My time in Blue Reflection—the recent "magical girl" anime inspired JRPG by Gust recently released for PS4, Vita, and PC—is punctuated with gentle chimes, quiet hums, and someone's delicate hand stirring on a row of piano keys. The world is always shown through a veil of blue-grey that mutes all but the brightest of colors… Until you enter The Common. Everything feels more vivid there—especially the wildflowers.
This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://waypoint.vice.com/en_us/article/ywbm5w/blue-reflection-is-the-most-soothing-jrpg-ive-ever-played
The writer makes it sound like it’s a genuine magical girl game but it’s fucking creepy to the core. I really wanted to like it and go past the objectification of high-school girl but it’s too hard to deal with. After the twentiefth skirt shot and when you discover every girl has a wet 3D model and a whole season pass of questionable outfits I just left.
Blue Reflection does have many nice moment that traditional Magical girl shows have. However, Gust engine still lack polish with frame rates and the questionable outfits are really pushing it when the magical girls series have a lot more empowering outfits.
It’s not as polished as something like their Atelier games (which are at least relaxing in terms of a lot of pastel aesthetics and fluttery soundtracks), but it’s interesting to see them doing new stuff.
Also definitely a contender for my made up award of “most indicative start menu theme”.
Reading this article got me really curious about this game. But, I was really hesitant. There’s so much potential for objectification of young girls and it really creeped me out before giving the game a shot. But, my partner challenged that I may be bringing more objectification than the game is presenting.
After playing about 2 hours of the game I think we’re both right. There’s a disconnect between the context and the camera. The context isn’t sexual or objectifying at all. However, at times the camera is inexplicably at skirt level, girls bust move in that really awkward video game way, clothes are wet and a bit too sheer. But, it’s played so straight. Girls standing in the rain in their summer uniforms are talking about school or monsters. No one is embarrassed or uncomfortable. It’s not an issue. There’s no in game contextual reason for them to be ashamed.
All that aside I’m glad I checked the game out. Soliloquy is one of my favorite narrative devices. It doesn’t show up in many video games. But, knowing what the main character is thinking or how the main character feels adds a welcome layer of depth. So far, many of the events in the game have lead to the main character empathising with the girls she encounters. She draws on her life experiences to render aid or gain understanding. It’s really refreshing.
OMG! It’s so important to have friends to talk to. No sooner did I post this did I chat with a friend. She helped put a point fine point on why the camera is so bad & off putting. This is totally voyeurism. The camera is a creeper and that creeper is a stand in for you.
So, I’m done. Everything good about this game is filtered through this voyeuristic lens. The girls are innocent, the story & context is innocent. The camera, however, has different ideas. Because of that it’s difficult to shake the feeling of “I shouldn’t be here”.
I’ve been watching this one for a while. i really love the pastel colors and the genuine straightforward optimism of what I’ve seen so far. plus the main characters are named after citrus fruits which is really cute to me for some reason.
I wish it wasn’t a full price game because it seems like something I could return to every once in a while but there are so many games out there right now I have trouble justifying picking it up.