Team YoruSoi

An LGBTQ friendly forum for Bleach fans.
 
HomeHome  CalendarCalendar  FAQFAQ  SearchSearch  MemberlistMemberlist  UsergroupsUsergroups  RegisterRegister  Log in  

Share | 
 

 Valkyria Chronicles - On Tonal Dissonance

View previous topic View next topic Go down 
AuthorMessage
SoldierG65434-2
H-H-Hacker
H-H-Hacker
avatar

Posts : 1149
Join date : 2010-05-06
Location : Citadel Station

PostSubject: Valkyria Chronicles - On Tonal Dissonance    Fri Feb 18, 2011 11:25 pm

[I would like to point out that I am quite enjoying the nuts-and-bolts of this game's troop management and combat. I’ve just gotten to Chapter 7 and I’m enjoying the mechanics enough that I play the skirmishes so that I have enough money for all the R & D available to me at one time and so I have spare EXP for leveling. This essay is about everything else in the game.]

There is something incredibly perverse about the way Valkyria Chronicles presents itself.

I’m not talking just about its anime art style (though I would be lying if I said that wasn’t part of the problem). Everything from its color pallet to the dialogue to the way the characters act strikes me as wholly unnerving at times.

Valkyria Chronicles is, at its core, a game about war. There are carbines and machine guns and tanks and rifles and grenades and mines and mortars. But despite all the military hardware, the conflicts in Valkyria Chronicles do not feel like war at all.

From the first cut scene, there was already a problem with tone. The environments are all pastel and cell shaded and, despite the fact that it’s made quite clear that there’s “a war on,” none of the civilian population seem that worried about it. Then, the main character of the game gets a gun pulled on him…by a girl in a mini-skirt.

At first, I was willing to chalk up the thigh-highs and mini-skirt Alica wears as a matter of personal taste. She was the head of the town watch, so she could probably dress herself. However, when it came time to form my own squad, I found that a fair number of the women have similar sensibilities.

Not only do a fair number of the women dress in a similar fashion, but they almost all have perfectly styled hair (and to be fair, a few of the men do as well) and there’s even a scout that goes into combat wearing big hoop earrings. But more ridiculous is the fact that none of them are wearing helmets. Not a single one thought it was a good idea to but some metal between their brains and the incoming flying bits of metal.

Now, I’ve long since come to terms with the hero(s) not wearing head gear. You need to be able to tell them apart from the rest and read their expressions. But with the exception of Alica and Welkin (Largo and Rosie don’t count, they are just suddenly and inexplicably important for no reason), everyone else are throw away soldiers fulfilling a role. Except Catharine O’Hara. I really like Catharine.

But the game doesn’t want you to think of the members of Squad 7. The game goes to great lengths in trying to humanize the characters. There’s a lot of regretful talk of “before the war” and waxing poetically about “after the war,” and there are even people who are prejudice against a group of women who cut their hair a certain way. But all the efforts at humanizing these soldiers are wasted because there’s no dehumanizing happening.

The Imperial soldiers you are fighting might as well be robots. Unlike your soldiers, they all have large metal helmets that cover the entirety of their faces. They also don’t talk or make any other noise. And when one of them is killed, your soldier does some type of triumphant fist pump and spouts some one-liner. Not like they just ended another human’s life, but scored a point.
But I suppose that point scoring mentality in appropriate, because the battles feel like a game. Grenades and mortars explode in blue domes and leave no craters. Bullets have no visual effect on anyone. Tanks seem to have been designed by Nikola Tesla on absinthe because they have the huge, blue, glowing weak spots on them and are felled by rocket-lances.

Valkyria Chronicles strikes me as a game that let its art style lead it by the nose. There’s not written law that says that anime can’t portray the horrors of war, or that ever war game need buckets of blood and limbs. But there are just so many things about the game world that are so overtly influenced by the way the game looks that it creates a fair amount of cognitive dissonance.

You can’t tell a story about how horrible war is when the war in question doesn’t seem all that bad.

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________
We think we know your secret. But it's safe with us.
Co-Administrator
Fanfiction.net - Ficlets - My fic commentaires - Tumblr
Back to top Go down
View user profile
CaptainYoruichi
CaptainYoruichi Level
CaptainYoruichi Level
avatar

Posts : 1264
Join date : 2010-05-06
Age : 35
Location : Nerd Palace

PostSubject: Re: Valkyria Chronicles - On Tonal Dissonance    Sun Mar 06, 2011 2:13 pm

Yeah, I don't remember why the other army is even invading. Is it because of the blue stuff? I think that's what it was.

What throws me off is the way the dialogue is current. That dude in the garage who keeps calling me "bro," for example. Given the way that the guns and tanks seem like they are from a much earlier time, it's weird to see words and phrases from more recent times, even if it is a fantasy game.

But on the other hand, I like how they aren't prudes about sexuality. I love having obviously gay or bi characters. Jann is awesome.
Back to top Go down
View user profile http://teamyorusoi.forumotion.com
SoldierG65434-2
H-H-Hacker
H-H-Hacker
avatar

Posts : 1149
Join date : 2010-05-06
Location : Citadel Station

PostSubject: Re: Valkyria Chronicles - On Tonal Dissonance    Sun Mar 06, 2011 2:47 pm

CaptainYoruichi wrote:
But on the other hand, I like how they aren't prudes about sexuality. I love having obviously gay or bi characters. Jann is awesome.
Yeah, I was impressed to see 2 unambiguously gay characters in the game...until I tried to use them. I can't speak for Jann's (just to show you how shit my TV is, I though his name was Lann) stats, but I selected him to be in the squad, heard his voice, and booted him. Yeah, he's gay, but that doesn't mean he need that stereotypical camp voice that all gay men seem to have in everything.

