My VG Music Picks #81 – Re-awake (Steins;Gate 0)

WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Steins;Gate 0

When it comes to the two Steins;Gate titles, I don’t find either of their soundtracks to be particularly amazing. They’re perfectly fine and atmospheric but not the kind that I could find myself listening to over and over again, with the exception of a few tracks. I’ve written about my favourite music piece from the first game before, so it’s only fitting that I do the same for my favourite piece from Steins;Gate 0. Continue reading

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Steins;Gate 0 – No, Seriously, Don’t Invent Time Travel

WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Steins;Gate

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When I finished playing Steins;Gate back in 2015, I found myself in that state of mind where, even though everything was neatly wrapped up, I was hungry for more from its world and characters. Even if it was an entire story just about the characters living their lives, I wasn’t quite ready to say goodbye yet. Fortunately, there was an anime adaptation to throw myself into and a movie that acted as an epilogue of sorts (both of which I loved). But then I found out that a full-on sequel was coming to Japan very soon and would be out in the West the following year… and I had no interest in playing it.

“But you just said you wanted more Steins;Gate!” you cry. True, but Steins;Gate 0 isn’t a sequel in the traditional sense, instead continuing the story in an alternate “bad” timeline. Considering how much I loved the first game’s ending, I was worried that the sequel could potentially undo how perfect it was. Plus, I didn’t want to see more bad things happen to the characters after they got their happy endings, so I skipped it.

Cut to 2018 and the anime adaptation began to air on Crunchyroll. I had an account at the time and when the first episode went up, I thought “Eh, why not? I’ll give it a shot.” And sure enough, I got completely sucked in. I’m not sure what it was but it did enough to make me see it through to the end, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. But even I could tell that certain elements had been changed or removed in order to fit the narrative in an anime format (I even saw some comments complaining about how certain scenes were cut). Curious, I decided to play the game myself and go through the full unaltered experience of Steins;Gate 0 myself. Continue reading

My VG Music Picks #58 – Trapped By the Ocean Scent (Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair)

WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair

Much like the last Danganronpa track I wrote about, I’m referring to this one by its name in the iTunes release. Unlike that track, though, there’s nothing remotely entertaining about this one. This is a piece of music that exists solely to fill you with dread. Continue reading

Zero Time Dilemma – It All Began With a Snail

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In another timeline, this game does not exist. Due to the poor sales of Virtue’s Last Reward (which I wrote a review of previously), the third entry in the Zero Escape series was pretty much dead in the water. The odds of it ever being made were virtually nonexistent. Fortunately, this is not that timeline and thanks to outcry and support from a dedicated fan-base, director Kotaro Uchikoshi was able to bring this project to life and properly conclude the series.

This was one of my most anticipated games of 2016, but I held off playing it due to hearing rumours of a re-release of the first two games being made. Those rumours were true but I wasn’t able to actually play it until late 2017 when the Vita version finally got released in the EU. With those games under my belt, I immediately went into Zero Time Dilemma with high expectations and plenty of concerns. While reviews for the game were mostly positive, there were still a tonne of fans that outright hated it, even claiming it retroactively ruins the entire series. And after playing it… well, it left enough of an impression to make me write this review.

So is Zero Time Dilemma the worthy conclusion it was hyped up to be? Or would it have been best if it never existed at all? Continue reading

Favourite Moments in Fiction #10 – D-Team’s Force Quit Scene (Zero Time Dilemma)

WARNING: The following article contains spoiler for Zero Time Dilemma

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If you played Zero Time Dilemma, you already know what I’m talking about and why I enjoy this scene. Granted, it is stupidly cheesy but even though I’ve only experienced the game very recently, it instantly wormed its way into a special place in my heart.

First, some context (not all the context, though, because we’d be here for much longer otherwise). The Force Quit Box – which can be used to end the Decision Game that the main cast have been forced to play – has been opened thanks to the efforts of C-Team and Q-Team. All that’s left is to activate it, which falls to D-Team – Diana, Sigma and Phi. But the box needs two specific items placed in it to do so, with the only clue to what they are being “Each is a mother’s memento.” Now, if you’ve not played the game, this is where it gets weird. Continue reading

Favourite Moments in Fiction #7 – Makoto Defeats the Mastermind (Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc)

WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc

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Sometimes a final battle doesn’t need cool explosions. Sometimes a final battle doesn’t need a clashing of blades. Sometimes a final battle doesn’t even need any sort of violence. Sometimes, a final battle can be not one of weaponry or strength, but one of words. Case in the point – the ending of the final class trial in the first Danganronpa game. Continue reading

Danganronpa – The Saga of Hope’s Peak Academy (Series Retrospective)

WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for the entire Danganronpa series

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Where do I even begin describing something like Danganronpa? What even is a Danganronpa? It almost sounds like a word a one year old would make up (real talk, though, it’s actually a portmanteau of the Japanese words ‘dangan’ and ‘ronpa,’ which mean ‘bullet’ and ‘refute’ respectively. It’ll make sense later).

Bizarre names aside, though, this strange series has really made a name for itself since the first game’s initial release in 2010. Back then, it was a Japan-only PSP title that only a small handful of Western fans soon learned about. Cut to 2014 and someone, somewhere, decided that the rest of the world should be made privy to the lives of the Super High-School Level Students of Hope’s Peak Academy. And it paid off in a big way.

Following the first game’s re-release on the Vita, Danganronpa has slowly but surely become notably more well-known. While by no means a household name, it still developed a surge in popularity. Originally just two games on the PSP (a console most people don’t even acknowledge anymore), the series now consists of seven games, several re-releases, two anime series, novels and a tonne of manga (seriously, there is a lot of it).

I found myself checking the first game out almost on a whim, and ended up falling in love with it and desperate for more. It’s since quickly become possibly one of my favourite series, so (with the next game in the series arriving later this month) I’ve decided to write up a personal retrospective about my experiences with it and why I love this franchise all about the ongoing struggle between hope and despair. Continue reading