Return of the Destined Battle! Aether vs. Yandere Simulator, Round 2

Our destinies intertwined.  Fate had posed us against each other.  Our titanic battle sent shockwaves blasting across the seas of time.  Nothing has been the same, since then.  

And now, we’re going to do it again.

Some of you who’ve been following the blog for a while, or plunging into the archives, or who might otherwise call yourselves “Aether Historians” might recall the first time Lost to the Aether faced off with our fated rival, the always-in-development murder playground known as Yandere Simulator.  The feud everyone finding my blog through a search as well as destiny itself demanded.  Our clash was titanic.  My victory, overwhelming.  So overwhelming, in fact, that it actually made the search terms for this blog normal for a good long while.  Which was something I wasn’t prepared for, really.  C’mon guys, let’s get this stuff weird again.

Anyways, in case you missed it, we just finished up October.  Which is a well-regarded time for getting into spooky/horror media, and I got caught up in that myself.  Wanted to pick myself up a good horror game.  And coincidentally, at the same time, Yandere Simulator came out with a big content update.  The game’s been in development for seven years by this point, and the developer feels that he’s almost ready to complete the game, having got about everything done that he can on his own.  But to really get the game finished, he’ll need to hire people to do the parts of it outside of his capabilities, which will require a crowdfunder, but after the standard cycles of long development time plus short internet patience, he feels he’s not poised for a successful crowdfunder right now.  So, in order to demonstrate the product and build up faith and interest in it again, he’s used the assets he currently has to develop a full story mode for the game, for the first time.  Albeit not the story mode everyone was expecting.  That’s the one he needs to hire people to do the animations and the voice acting and the whatnot for.  Rather, we’ve got a fully-fledged prequel story mode.

Anyways, I was looking for something horror-themed to play, and a game where you’re basically a horror-movie villain sounded pretty solid to me at the time.  And I can get behind the idea of putting out a show of good faith for your audience, work to show you’re taking them seriously with a lot of new content.  And besides, it was probably my victory over this game years ago that cost it a lot of it’s positioning.  So I figured it’d be a good time to jump back into it, and see just how much the game has grown since I defeated it last time.  We’re still fated opponents, but maybe destined rivals this time, rather than enemies.

Here we go.  For a good comparison to our old post, rather than jumping in to the prequel story mode, I’m going to be going for the main, incomplete story.  Because that’s what we did last time.  The full game will have ten rivals, but the current edition only has one that’s fully set up, so only a single level’s equivalent of content.  But that’s fine for the sample we’re going for.  After all, I’m trying to make amends, of some sort.  Don’t want to crush this game too fully again.

Starting up, the first thing it has you do is customize your senpai, the absolutely heartthrob that will be the subject of your and at least ten other girls’ affections.  I love customizing characters, and I know super well what makes the female mind fall in love with someone, so you can rest assured that I will create a being who is the pinnacle of attractiveness.

And there.  There he is.  Ladies, you may take a number, and form a line to your left.  He won’t have time for you all but don’t worry, there will be consolation prizes.

And then we get a cutscene detailing the premise of the game.  So, if you’ve spent too much time around certain parts of the internet, like, you know, this blog, you’ve probably heard of a few of the ‘dere’ types of characters in Japanese fiction.  Yanderes are characters that seem sweet and lovely, but then turn around and inflict horrific violence out of a hidden insanity driven by their affection.  Or something like that.  People find that attractive, apparently.  I’ve got at least two posts on this blog touching on that.  Well, three now, I guess.  Anyways, that’s us.  We’re one of those.  We spend our whole life feeling nothing, until one day, we run into senpai.  Then all of a sudden, a feeling blossoms through.  Complete, all-encompassing love.  Or something that ol’ Yan-chan confuses for it.  

Anyways, Yan-chan is so enraptured by that feeling that she immediately resolves to inflict bloody horrors on anyone who gets between her and the object of her affection.

So she stalks him.  Some other girl catches her doing so, and texts her some information on another girl with designs on him.  And kind of encourages her to take drastic action.

I’m guessing there’s lots of people in this scenario that could use a bit of professional help.

And with that, we’re in the game proper.  We start off in our bedroom, with a few interactables, but so far, only one that’s really meaningful, an anime we can watch to teach us new murder methods.  Which seems kind of inappropriate for a high schooler, frankly.  From there, I can check out the basement, so I do so, and find it a perfectly equipped murderhole.  Also has a cassette tape in there, of which I can figure out no way to play.  Because it’s 2022.  Who has cassette players anymore?

I do. In my car. In the real world. Aether.  That’s who.  

Anyways, not a lot to do at home, so I head to school.  I get there, and immediately make two impressions.  The first, last time I played the game, going to school meant I spawned in with the camera buried underground and staring up my own skirt.  That seems to have been corrected in the years since then.  And second, holy hades are there a lot of people now.  I find myself in the midst of a sea of students.  All of them individually designed, and as I find out through playing the game further, all of them with their own schedules and pathing.  That’s an impressive thing to see coming together, really.

