Guitar Hero meets Undertale in one of the best video games of 2021

It’s hard to forget the time I played Tool songs back in 2008 Guitar Hero: World Tour. They’re a definite highlight: You can’t see the virtual band playing, but instead, a live backdrop sets the stage. It moves and transforms – from a spiral of faces to a sea of ​​eyes. The songs are long and difficult, leaving you trapped in a feeling of infinity, forcing you to hit hundreds of notes while terror threatens your performance.

I’ve always wondered what would happen if those scenarios went one step further – if those spectral curves became a real obstacle in the way; if those eyes try to attack me. the eternal provide answers.

The so-called “unique adventure RPG” is similar at first glance to Undertale. The premise follows a wooden doll protagonist – whose arm has been stolen – and a colorful, distinct cast of characters trapped in an ethereal world. As they chase the limb thief through different areas (in an overarching world setting similar to Undertale), enemies interrupt you to meet combat. However, instead of the usual RPG action sequences, the battles take the form of musical battles. As soon as I saw the protagonist dancing and dodging the notes inside the rhythm game keyboard, I knew the eternal will be special. (The full name of the game is Everhood: A puzzling tale of indescribable sacred moments of truth – for the sake of time, I’ll stick with the shorter version.)

A boss character fires a laser at the player in Everhood

Image: Chris Nordgren, Jordi Roca / Foreign Gnomes

An ATM, a knight, a frog playing the guitar – every time a conflict arises, perspectives change and you are the third person to face the keys. Based Idea place the player inside the interactive music videos, the goal is the eternal is to endure everything the screen throws at you until the battle is over. The songs go from EDM to rock, from ballads from house to power metal. Each character adds their own quirky backstories – some are more melodious while others are completely aggressive, forcing you to react quickly and reboot dozens of times until as you learn the patterns.

It’s part rhythm game and part bullet hell, in which visuals play the main role. Some encounters are straight up hallucinations. A gyro rapidly spins the entire keyboard while you dodge the notes and move on with your dear life, only to disappear completely in the next segment as your character stretches across the screen. Fluorescent gnomes slowly take up space and mismatched colors fade away with your movement.

Similar to Tinh Undertale, the eternal continually interrogate its own design tenets. The environment varies from a D&D style campaign, to a racing mini-game, to a Bright-like chasing in a maze. My expectations were defied at almost every turn. I’m ready to be surprised, as both games are based on absurd conversations, ferocious characters, and heavy use of visuals that don’t respect the standards we’ve used in titles. old games. But while UndertaleThe footprints of clear in the eternal, the latter deviating in important ways.

[Editor’s note: photosensitivity and epilepsy warning for the following video.]

Back when I played for the first time Undertale, I have chosen the path of peace. I can’t stand killing the colorful characters I’ve met along the way. To this day, I don’t think I have it on me to kill any of them – the other routes remain a mystery to me.

When I realized that the eternal presents different endings, also based on player choice (one requires you to walk in a straight line for three to four hours in real time through an “endless” corridor inside an optional area ), I want to once again follow the path of peace. This seems like an easy enough quest, since there’s no deadly music battle – or no enemies I’ve encountered, that is. And so I continue with the story.

But something is wrong. Despite my best intentions, some conversations – and mysterious warnings – hint that the characters of this world may wish a different outcome. The people of this realm, bound by immortality and the stalemate of time that comes with it, have been pursuing a way out for centuries. I have managed to ignore this until I reach the final credit. Here, the protagonist gains the ability to deflect attacks. The expectation, which works like an Act 2, is to go back to the beginning and repeat every encounter with this mechanic, fighting against everyone I met in the first half of the story. The deflected attacks will actually kill the characters, fulfilling their wish to escape. But I tried to overcome, determined to reach the end that will not disappoint everyone.

Everhood characters play a board game

Image: Chris Nordgren, Jordi Roca / Foreign Gnomes

I was then stuck in the final battle and set the game for several months until I started working on this piece. I went back, expecting a big reveal after hitting the final credits. With Undertale Still coloring my perception, I expect the eternal to reward me for my pacifist efforts – to discover it Everhood’s characters are not Actually wanna die. But that’s not the case. In fact, the pacifist path is not the “real end”. An on-screen message expressed it in simpler words: “Only death can set them free. That’s how it was intended. If you’ve come here to get an ending, I can’t give it to you. As you are the end. ”

the eternal take the standard of rhythm games and build micro-worlds into each song. It showcases a captivating yet simple art style, only to falsify it later, changing perspectives and flooding the screen with some of the most dramatic and awe-inspiring visual effects I’ve seen. for several years. It just draws enough inspiration from other games to draw players in, only to pull the rug out from underneath them, to great effect.

Similar presentation to Undertale is a façade – the indiscriminate murder interrogation that has flooded a lot of RPGs and, while tough, rewards you for dodging it. In the eternalHowever, the expectation is completely opposite. With so many characters stuck in an infinite loop of suffering, the eternal lays out a passive, pacifist path the more selfish approach. As someone who’s always taken the “good” route in games, it’s hard to reconcile with the fact that I’m the only one who can free these characters from the burden of immortality.

In the eternal, game rhythm challenges bring new life. I no longer have to deal with confusing note templates or distracting backgrounds. Every encounter is a story, every song is an indelible memory of the character on the other side of the keyboard. Now I’ve come too far to give up, and I will do whatever it takes to save them – even if it means going against what I’ve always believed in.

https://www.polygon.com/22868348/guitar-hero-undertale-everhood-best-games-of-2021-goty-nintendo-switch-microsoft-windows Guitar Hero meets Undertale in one of the best video games of 2021

Aila Slisco

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