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Sleeping on exemplary narrative: 13 Sentinels & Disco Elysium

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With so-called "AAA titles", be it games or movies, publishers like to force template, formulaic stories that have same expected feedback from the widest audience possible. Not having experience outside such "products" leads to lacking context to perceive the full depth of big-budget mainstream narrative laziness such as the 2020's game-journo's "golden calf".


Which is why it is a gaming crime for AJSA to stay blind to true masterpieces such as "13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim" (2D side-scrolling animated VN + 3D tower-defence RTS) and "Disco Elysium / No truce with the furies" (point & click adventure cRPG).
* Best narrative of 2019 and 2020 (technically, 13S also released in 2019 but without even subtitle translation).
* Both are centred around existential horror and nature of consciousness.
* Both have highly stylized art.
* One is upbeat & optimistic and the other is mellow, dreary yet colourful and filled with dark humour.
* 13S music is top-level, just as its handling of 2D art-design, DE is likely high-grade too but I'm not familiar enough to say.
* 13S is unmarketable because every scene and dialogue is a spoiler to some story-line, even battle-damage quips.
* 13S heavily references famous works of fictions all throughout 20th century: literature, VNs, anime and films such as Neon Genesis Evangelion, Steins;Gate, Madoka Magica, Ghost in the Shell (first 2 movies and SAC), All you need is kill / Edge of Tomorrow, Pacific Rim, Star Wars, WALL•E, Men in Black, Terminator 1/2/3, Total Recall, Sixth Day (unfortunately), WarGames, fiction of Arthur Clarke, H. G. Wells, Isaac Asimov.
* As usual, 13S difficulty modes "Casual / Normal / Intense" should be more aptly called "No Effort / Casual / Normal" but in DE every non-critical failure is a legitimate story-telling branch which you may even want.

Can Joe wake up to justice, despite being a man that have deliberately skipped Part 2 of JoJo (the best one, with Part 4 following it) ?

Ah, and there are at least 3 JoJo-references in 13S: to Parts 2, 3 and 4.

PS: Similar things could be said about 2017's Nier: Automata, except that it has some annoying technical hurdles (you better restart it every 3 hours or so), gameplay balancing deficiencies ("normal" difficulty is casual and "high" is slapped-together post-game nonsense) and uses few anti-scientific sci-fi stereotypes about consciousness (Sixth Day-style). It is also unmarketable and best played raw, without even watching trailers and start-screen cinematic, let alone reviews. Best music of the decade though.


Disco Elysium_poster_LQ.jpg

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Yeah Joe tends to unfortunately sleep on these games & mostly favors the big names, which is unfortunate because lesser-known titles like these are a giant win for these devs who worked so damn hard on them & they deserve to be covered more. Which is why I tend to do reviews for them in the written reviews section. Well except 13 Sentinels since as much as I LOVE the story & how complicated things get, and the music is definitely one of the best soundtrack of 2020, so much so that I did a mix with Tekken 6's scenario mode music for the first stage's song which fun fact, was also made by the same composer which explains why it fits so well

outside the 13 characters backstory exploration that makes up for 70% of the game, the actual game's mostly just doing real time tower defense from beginning till the end with a simplistic overview of the battlefield. That game definitely could do with some epic 2D hand drawn sequence of the mechs doing those stuff in combat instead of just in the description of the moves, considering the previous games these dev made has THESE.


Here's another game in 2020 that should be more well known & actually will change the landscape for games to come 


And here's yet another really damn good 2019 game that got slept on, and my personal joint 2019 GOTY. Next to Judgment.


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