Subnautica: Breaking the (Surface) Tension

I messed up yet again with the approach to writing these things. The last article on Atelier Ayesha ended up being a full on review and discussion, as well as a look at the series overall. I approached writing this article about Subnautica as much the same approach. Unfortunately, I wanted to write the article to cover just one aspect of the game and the two times in which it broke in a more casual approach, but instead I got sucked into trying to write a full thing.

As such, it started to get bogged down and I lost interest. I was struggling to write the damn thing because I was struggling to get through the filler to the meat of what I wanted to talk about. So enough of that: I’m scratching that off, cutting a bunch of this article off, and getting right back into the topic I wanted to tackle. Let’s start from there!

Pretty much every game I’ve played so far in 2019 has come about as a result of what I’ve come to think of as The Eternal Search. I outlined what that entails a few posts ago, but I’m going to relink it here for posterity. A number of games with heavy aspects of resource gathering, management, crafting and survival were sampled as a result ever since, and Subnautica is among those.

I won’t go any further into the overarching stuff than what’s in the post, so I encourage you to give it a read if you haven’t yet to see what I mean. Don’t worry, this post will still be here when you’re done. I’ll wait.

All caught up? Awesome. Let’s dive right in then.

Continue reading “Subnautica: Breaking the (Surface) Tension”

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Atelier Ayesha Review/Discussion: Atelier Hwhat, Bobby

An atelier is a workshop usually associated with artists or designers. Just putting that there for reference, because I’ve had to define it for at least one person before. Got it? Good.

The Atelier series is a long-running development project and the primary flagship series of Gust, one of the more prolific and constant mid-tier JRPG developers. The core concept behind them is that of alchemy; you gather materials either through exploration or combat, use that to craft items, and then utilise these in battles or for quests and such. While many RPGs contain some kind of crafting or material system as a secondary feature, the Atelier series focuses on it as the primary strength, with everything else being secondary.

With this slightly difference focus, one may wonder: just who is this kind of game for? It’s a question a friend has, in fact, asked off-handedly before. Atelier games lack or have reduced focus on the usual strengths and highlights of the more notable JRPGs; the battles are more about what you bring into them than how you execute strategies with the party on hand. The stories and characters don’t tend to stand out among the bigwigs of Persona or Legend of Heroes, often leaning to fairly plain designs and personalities highlighted from a stock standard list of anime tropes.

Yet the games continue to be made and continue to maintain a decent following. So it was that, during my never ending search, I dug up an Atelier game or two that I had picked it up mostly out of curiosity at the time but had never fully invested myself in: Atelier Ayesha most notably. I started it pretty much the moment the new year began, and then finished it in rapid succession, making it the first game I played to completion in 2019. Now I have quite a few thoughts about both Ayesha, and the series as a whole.

So who is this game for? Turns out it might just be me.

Continue reading “Atelier Ayesha Review/Discussion: Atelier Hwhat, Bobby”