Dallas was much better at first. Talked and acted like not a stereotypical lesbian. Then her "Like Women" potential kicked in and she said something incredibly creepy ("It'll be our own secret garden" or something to that effect). The only reason I'm using her now is because of fucking Ramesy (seriously, do not use her).

So yea, kudos on not being afraid to include gay characters, but at the same time, they validated DADT with them, so goddammit.

Also, speaking of Tonal Dissonance, there's a chapter later on called "The Concentration Camp." Seriously, that's not cool.

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________
We think we know your secret. But it's safe with us.
Co-Administrator
Fanfiction.net - Ficlets - My fic commentaires - Tumblr
Back to top Go down
View user profile
Catlove
Ulquiorra Level
avatar

Posts : 226
Join date : 2010-05-08
Age : 30

PostSubject: Re: Valkyria Chronicles - On Tonal Dissonance    Sun Mar 06, 2011 5:18 pm

What makes me laugh about Jann is the fact that he's voiced by Joe DiMaggio (Bender, from Futurama) and he pretty much uses his Bender voice with a gay lisp. I find it endlessly comedic, for some reason. XD

I understand some of the points you're making... but others seem to be tropes that apply to war video games in general, and it doesn't seem fair to single out Valkyria Chronicles for them. For instance. For example:

The Imperial soldiers you are fighting might as well be robots. Unlike your soldiers, they all have large metal helmets that cover the entirety of their faces. They also don’t talk or make any other noise. And when one of them is killed, your soldier does some type of triumphant fist pump and spouts some one-liner. Not like they just ended another human’s life, but scored a point.
But I suppose that point scoring mentality in appropriate, because the battles feel like a game.


I'd be hard pressed to name 5 games that take place during a war, espeically in today's hyper-violent, FPS-loving gamer culture, that treats the soldiers/aliens/foliage you encounter on a stage as ANYTHING but points to score by inserting bullets into brains. The fact that they all wear helmets isn't meant to dehumanize the enemy, but because it shaves hours off the process of animating and programming enemies if they're uniform in appearance. Again, the majority of video games in this genre partake of it.


Other complaints you voice are mainly based upon your personal tastes in presentation, such as your knock against the anime-styled animation. Personally, I think it's an art-form, and gives it a unique look. VC is one of the most beautiful games I've played of the current generation, particularly because it subverts the "Realistic means everything is gray and brown" mentality.

I think where you're going wrong is forgetting that, gameplay conventions aside, Valkyria Chronicles is still a JRPG, and will play by the rules of a JRPG. War is hell, but this fact takes a back seat to characterization and personal drama. The characters have outlandish hair and outfits and don't wear helmets into battle because this is anime, and style comes before substance.

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Back to top Go down
View user profile
SoldierG65434-2
H-H-Hacker
H-H-Hacker
avatar

Posts : 1149
Join date : 2010-05-06
Location : Citadel Station

PostSubject: Re: Valkyria Chronicles - On Tonal Dissonance    Sun Mar 06, 2011 5:39 pm

Catlove wrote:
I'd be hard pressed to name 5 games that take place during a war, espeically in today's hyper-violent, FPS-loving gamer culture, that treats the soldiers/aliens/foliage you encounter on a stage as ANYTHING but points to score by inserting bullets into brains. The fact that they all wear helmets isn't meant to dehumanize the enemy, but because it shaves hours off the process of animating and programming enemies if they're uniform in appearance. Again, the majority of video games in this genre partake of it.
That's kind of my point, actually. For the most part, modern war games don't pretend that the enemies are anything but bullet sponges to be killed with extreme level of prejudice. Here, there are flashes of humanization, (the wounded soldier in the cottage, Jager fighting for his homeland's independence, the stuff in 15 with Silveria), but all that contrasts almost comically sharply against enemy soldiers that don't even so much as grunt when shot and your soldiers who strike a heroic pose and spout one-liners when they gun them down.

Catlove wrote:
Other complaints you voice are mainly based upon your personal tastes in presentation, such as your knock against the anime-styled animation. Personally, I think it's an art-form, and gives it a unique look. VC is one of the most beautiful games I've played of the current generation, particularly because it subverts the "Realistic means everything is gray and brown" mentality.
I'm sure there are animes out there that have portrayed war in at least a non-idyllic way. But I suppose a less dismissive way to make my point would be to take issue with the T rating. There have been war games, that I've like no less, that have been released with a T rating that have worked really well. Freedom Fighters comes to mind. It was an excellent game about guerrilla warefare that did need excessive violence becasue the Russian's were already portrayed as monsters. Making them bleed would have made them for sympathetic.

I just feel that overall VC presentation is diametrically opposed to it's core message, regardless of weather it looks nice.

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________
We think we know your secret. But it's safe with us.
Co-Administrator
Fanfiction.net - Ficlets - My fic commentaires - Tumblr
Back to top Go down
View user profile
Sponsored content




PostSubject: Re: Valkyria Chronicles - On Tonal Dissonance    

Back to top Go down
 
Valkyria Chronicles - On Tonal Dissonance
View previous topic View next topic Back to top 
Page 1 of 1
 Similar topics
-
» NaruHina Chronicles
» Osiris Chronicles [Video Series]
» [Guild] The Fantasica Chronicles 9 - The Savage Peaks [June 12th 2014 - June 19th 2014]
» The Martian Chronicles (1980)
» [RPG Event] The Lunar Chronicles - Phase I: New Moon [OOC]

Permissions in this forum:You cannot reply to topics in this forum
Team YoruSoi :: General :: Video Games-
Jump to: