With his new movie, Pattinson attempts to reinvent how we view the world of video games. And with some pretty big shoes to fill, it is clear that he has his work cut out for him.
Thoughts on Aerith, the video game based on Pattinson’s character, the vampire? Let’s take a look.
It Feels Just Like Playing As Edward
If you are familiar with Edward Cullen, you’ll find a lot of similarities between the character and Pattinson’s character, Robert. For starters, both are aristocrats, which makes them seem regal. And both men have a troubled past, which they try to keep hidden, although perhaps not always effectively. Most notably, though, is that both are lethal. That is, when they enter their vampiric ‘sleep’ mode, they are very passive and easy to control, but once they come to, they are extremely dangerous. Because of this, they are very rarely seen, even by the people they love the most.
This is the state that Aerith brings Robert. Not only can he behave in a very human like manner during his downtime, but when he comes to, he is very much still the King of the Vampires, which makes him very dangerous. It is for this reason that his kind rarely leave their hiding places, lurking in the shadows, waiting to drink the blood of the innocent. If it were not for Mina, his childhood friend, he would have killed many by now.
The game puts you in control of a young, female vampire as she navigates a Gothic London. Your goal is to help her navigate the city while avoiding detection. And, as before, because of his innate ability to charm the ladies, your hero, Robert, will probably have quite the opposite effect. Being a vampire, he will initially have the upper hand, but that will change as you progress through the game. As in the movie, there are points where you have to solve a puzzle to advance, and these are the moments where you can feel like a real-life Sherlock Holmes. But the game also includes a hunting mechanic, where you can walk the London streets and hunt down the bloodsuckers as they pop up from their coffins. The better you do, the more XP you’ll earn, which allows you to level up and strengthen your character.
An Exciting Renewal
One of the interesting things about Aerith is that it brings to life a world that we’ve never seen on film before. In many ways, it feels like the natural evolution of the Underworld franchise. But it is also firmly planted in the present day, which makes it feel more accessible to a modern audience. In other ways, though, it feels like a relic from the golden era of video games, when the industry was at its peak and developers were taking more risks than they ever had before. This game wouldn’t feel out of place next to a Dark Souls or a Devil May Cry game from 2007.
And perhaps that is the point. We are now in an era where big-name Hollywood celebs are gracing the covers of video game magazines, and it is fascinating to see how such iconic images have been reflected in games, not just visually, but in terms of narrative and gameplay as well.
With Aerith, we are seeing a more mature and confident approach from the actor, who has been turning in brilliant performances for years, but has kept his personal life largely private and shielded from the public eye. Though he has been dating Chinese-Italian model, Rosie Chen, for several years, he has never fully committed to a long-term relationship, and many people speculate that he is still searching for ‘the one’. Perhaps this is why he has decided to play the part of a vampire so decisively – it is a way of life that he feels passionate about, but one that he doesn’t feel comfortable expressing in everyday life. He has, however, been open about his love for literature and writing – Rosie Chen has a degree in English Literature, and they frequently write together. One of their more recent projects is the graphic novel, Bite, which is about a vampire named Dayna who gets involved in a love triangle with two men. The novel focuses, in part, on the issue of addiction and the ripple effects that it has on the characters’ personal lives. It is a story of how far one’s true love can go, and how deadly that love can be when crossed. Though it contains quite a bit of dark content, it is a story about forgiveness and learning to trust again, and it is, in large part, about Dayna’s journey to discover the difference between craving and addiction; the two are very frequently blurred in her mind.
The Art Style Is Stunning
The other aspect of this game that I found fascinating is how the art style has evolved over the years. When looking back at screenshots from early access versions of the game, you will notice a significant difference in terms of both the art direction and the graphical fidelity. Though the graphics may not please everyone, the attention to detail is breathtaking. As an example, the hair on the female characters is realistically done and flows around their faces in the wind. Though this may not be a visual treat for everyone, it is an excellent example of what can be achieved with the right artists and designers, and plenty of determination.
Nowadays, while much of the game may seem quite traditional – a side-scrolling beat ‘em up with a rogue’s gallery of vampires – the environments and characters are bursting with life, color, and detail. Though the game may not be for everyone, I would not hesitate to recommend it to anyone, as long as they are prepared to see something different, and hopefully, unique. And who knows – perhaps Robert Pattinson will end up being the key to unlocking the hidden talents of the industry’s finest.