On its surface, 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim is not a game for me. It's half visual novel (I've never played one) and half real-time strategy (I really, really don't like these), and it's all in a very anime aesthetic (Dave repellent). So Dave, you might ask, Dave why the hell did you play this? Well, voice in my head, I like to read video game reviews, and I had heard that the story of 13 Sentinels was incredible, and a great story can carry a lot of weight for me. So I checked out a review on one of the popular gaming websites, I forget which one, and the reviewer activated my killphrase. They said, quoting from memory here, "13 Sentinels has a story reminiscent of the television show LOST," and as soon as I read that, I said "god damnit!" out loud, closed my laptop and added it to my ps4 wishlist.
And you know what? God damnit, they were right! LOST spun a complicated web, constantly introducing four new questions for one question it resolved. Granted, LOST handwaved away many of its impossible questions with the secret answer of "it's a magical island", but it sustained such a feverish internet fan base through constant cliffhangers and new plot threads. This is also how 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim tells its story. You start small, but quickly expand into mysteries and ideas far beyond what you might even imagine by reading this. Of course, I won't spoil anything in this blog, but that type of storytelling is extremely my shit, and here's the kicker- it sticks the landing! Any major question that gets brought up gets a satisfying answer, which is truly remarkable when you realize that every attempt to tell the story quickly gets into Pepe Silvia territory.
And so it's my great pleasure to discuss this mindfuck of a game with frequent guest Rick Firestone. Rick hosts a wonderful show called Pixel Project Radio along with his co-host Ben, and it gets my absolute highest recommendation. PPR does deep dives on video games, in a similar vein as Tales from the Backlog, but their show includes a beat-by-beat story breakdown with all of the perspective, intelligent conversation and love that you would want. They also do one-off episodes, like video game music (they're both trained musicians), Studio Ghibli movies, and a beginner's guide to visual novels (perfect for 13 Sentinels fans looking to expand). Check them out via THIS LINK, you won't regret it.
You can listen to episode 45 of Tales from the Backlog (13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim) of Tales from the Backlog in the player below, or you can follow the links to the show on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Podcast Addict, Stitcher, Google Podcasts or search "Tales from the Backlog" in your favorite podcast app!