First off, please have a palette cleanser of my playthrough of Murder Dog IV: Trial of the Murder Dog. Consider subscribing to the YouTube channel to see more playthroughs of really short games when YIIK is eventually finished.
But speaking of YIIK, god. I only played an hour and a half and I felt emotionally exhausted afterward.
We finally get a taste of the android, Essentia. So, she has a unique mechanic where everything she does uses up HP. Huh? It can’t be recovered with any items? What!? Your normal attack also takes up HP and, in fact, trying to do as much damage as possible like you’re normally encouraged to do can kill you? Only in YIIK, baybeeeeeee!
So, my friends brought it up in YIIK Pics, but I think this part really exemplifies this: YIIK feels like it’s trying to evoke Persona. Like, Rory takes Alex aside immediately after the Essentia scene to talk about his depression. This feels like a Rank 7 or 8 social link, except it skipped a whole bunch of ranks to get to that point. The developers are definitely trying too hard with Rory, which I think drags down whatever character he has.
Chapter 4 in general has scenes of Alex trying to bond with the other party members and while not as bad as Rory’s instance, they all feel incredibly jarring. It’s like the developers suddenly remembered, “hey, we keep treating these characters like friends but they have no actual bonds with each other, let’s fix that” and suddenly Alex be out here trying to talk to his “friends” like level 3 to 5 social links.
It’s too little too late for this, YIIK. We’re at the game’s halfway point, you can’t suddenly start investing in character relationships. The only subversion to this is Vella’s arc, because she already has way more going on with her than the other characters that isn’t done in a really hamfisted way.
And the thing is, I don’t want Alex to be friends with any of these characters. He’s an awful person. Like, the fact that he had the option to kiss Vella and Rory after they divulge their hearts to him is???? What!??? And then immediately after thinking about kissing Rory, he monologues about how he doesn’t actually respect women except Essentia, which is incredibly bizarre. This character’s only gotten worse, I don’t know what the fuck the writers are doing.
And speaking of the writers, they make something else worse. The game suddenly references the Elisa Lam case again and somehow it’s even more disrespectful than the original reference with Sammy. The game references her specific death in a water tank and how water from it tasted weird… in a casual conversation with Rory. Like, Rory just brings it up and it’s not plot important at all. It has the same energy as these Tails Gets Trolled panels but instead of being funny, it makes me wish the YIIK creators never made this game.
And speaking of Sammy, I complained about this in the last part, but the game legitimately forgot that the characters are supposed to be looking out for Sammy. First we get distracted by Vella’s record and now we’re being distracted by this android?? Hello????
Anyway, I fight a few fights. I get into a 10 minute fight at 48:13, so I decided to just cut in footage of me playing Nuclear Throne while the battle goes on in the background. Ah. I love playing good video games.
I regrettably ran into encounters on the world map, and the encounter that truly broke me and destroyed my soul was the encounter with four enemies, all of them scaled up to my level. I take half a minute to do Alex’s attack on a rat and it didn’t even get it close enough for another character to kill it. There is actually a couple minutes cut from the video where nothing happens because I was genuinely so upset that I left to lay down for a few minutes.
What’s the point of growing stronger when the enemies consistently grow to be as strong, guaranteeing that battles last several minutes? What’s the point of leveling up strength when everyone’s HP and defense shoots up to the point that it legitimately doesn’t fucking matter? How the fuck do you use Claudio’s Bushido? Why? Why should I be trying so hard? What am I working toward in life? What were the past four years of my life for?
We reach a turning point where the gang decides that the best way forward is to beat up 12 year olds to gain access to a van. I mean, never mind the fact that the first two vans we’ve seen were false leads, the gang’s just so confident that the android will be in this one that they’ll beat up some kids. I mean, I can believe Alex doing it but don’t know why everyone else is so gungho about it.
Fuck this game.