"Simple and Clean" is a brilliantly catchy pop song. Accompanied by a visually stunning, sometimes trippy CG video, which smacks of both Disney and Square, it is preceded by protagonist Sora ruminating on the basic premise of the game. The video that ensues does an excellent job of setting up the key relationships in the game and giving us a taste of the plot to come. It may be more flash than substance, but its flash is extremely well done, and it leads directly into the first moment one takes control of Sora.
This one takes its place on comedic value alone. It deals with the gentrification of metal, the pervasive and commercial nature of pop music, the modern music scene's obsession with image over innovation, and still manages to be one of the funniest damn things ever burned to disc. The comedic high note comes, perhaps, when the game informs you that it intends to be both vulgar and violent, pausing to allow you to decide whether you're comfortable with its salty language and gory visuals. It's funny, satirical, and epic all in one.
Devil May Cry
Within five minutes of meeting Dante, Trish has knocked him around, impaled him on his own sword, and blasted him with infernal lightning. She tops off this assault by throwing her motorcycle at him. He responds by stopping it in mid-air, then launching it back at her, on fire, with a barrage of gunfire. He then stands up, pulls the sword from his chest, and decides to accompany her to an isolated island to combat the devil. It's absolutely absurd, but it sets the tone for the game to follow, and is our first taste of just what kind of character Dante will be.
We open in a cell in an asylum, a hooded man approaching a cowering wretch who believes him to be Tyrael, the angel of Justice. The wretch explains what has transpired to bring him to the asylum, his dreams and memories of demons and the wanderer, the hero from the first Diablo who jammed the monster's soul-stone into his own head in hopes of controlling it. But he failed, as evidenced when he stumbles into the tavern, barely able to hold his own sword, shuddering and twitching. The patrons jeer at him, until all hell literally breaks loose, demons bursting from the fireplace and rising from the floor, slaughtering the tavern's inhabitants. It's a gruesome, violent opening to a game that maintains that sense throughout.
I will never tire of the Wild Arms opening. It's not the fact that it's particularly well-animated, though this is certainly true. It isn't the combination of mythical fantasy with that old West feel, our introductions to the three major characters we'll be controlling and their abilities. No, it's the music. I will still catch myself randomly whistling that tune, so incredibly melancholy, yet hopeful all at once. Wild Arms was my first PlayStation game and, to this day, stands as one of the most enjoyable RPGs I've ever played. But it's that introduction that sold me on the experience.
Date: September 11, 2012
*The views expressed within this article are solely the opinion of the author and do not express the views held by Cheat Code Central.*