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Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Further Black Rock Shooter Musings

(Forewarning: This is a pretty damn long post.)

Black Rock Shooter: The Game, is absolutely fantastic. In short, it's got a plot that's not overly contrived, yet not overly simplistic. Character interactions are quite a pleasure to view. While the characters don't recieve a Metal Gear Solid-esque expos. or introduction, they're still very interesting, very likeable characters. The villains are especially interesting because of how different each of their encounter plays out. The gameplay itself is also a blast. It's more of an action game than an RPG, requiring a good amount of reflexes to time your shots and dodge accordingly. But it's not like you just shoot everything: all enemies require different types of strategies, and it's when they come at you in certain combinations that a working knowledge of how the combat system works really comes in handy. When you get the hang of the combat system, fights look very impressive, even without the usage of flashy skills. There's actually not much about the game that I disliked, save for a few things: One: There are quite a few forced encounters. It's not so bad in this game since combat is extremely fun, but when you're trying to move things along, it becomes a problem. Two: You have to actually unlock most challenges before clearing them. At times, it proves to be a waste of time and effort. Three: There is a certain character that is a total pain in the ass. I fail to see any appeal in her character. Period. Other than that, the game is an absolute blast, and I'd highly reccomend it to anyone with a PSP/Vita.

Between this and the OAV and TV series, I think this was the best adaptation.
I really do like the metaphoric approach the OAV and TV series went for, but the two variably suffer from how disjointed and/or messy the storytelling is. The OAV features draws a parallel between a young girl's struggles with acclimating to a new school and mainting friendships, and a wanderer who traverses a mysterious world and engages in mortal combat with a belligerent foe. While absolutely fascinating, the experience sometimes feels off due to the dissonance between the slower "real world" parts and the exciting action that are "otherworldly" parts. Eventually, you're supposed to get how the two are linked, but odds are, by then you've already resigned yourself to "bearing the slow girly parts just to get to the cool action scenes". It's a shame because the OAV is artistic and cool, much like anything related to the BRS concept tends to be, but suffers a bit because the Black Rock Shooter half doesn't get as much attention as it should much like the Transformers in Micheal Bay's Transformers movies. Is the OAV bad? No way! It's a very solid film. But could it be better? Definitely.

Did the TV series make it better? Definitely not. The TV series expands on the concept presented in the OAV: That the "other world" and its inhabitants are a representation of the struggling psyches of young girls. Lack of male presence aside, the problem the TV series has is that it tries to bridge the gap between the two planes, but creates a bit of a mess in doing so. Sure, the awesome fight scenes are now justified a bit better, but that's not really saying much. Some of the things that happen just boil down to "pointless drama", making the "real world" segments sometimes unbearable; sadly the "real world" segments make up most of the plot. On it's own, BRS:TV is a decent psychological thriller that features characters from the Black Rock Shooter universe. It's not bad, in fact the development of some of the characters is quite fascinating, if not a little unnverving. Also, the visuals of the "other world" fights are very impressive, almost more so than the OAV's. But I find that a lot of the good points of the show are hampered by how awkward the show can be at times. Like Street Fighter II V, sometimes you forget what the title has to do with the show itself.

What makes BRS: The Game stand out from the other two adaptations is that it's a much more solid, more natural experience. While simpler, the game's story is executed in a much better fashion: There's no jumping back and forth between each world, there's no trying to shoehorn in the existence of the Black Rock Shooter characters, and there's no crazy wenches trying to out-crazy each other. Black Rock Shooter: The Game doesn't go out of it's way to be entertaining, nor does it try to be overly metaphoric or philisophical. But it doesn't have to, and that's what I like about it: It's just naturally fun. Every encounter has a purpose, and never fails to be entertaining, and it's memorable scenes like that that make up a great story. Most importantly, BRS: The Game gives the titular character a broad range of emotions and makes her into a fascinating and likeable character, something that the other two adaptations didn't really do.

On that note, the fact that "BRS: The Game" is actually about "Black Rock Shooter" amazes me. It sounds ridiculous, but when you consider how the OAV and TV series are really more about Mato and her school mates, it makes you wonder why the show's even called "Black Rock Shooter". The TV series is especially bad about this, since the titular character spent most of her appearances literally getting beaten half to death. (And it's a damn shame because I really liked her design in this version.)

Really, it really bugged me that TV!BRS spent more time losing fights than she did winning them. The only fight she had the upper hand in? The one where she fought against herself. TV!BRS can't even beat herself. ._.

All in all, the OAV and TV series, aren't bad, in fact the OAV still remains a personal favorite, but I have to say, BRS: The Game has truly blown me away with what it's done with the Black Rock Shooter character, and as a standalone game. I have not had this much fun with a game in a very long time.

I liked the game so much that I went and bought myself the ultra-expensive and difficult-to-find figma. (Because Stella = new favoritest character ever.) Alas, it has set me back quite a bit and now I must toil away at my place of employment 'lest I not have enough to pay the bills or get Project x Zone!

And so, I bid you adieu.

1 comment:

  1. You are no longer allowed to write reviews, or essays, or whatever the hell this is, when it is 3AM and you are sleep deprived.