I’ve got no solid numbers to back me up on this, but I’m pretty sure I’m the best possible person to review this game, as I have degrees in both Medieval Studies and Being Kickass at Video Games,* and a working copy of the game for Xbox 360, which I have played through from beginning to end. Indeed, as you can see, my entire life may have been leading up to this review. Yet be that as it may, this is also one of those times where the mixed audience of my blog makes it difficult to know where to begin.
Some of you reading this are medievalists yourselves, and thus like all medievalists who are not me, you have only a tenuous understanding of what I mean when I use the words “video” and “game” successively.** The rest of you, the ones who come here for the monkey and poop jokes (and you know who you are) are down with video games, but think that Dante is that chubby guy in the movies made by the other chubby guy who gets into fights with airplanes.
In general, my review of the game, which will be posted later today, (or possibly tomorrow, depending) will be pitched to the latter group, so I feel obligated to first take a moment to explain what a video game is for all those poncey academic types. I think it’s best to work by analogy:
A video game is like a book, one with many chapters. When you get the book, you’re only allowed to read the first chapter, and if you don’t read it well enough, you have to read it again. When you’ve finally read the first chapter correctly, you can go on to the next, and after that’s read well the next, and so on and so on.
Often it’ll just be one particular page that’s hard to read, and if you mess it up you’ll have to go back and read the whole chapter over from the beginning.
Scattered throughout any given chapter are optional pages, usually very boring and repetitive ones that you’re not compelled to read, but if you do read them, it makes it easier to read the later chapters.***
Sometimes the book will refuse to let you read the next chapter until you’ve done something else unrelated, like solve a crossword puzzle or write your name with excellent penmanship in the margins.
Sometimes the book will suddenly have much better vocabulary and sentence structure, and usually during those times the book reads itself for you.
If you need to stop reading the book altogether for a while and go do something else, you are only allowed to put your bookmark in between certain pages scattered at regular intervals throughout the book.
If you want to reread a particular passage of the book, you may only start at one of the bookmarks and read forward until you get to it.
These books all require very fancy bookcases to read, and periodically new, more advanced bookcases are released which will not hold the books you currently have any more, forcing you to buy (often inferior) sequels to the books you’ve already read, or occasionally updated versions of the original books with sharper text and fancier fonts.
Also, most of these books are about jumping.
There, now that we have that cleared up, we can proceed to the game proper, which I will post about in due time.****
*And yes, they do give degrees in that. Where do you think Mario got his M.D.? Same place I got my PhD in BKAVG.
**Hint: It has nothing to do with me seeing things in Latin.
***Yahtzee Croshaw beat me to this point, and suggested, further, that perhaps the remaining pages somehow became easier to turn after you’ve done the optional ones.
****Or, possibly, overdue time, knowing me.