It’s the cold, bitter truth: 2016 was a shitty year for everyone, so much so that it’s going to be one second longer than it ought to be. We were all scrambling for whatever bits and pieces of Fun and Happy that we could find to keep us afloat, and thankfully? Some fantastic, geeky things DID roll out this year. There’s has also always been a lot of stuff from ages past to fall back on when you need to. Some members of Girls Got Game would like to share their love.
KB WITH “ACE ATTORNEY: SPIRIT OF JUSTICE”
Ace Attorney is a game that has the hearts of many people, including my own. I remember playing the very first game on the DS after having heard about it online and I was instantly hooked onto it. From the storytelling to the characters and the nail-biting drama, I loved every single second that I got to play the game.
No surprise then, when Ace Attorney 6 (or as officially called: Ace Attorney: Spirit of Justice) came out I bought it the moment it came out of the Nintendo eshop. Dual Destines had been a great return after the long hiatus after Apollo Justice and I was eager to be able to see what was going to happen next in the lives of Phoenix and his pals.
A new adventure awaits the lawyers of Wright Anything Agency in a foreign land.
And boy, what a ride it was. From being the underdog of the main cast Apollo really came through in this game and became a really great character from a good one, especially in that doozy of a last case. Because man, that last case. It was probably the longest and most intense case in the series yet but it was just so damn good and I’m totally going to replay it at some point once I’m no longer consumed by all the other games I’m playing right now (looking at you, Final Fantasy 15.)
But also besides that, there were so many awesome things in this entry as well. The new people in this game was great (props to the most hilarious name for me thus far with Inga Karkhuul Khura’in’s full name). All the cases were super fun to play. Maya finally returns all grown up, Edgeworth and Phoenix are most probably actually married by now (or at least very close BFFs), Athena and Simon even get to do a case together which even though it was filler, was still a very fun and amusing case to play through.
Most importantly though, let’s not forget the return of the one and only LARRY BUTZ.
When something smells, it’s usually the Butz.
…granted, he’s only in the DLC, but still. What an amazing return to a beloved character.
I don’t want to ramble too much about this game since I know not everyone has played it and I don’t want to spoil too much, but all you need to know is that I gunned through this game in about five days, from the very first day I got it. That’s one day for each case, and of course another when the DLC came out. I had so much fun playing this game that I could only really put my 3DS down when I finally finished each case. It was just that intense and amazing.
Just. Yes. If you’re an Ace Attorney fan and are still waffling on if you should play this, do so. You will not regret it.
KIMI WITH “MYSTIC MESSENGER”
Mystic Messenger is a female orientated visual novel that hits all the right notes for me. The plethora of attractive characters ready to romance you, the branching routes and beautifully drawn CGs to hook you in and a compelling story that has depth and nuance to make you do more than one run of the game. It was another hit for South Korean game studio Cheritz, who followed their hit Dandelion -Wishes brought to you- with another heavy hitter.
But where Mystic Messenger differs is how more involved it was than simply scrolling through passages of text with the occasional choice. Without giving too much away, in the real world you download the Mystic Messenger app to your smartphone. Once you load it up, it suddenly transforms into the exclusive messaging app for the RFA, the in game association upon which most of the plot is centered around.
While there were still long passes of text to get through, it was presented as chatroom conversations that happened in real time. Yes, chats happen at midnight, at noon and at three in the afternoon. It was a pain for the completionist in me, but it made me feel like there was a world functioning and happening regardless of my involvement in it. The world of Mystic Messenger didn’t suddenly stop because I didn’t load the app up. I’d get a notification that a chat was happening as I’d go about my day, and if I was lucky I’d catch it. It sounds tedious I know, but there was something oddly compelling about it.
I shouldn’t have been hooked.
I was hooked.
The game focuses on five characters: the mysterous and troll-y hacker 707, the successful businessman and cat obsessed Jumin Han, the up and coming charismatic actor ZEN, the innocent college e-sports gamer Yoosung and Jumin’s chronically underpaid PA Jaehee Kang.
