Tasakeru

BHS Blogress Report: 2017, Week 27 – Underrated and Overhated

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Week 27 – Underrated and Overhated

I’m making decent progress on the next chapter of Shattered Skies. More about Dead End and what exactly Joker is doing with his hostages will be revealed in this chapter, so look forward to it. I also feel the music bug itching at me again, so I may try composing another piece for the Tasakeru soundtrack.

In between writing, petsitting jobs, and diving further into Kamen Rider, I’m putting some more time into gaming this week. I’ve been putting my new PS4 through its paces, this past weekend especially. I preordered Crash Bandicoot The N. Sane Trilogy, and I’ve made the lovely discovery that those games were (and are) friggin’ merciless. Since I never had a PS1 as a kid, I missed out on the Crash series for the most part, though I always have liked the characters. Well, one character. Coco. Her being playable in all three of the remastered games in the trilogy convinced me to give it a shot… and, well, I’ve always prided myself on being excellent at platformers, but CB1 is giving me a hell of a rough time. And I understand that these games were even harder originally? Good lord. So I made these…

The real reason I bought a PS4 comes out at the end of the week, though. At least, I assume it does… there’s some troubling uncertainty in regards to the US release date, and so far my efforts to clarify it have met with complete failure. I just need to hope that it shows up on PSN on time.

Now brace yourselves, readers, for this may come as a shock, but… I’m buying Accel World vs. Sword Art Online.

I can hear some of you gasping and/or vomiting, you can stop now. Please allow me to explain.

Despite its current position as the #1 anime that everyone loves to rag on, and despite its enormous and disproportionate hatedom, I like the SAO series. Does it have problems? Oh yes, absolutely, it’s got a mountain of flaws any way you look at it. Even at my most charitable, I wouldn’t call it a masterpiece… but it’s hardly the rancid crime against humanity that the average anime fan says it is.

If you take the time to actually watch SAO for yourself instead of obeying the whims of the kneejerk lynch mob that is modern fandom, there are things that it does well. The music is by the divine Yuki Kajiura, for one. The animation is gorgeous. And Kirito, far from being the insufferable chick-magnet God Mode Sue that his reputation would suggest, actually has depth to his character that’s not apparent at first. Maybe I’ll lose a few internet brownie points for saying it, but when it comes to bad anime, SAO isn’t anywhere near the bottom of the barrel.

Besides. Most of the SAO video games so far have been well worth purchasing even if you don’t like the series. They’re single-player RPGs with tons of content and replay value, how is that a bad thing?

And as the title suggests, SAO is only half of this game. The other half comes from its sister series Accel World, which makes up the “underrated” part of this week’s Report title. It’s really unfair that SAO is both so popular and so detested, because A) AW has always struggled to find an audience despite having a much better story and characters, and B) the hatedom automatically assumes that any flaws SAO has must be present in Reki Kawahara’s other works as well. Because he’s a loathsome irredeemable sexist pervert hack and anything he touches is trash, many would claim.

I wish the people saying stuff like that would bother to check out Accel World. The protagonist is Kirito’s near-total opposite, a chubby, unpopular loser who’s a legend in the game but a nobody in the real world. The main love interest is badass, confident, shrewd, in total command of her relationship with the hero, a brilliant tactician, and unquestionably the coolest character in the series. The plot  has way more depth than just “try to win the game”. And the villain, if you go into the series past the point where the anime ended… hoo boy, the villain is a trip and a half. As I said, AW is sorely underrated and underrepresented, despite the fact that it’s generally better all around and even occupies the same universe as SAO (albeit 40 years later). This game will mark the first meeting of the two series outside of a non-canon light novel chapter and appearances in other crossovers, and with a roster of 48 playable characters (!!!) from both series (and no, playing as Kirito is NOT required), it’s got pretty much everyone represented. The free flight mechanics from SAO: Lost Song have returned (for the SAO-verse characters and at least two of the AWers, that is), the combat system has been tweaked and improved, there’s PVP and co-op multiplayer… forgive me if I sound like a commercial, but I see very little downside here. I’m damn well looking forward to Friday, and I hope at least some of you will watch when I stream gameplay.

– BHS

 

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