Not As Fun As The Name Implies
WORLD END ECONOMiCA episode.01 is a mess.
The interface is clean and intuitive, the art is gorgeous to the point of breathtaking, and the music is enjoyable and appropriate for the situation (when it’s there). All of these things really appealed to me. The story is interesting, too – the author has set up a unique and complex world that I like learning about (even if the author rambles on about inconsequential details, like how the sewer system works on the moon). It could use a good editor, though – the kind of editor who says “You explained the stock market before – there is no reason to do so again.” Hell, any editor would do. There aren’t too many spelling or grammatical errors, but at times it feels less like a story with a plot and more like one guy rambling about the things that he likes. As an editor myself, there were multiple times when I was simply thinking “this has no place being in the narrative.”
However, the biggest problem is Hal. Hal is the protagonist’s nickname – he’s looking back at this point in his life and telling you about it, making him the narrator as well. See, Hal is a teenage boy, and I hate everything about him. Some of it can be shrugged off as “that’s because teenage boys are terrible,” but there’s more. Never having been a teenage boy, I’m working on conjecture here, but something seems wrong with this kid that even culture shock can’t explain (I know that the game is Japanese, and I don’t know enough about Japanese culture to be able to draw any conclusions about societal norms).
Yep, teenage boys are bundles of hormones and frustration, sure – this explains why Hal obsesses over panties and how the girls’ boobs feel when they give him hugs. I can also explain away his blatant narcissism as “he’s a kid who ran away from home – he doesn’t know better.” I mean, seriously – how many guys see a girl crying and think: “I wish she’d think about how I felt having to pretend I didn’t see that, but it was a bit cute how she tried to keep up appearances.” What a douche.
I can even explain away some of his sexism as being a stupid kid who has never had to interact with girls; thinking women are weak and inferior is a pretty standard line of thinking for close-minded idiots and for guys who have had no exposure to the real world (or real women). Up to this point, Hal seems like a Grade-A idiot, but the situation he’s in now should help smooth the rough edges. He’s living with at least one down-to-earth girl who is helping to show him that the world doesn’t revolve around him and that many of his assumptions and preconceptions aren’t based in reality.
However, there’s a point at which the “boys will be boys” excuse almost makes it worse. For me and Hal, this point was where he started talking about what are effectively rape fantasies:
“I might have lost a fight just now, but if I went at her with my all my strength, I knew I could win. Maybe I should take some naked pictures of her and post them online once I was done? Considering that, her arrogant attitude and expression might come in handy.”
“I’m going to make her bow down to me one day.”
“Hagana couldn’t move. She could only give in to force. That’s how it always was.”
“The only thought in my mind was the delusion of seeing Hagana’s cheeky face streaked with tears, begging for forgiveness. It would be good for Hagana to lift up the lid to the abyss of hell. That would teach her.”
What the hell is wrong with this kid?
So that’s that. I liked the story and am curious to see how it turns out, but Hal makes me physically uncomfortable. As a player, I can try to push through the awkward teenage boy stuff, but this is too far. There’s no way in hell I’m going to follow it through if this is the protagonist – the freaking narrator for chrissakes. Some games try to make the player uncomfortable to make a point of some sort, but this is meant to be an interesting story about the stock market on the moon. These alarming thoughts and tendencies are tangential to the plot – they’re just part of who he is. And if this is the person I’m supposed to be rooting for, I’m out.