Initially it would be a free for all in the chatroom with the odd text message and call through the app, but as I grew closer to everyone the text messages and calls that augmented the chatroom logs became more intimate. ZEN revealed more of his life before the stage to me. Yoosung considered life outside gaming. Jaehee became less reserved and felt like she was able to cut loose with me. Jumin revealed his inner thoughts and his neuroses that he hides as a businessman. 707 is in many senses the poster character for the game, as his route reveals many of the mysteries as to why the chat and RFA exists in the first place.
It’s unapologetically a classic female orientated romance visual novel with some new twists such as integrating into how we use smartphones to being able to romance a female makes this the perfect cocktail of escapist romantic fantasy. The fact that it uses a freemium model was of little concern to me when it became apparent that this wasn’t just scrolling through text and that Cheritz were super responsive to the fans.
I threw money at the microtransactions in game despite despising the practise usually. I would see and hear their characters changing as we fell in love through my phone and that meant a lot to me, in this year of 2016 (aka shit). It was like having a long distance relationship in some senses. The characters felt so fully realised, revealing different sides of themselves in every route. It was funny, it was charming, it was cute and occasionally it was spicy. And sometimes that’s what we need – to be doted on by hot guys (and an uber cute chick).
For those of you who haven’t downloaded the app, it’s free and can be played without spending any money but at the whims of time. Those who would like to spend money are able to replay chats at their leisure by purchasing the in game currency. Either way, I am an ardent believer in supporting the studios that make the effort to bring visual novels to us English. Just by downloading the app, I’ve already shown my support.
For those of you who have downloaded the app, let’s feast on our honey butter chips and Dr Pepper!
LEE HACKS IN WITH “WATCH_DOGS 2”
Few games faced diversity head on this year, more notably AAA games – which are even rarer. Ubisoft brings Watchdogs 2 to the table with a black protagonist, one amongst a cast of other flavors of diversity.
He’s absolutely adorable. I’ll kick anyone’s ass for him. I’d kick my own ass.
Marcus (played by the gorgeously talented Ruffin Prentiss) has proven to be very personable and enjoyable to play; between playful quips with the other cast and his own interactions with Watchdog’s San Francisco. It helps that these interactions often address the experiences black people encounter on a daily basis that is so often overlooked when games attempt to tackle race in America. While other articles have tackled this more succinctly, it is not the only reason it’s won me over.
The cast includes a transgender character and is given a less intrusive introduction to that aspect of their character, than a certain Tevinter soldier. Miranda is a councilwoman, who occasionally assists Dedsec in some of their operations when dealing with the corruption in the local government.
Josh’s VA, Jonathan Dubsky, diligently researched and actively contributed heavily to discussion where Josh’s autism was involved. While the writing is very subjective, most fans agree that it is the peripheral characterisation that brings what could have been a tired stereotype to positive light; Josh is treated as a capable, independent character, and accepted without qualm.
Subtitle says it all.
Of course, I would be remiss in mentioning my favourite character, Wrench.
Tall, spiky and mysterious.
Little is revealed about Wrench, past his boisterous personality. He has plentiful interaction with Marcus, so you’ll be able to enjoy his company as often as I have throughout the game. It’s difficult to dislike Wrench, as Marcus himself becomes fast friends with him, and their interactions are some of the most heartwarming moments in the game.
The narrative of Watch_Dogs 2 is ultimately empowering. Being a disenfranchised citizen of San Fransisco, you work with Dedsec and address the corruption that has taken root in San Francisco’s large corporations, all the way to their local government. Figureheads of the corruption end up being hoist by their own petard, with help from your crew – and boy, is it satisfying.
This is Dusan. You learn to hate him very quickly.
If you haven’t already gotten it this Christmas, consider it a good investment for the New Year. I personally found it one of the most positive and best experiences I’ve had, in the absolute shit-mire that was 2016.