Girl in the Machine
Wednesday, November 7, 2007
Apologetic Heroines

Stop saying you're sorry!

I’m currently replaying Valkyrie Profile: Silmeria right now, and the second play through feels so much tougher than the first. I mean, what is it, something like a fifty-percent stat boost to all the enemies? . . . And I didn't get to carry over any of my stuff from the first time! Man.

All that aside, it's a marvelous game. There are some things I don't like about it--it's a bit linear, it's tough to make new items, and certain normal monsters can be incredibly difficult to defeat--but it's a nearly perfect RPG for me. Sadly, the heroine does one little thing that immensely annoys me.

Alicia often says, “I am sorry,” or “Forgive me” after slaying an enemy with her Nibelung Valesti attack, and she ends battles sometimes by saying, “I’m sorry.”

Every time she does it (and BomberGirl and PlasmaRit can attest to this), I shout at the TV, “No! You’re not sorry! If you’re sorry, it’s ‘cause they’re weak!” If anything, she should be saying, “I’m sorry. . . that you suck.”

Fortunately, as the game progresses, Alicia lets these phrases slip and replaces them with more interesting ones, such as, “Now you shall sleep forever!” or “You shall not withstand the force of my power.”

I completely get the idea of her character progressing and growing with time. I like that she develops as the game moves on. It almost makes sense, too—as a rather sheltered young girl co-inhabiting her body alongside the Valkyrie Silmeria, I can understand why she’s sometimes hesitant to slay her foes at first. Silmeria usually handles that kind of stuff for her, but Silmeria begins hiding more and more as her sister Hrist closes in on her throughout the game. Eventually, she learns that she’s strong enough to stand on her own two feet, and she gains the confidence to fight for herself and the world.

Let’s look some other sides of character comments in battle. Valkyrie Profile: Silmeria has a wide cast of female characters, and in the end I’d argue that all of them are strong women.

Five of the “light warrior” women in the game sometimes say, “I am sorry, I am not ready for my journey to end,” after a battle has been completed. They’ve still got that element of apologizing that I’m not completely comfortable with, but hey. . . At least they explain themselves. It even comes off as a sarcastic comment sometimes because of the tone of their voices.

Still other women say, “If I could only move, I would fight the god of death himself,” after dying in battle. Now that is hardcore. Most other characters cry out guttural noises or make frightening exclamations about being unable to see or move. . . but these women aren’t done yet. Even though many of the other characters don’t use this phrase, I believe they still feel it. Very few characters in the game simply resign to dying—one of them is Rufus, Alicia’s love interest in the story.

Aside from the Valkyrie Profile series, I feel like I’ve seen other instances of apologetic heroines. We’ve even mentioned it before in our First Friday Drinking Games series on fighting games. Please feel free to bring up any of those awkward apologies in our comments section. I’m interested in hearing about more games where it happens!

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 Posted by Calabar
 5:56 AM + Link to this post

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