To be blunt, a lot of Islam’s theology is utterly ridiculous, which is why, even when I suspected there was some value to this critique, I doubted it because of how stupid much of Islamic theology actually is.

One thing I’d like to stress, when I made the two other critiques and referenced Nietzschean philosophy, I was more confident in them because much of the allusions, the endings themselves, and the themes all fit and were consistent. They were consistent to the extent that I expected certain events to happen . . . and they did based on the foreshadowing that I had picked-up on. A lot of it was incredibly consistent with my expectations. What I didn’t get was why Akira was so important in the first place when he was a regular human or why Atlus had said that he was always meant to form the Eastern Kingdom of Mikado in some variation as his karmic destiny. And now, thanks to my research for my book, I think I know why . . . and to give you further credence as to where my research into this has led me:

The name Asahi is an anagram for Aisha.

For those who don’t know, Aisha is the beloved 9-year old wife of the pedophile Prophet Mohammad. Although it has some variation, Aisha is the most popularized form. It seems Atlus made a more open-ended reference to Asahi being a sister because the actual theology supports pedophilia and Atlus actually has morals unlike Islam’s pedophile Prophet. As you can tell from the featured image, Akira is most likely Shin Megami Tensei IV and Shin Megami Tensei IV Apocalypse‘s depiction of the Islamic Prophet Mohammed.

If you have problems with this topic due specifically to the religious content, then please click here and read this first.

To fellow Hindus, Happy Navrati!

Happy Navarati to fellow Hindus! Here’s one of my most liked Goddess songs in celebration of Hindu Art and Culture of the Great Goddess Durga!

While I don’t believe in any Gods or any sort of supernatural being myself; that doesn’t mean that Hindu Atheists can’t support or celebrate the art, culture, or history of Hinduism or celebrate its holidays / ceremonial rituals freely and openly.

Here’s to both a celebration of Hinduism and Feminism! Hopefully, the patriarchal aspects of majority Hindu countries will be able to change instead of being ashamed of Warrior Goddesses and their artful depictions 😉

Below are a few of the images I like.

Kali Maa form of Durga:

Durga’s Skandamata form:

Skandamata_Sanghasri_2010_Arnab_Dutta (1)

One of Durga’s most popularized forms:

For more on Durga and the different iterations that are celebrated in Hinduism