This is my first time with full control here, so I start messing around, seeing what all the buttons do.  I find a button that makes me laugh.  This creeps out everyone around.  I do it again.  Senpai hears that time.  And my laugh was apparently so creepy that he never wants anything to do with me again.  I got a game over within like thirty seconds of starting the game proper.  Harsh.

Ok, starting that over again.  This time, no laughing in public.  I start formulating a plan.  But not much of one.  First step is to find my rival/target.  I do this quickly, as she’s talking to senpai just off the walkway into school.  Second step is to find a reason to… you know, do something about her.  Because although Yan-chan is down for wanton murder, Aether’s really not.  I have a hard time playing the bad guy in games, particularly when it comes to inflicting horrors on the innocent.  Like, I don’t have any moral compunctions with it, really; I’m not sinning by having my electronic avatar commit simulated violence on collected bits of graphics and ai mechanics or anything, but it does require going somewhere that just doesn’t come naturally to me.  I usually go for the super good moral choices in games.  That’s just more satisfying to me.  

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Proving Ourselves in Dark Souls

Last time, on this thing people keep reading for whatever reason, I gained the power to control fire and used it to kill some things that are already dead. It was certainly fun, but now it’s time to do something that actually matters. That’s right, it’s back into the sewers for us.

At the end of the sewer level, past the double doors previously blocked to us, I find the entrance to the infamous Blighttown. I don’t know much about this place, other than that it’s spoken of with much ire around the internet. Is it because the area’s especially difficult? Annoying? Boring? We’ll find out together! Remember, here at Lost to the Aether, I play this game so you don’t have to!


The entrance to Blighttown is this massive blasted pit. We’ve made it to the lowest depths of the sewer level, and now we’re going to have to dig even deeper. I sure hope that’s not metaphorical.

I briefly consider plunging to my death, avoiding what is to come, but instead, I find a ladder and descend that way. Apparently, one of the other players thinks I should be regretting that decision.


It’s not long before we run into our first adversaries in this area, these infested barbarians. There’s a bunch of these guys in a row, but I decide to play things safe and lure them out one by one. As you might expect, they’re quite strong, able to push me around even as I block them. Their clubs are also poisonous, somehow. And they’re surprisingly mobile, at least within the confines of this wooden latticework. I have to play this defensively, rolling back at the slightest sign of an attack and picking my moments to attack. With careful timing, though, I’m able to wear these guys down enough for a killing stroke.

They have a habit of leaving behind dung pies. I’m not sure why I keep picking them up.


Moving forward along the walkways into the bowels of Lordran, we encounter our second enemy class of this area, the infested ghoul. These guys, as well as the barbarians, seem quite a bit different than the standard hollows we’ve been putting down. Something’s happened to this place, beyond the normal curse of the undead, that’s twisted those who’ve been hanging out here.

In any case, the ghouls here rush towards me as soon as they catch a glimpse. They’re armed with swords, spears, or bone clubs, but telegraph their attacks well enough that they’re easy to block. They do have a nasty little grab attack, though, putting their filthy teeth to bear. The bite takes a good deal off my health, but they snarl before they do so, giving me enough time to prepare my defense. Two hits is more than enough to take them out, so they don’t pose any real threat individually.

Heading on just a bit farther, I’m struck by something. Something small. It doesn’t do any damage, but it causes my toxin gauge to skyrocket. It came from my right. Luckily, there’s a wall nearby that I’m able to duck behind.


Here’s our perpetrator. An sniper with a blowgun. The darts don’t hurt me, at least not right away, but they’re coated with a powerful poison, and two hits are enough to overcome my resistance. Also, the way bows work in this game, they’re really not well suited to sniper battles. You can’t move and ready an arrow at the same time, meaning you’re a sitting duck for an enemy who’s already drawn on you. My best bet is to try and hit these guys from areas they can’t return fire to, but with as observant as these snipers are, good luck with that.

Also, for whatever reason, structures in Dark Souls actually extend a bit beyond what they’ve got visuals for. Those arrows you see floating in the air in the picture above? They’re embedded in the wood that doesn’t really exist. This has been a small frustration of mine all game, but it’s really infuriating now, that I have to face off with these enemies I can’t reach with my sword.

Luckily, these snipers don’t seem to be undead, meaning they don’t respawn. Kill ’em once, they’re out of your hair forever. I catch a bounty of purple moss from this one, which serves as an antidote to poison. Something tells me I’m going to need that.


After I slay the sniper and start moving on, I find a message that there’s a sniper around. Thanks, guy! There’s also a tempting bit of treasure that appears out of my reach. I’d have to jump for it, but it looks like a tricky leap. If I miss, the fall will either kill me or land me in unknown territory. I decide to leave it be for now.

I move out from the initial walkway, into where Blighttown opens up and… oh my. I don’t know whether it’s the size of the area, the poor PC optimization, the lack of developer tricks to hide areas so they don’t have to be loaded, or what, but this place is doing absolute murder to my frame rate. My computer’s been handing the game at a solid 30 fps, but this area tops out at half that, and frequently dips into the single digits. This is painful.

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