Part 48: Lo Pheng and the End of the GameLo Pheng and the End of the Game
So I promised you all a surprise, and that surprise is a video finale update! Special shout-out to Solitair for joining me on this horrible confusing misadventure.
I don't know how to make sweet banners, so watch this!
Additional Postmortem Thoughts
I still don't know what, exactly, this game is about. The whole deal with Chila defying the will of God to send Hopper to learn all the riddles to "invoke the native gods of Terminum or some shit" turns it from a vaguely tolerable Christian allegory to another genre work that's just up its own ass. The game is both literally poorly constructed, in that there are innumerable errors and proofreading mistakes, and figuratively poorly constructed in a literary sense. For some reason I remembered this game as being a decent game with some glaring flaws where the developers failed not because of ineptitude but because they tried to do too much.
This game is an irredeemable pile of trash.
The gameplay is awful. The story is awful but also essential to the story of the game so even if the gameplay was good you'd be fettered to a corpse. The art and music are far too good for the rest of the game. The worst part is that the writers clearly want to take on advanced philosophical topics like free will and the nature of divinity but have an exceedingly poor grasp of human nature and basic plot structure. Remember how Chila's endgame hot lady form appeared only to Gleda, and how all the characters were talking up how special she was, but that never went anywhere because we picked Lo Pheng? Is Reet literally God now? If the god we imprisoned was a lady, who was the male god in Hopper's flashbacks who was cutting off people's dicks and eating children?
Or look at the characters. Treeg is supposedly a benevolent king beloved by all, but he comes off as a childish tyrant prone to making poor decisions with an IQ entitling him to a special ride on a short bus. Hopper is an immortal divine messenger who comes off as a whiny brat. Thorn is supposedly a leader of men and a living legend who comes off as a short-sighted violent incompetent. Chila is supposed to come off as a wise oracle providing divine guidance to stave off terrible ancient demons...until the end when it's revealed she had no idea what she was doing and was petulantly spitting in the eye of God. The way the authors would have you view the characters is completely different then the characters actually act, and it's very hard to take the chastising of Hopper/the player at the end of the game for missing clues seriously because if Chila wasn't a paste-loving moron she could have just...told Hopper what she wanted. The only characters that have a clear arc are Lo Pheng and his crew, and there is a horrible dichotomy where they're tangential to Chila and her plans until they get shoehorned into being at Opacum, but the final boss of the game comes out of nowhere if you're not playing Lo Pheng.
Anyway, that concludes this run of Ash of Gods. There are a few more things I could show off if there's any interest. The game has a multiplayer mode, which I believe requires grinding to unlock Reaper units I could touch on briefly. I could do a short bonus update on the mobile prequel game which appears to be an exercise in asset reuse and grinding. I did mention a fuckup run, but I feel I've covered enough of "and this dumb shit happens" that it wouldn't be that interesting and we'd be stuck going through a lot of repetitive crap.
Otherwise my next LP is going to be that Torment: Tides of Numenera game if we decide we're done with Ash of Gods.