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apignarb

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The Girl of Glass: A Summer Bird’s Tale

Total Posts: 58

Joined 2019-05-03

PM

Just finished a first playthrough. Might have to do another one ... one day. This is one of those games that I don’t have an “easy” opinion about. Geneforge 5 is a fantastic RPG; despite the bad visuals it’s completely awesome and all fans of the genre should play it. There, done, but for this one here I feel I’d need an essay to cover all my thoughts about it ...

Which I don’t quite have the nerve for right now, but maybe let’s get some main points out there. That’ll take long enough as is.

Some spoilers ahead; obviously. ^^

First things first: there were one or two glitches but no real gamestopping bugs, crashes, anything like that. Two save slots only ... why? I guess once again devs decide it’s still 1990 and we need to save space on SNES cartridges. But whatever; as long as the game runs fine.

The visuals are great, sometimes even amazing; particularly the backgrounds. Characters aren’t quite as good, but still pretty neat. Also the (few) extra animations (like the acrobatic refrigerator jump) were very nicely done.

Voice acting I think was only ever the narrator and I don’t really like that sort of narrative frame to a story, but it helped keep the game interesting. Too many repetitive lines though with no option to have text instantly appear when trying stuff with items.

That being said the few item/inventory puzzle were almost an insult. The main difficulty was finding everything (stupid flag post), and that in 2020 there’d still be a adventure game without the option to show interaction hotspots kinda boggles my mind. So that adds a bit of tedium, but as you usually only got one, maybe 2 items, and often the narrator keeps you from walking to different screens anyway, it’s not like you can do much wrong.

The tedium of progressing early on, where you basically get 1 item for 1 character and do 1 thing with it only for the next character to demand 1 item to do 1 thing with it so you can go to the next character ... was quite bad, especially since everything’s kinda slow (no insta screen switches, no insta text, relatively slow walking and running speeds). I’m glad I stuck with it but the opening gameplay was pretty weak.

To my surprise it turns out the main puzzle is actually the combat system. In retrospect that just makes sense, but it’s really not comparable to an RPG (although they too sorta work like this of course) but mostly a turn-based puzzle of getting the correct elements together.
Some combat sequences were way too long which was annoying when I had to retry them - I’d say that’s because part of what should have been a cut scene was just turned into combat rounds that you then can’t skip; bad decision.
But overall it wasn’t too bad and I managed to play through it on Medium / 2 stars. Wasn’t too clever about it either; I kept forgetting which elements were good against which. Still, 3 stars gotta be a serious challenge.

Now, the story ... the story just baffles me, frankly. You got a lot of typical “young adult” stuff, sometimes even juvenile humor - eewww, poop! - but then themes like child-abuse and homophobic violence?! And it’s some sort of ‘romantic adventure’ - kind of subverted, but then at the end, actually not ... because? Why? What? And the stories for the characters always followed that traditional “you just have to understand them and then you’ll see they aren’t actually that bad, it’s just a misunderstanding” trope, which seems a bit misplaced compared to how grounded some of the other stuff was. And then, heck, the end I got concluded with a joke about how cheesy the happy end was.
Which seems just inappropriate to me?

Now, you could say; that befuddlement is good, because that’s a big part of why I played through it in the first place. I just wanted to understand what the heck was going on.

But at the same time I feel it didn’t really work for me. For my personal taste I’d probably have gone entirely with the surreal dream world as a fantasy work; you know, do a Murakami style magical realism thing. This switching back and forth kinda felt just disjointed (which with those themes and the tone and so on was a problem already anyway).

Well, in conclusion, it was worth playing through, and I’ll probably try a few different choices at some point, and opening the box in the toilet where I was too late with getting the code and the game didn’t allow me back in ^^ ... and I’ll applaud the game for being quite different, but also I can’t really say I’m super excited about it. Mostly torn, I guess Wink

     

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