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Dolls Stories

Dolls Stories In an unnamed fantasy nation, the military has a special unit comprised of soldiers and homunculi. These homunculi, known as Dolls, serve alongside soldiers in defending the nation and protecting the populace. You, the unnamed protagonist, has finally earned a spot in this select unit and will receive your Doll to begin proper training. But, of course, that is when everything changes. What do you mean ‘what kind of changes’? IT CHANGES! One of the biggest strengths of this game is that it is a very intimate story, and by that I mean the central focus is just on two characters: you and the Doll. It’s actually a pretty surprising emotional ride as without a larger threat looming or constant appearances from the supporting cast, the entire game would’ve flopped if you didn’t connect with the homunculus character. It isn’t perfect due to a few factors; chief among the fact that it is all familiar territory and doesn’t explore much out of anything you’ve seen in, say, Fullmetal Alchemist. Also there are these minor moments in between the major events of the game that just fall flat. There are a few however, like the early trip to the market, that add some substance to the relationship. Outside of the relationship the supporting cast can waver between simply being stock and going straight into clichéd. ‘Your’ friend and fellow soldier Melinda and her homunculus Gilfred behave as you would expect them to and don’t change from that track through the course of the story. And while there isn’t a massive global threat, there are a group of villains that are, honestly, out of place. In a different story where the full world was fleshed out, they would fit right in. Here it just feels awkward and, really, is only there to be a punch to the throat for the main storyline between you and your homunculus. Also, while we are given the choice between a male and a female homunculus, the brutal reality is that there is only one viable path: at least it was for me. If you try following the female homunculus’ story, it will cut out about halfway through: meaning the male homunculus is all you’ve got. While they both followed the same arc, they are two completely different characters and, bottom line; this is where the hard ass administrator side of any creative process comes into play. You can either give people a relatively short but relatively satisfying game or you can give people one-half of a game with the most interesting character cut off at the knees before her story really gets started. One is the right decision and one is the wrong one: take a guess at which is which. Regardless of if it’s just a ‘fun story you’re doing out of love’ (that’s not just for the Storybeam folks, but also for EVERYONE), at the end of the day you are still releasing an incomplete game and asking for everyone’s understanding. Uh, no. Reach down, grab your Daddybags (or Mommybag as the case may be) and cut what’s not finished. We won’t know the difference and will be happier not seeing a ‘This Story is Incomplete’ card right as it’s getting good. And when I say ‘cut’, I mean cut ANYTHING that even remotely suggest there was more than one path in the game. Trust me; it’s for your own good. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the biggest complaint I have. While the main story has flaws, the ending itself was well-handled in my opinion. It was bittersweet and tied up all the plot threads neatly as the credits rolled out. Then the credits stop and we get a ten minute after-credits epilogue that is, for a lack of better terms, a complete and total cop out. Not only does it take a crap on the original ending, it also pimp slaps the story at large for what amounts to the feeling you get after eating a large bar of chocolate. And why? Probably the same reason Korra got ALL of the Avatar powers back in the final minutes of Book 1: can’t send the kids home upset! In fact, I may spoil it at another time. Just not right now. At the end of the day, it’s a familiar tale mostly told well. The biggest lesson Storybeam can learn here is just to learn when to stop and accept when to cut certain ideas out. There is potential here to tell a decent story and hopefully the lesson will be taken to heart for Storybeam’s next release.

Rating: 5.00 [Rate]
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