Brad, you have to find her and in the end will you have made the right decision?
Lisa: The Painful is an RPG made by the indie game company Dingaling. Lisa is set in a post apocalyptic world where only men are left. The protagonist Brad Armstrong finds a female baby that he takes home and shelters for many years. The game was loosely based on the novel The Children of Men by P.D. James in where there is a world of mass infertility and follows a protagonist that goes on a journey to protect a fertile woman. Lisa is extremely emotional and has great gameplay similar to classic RPG’s.
Plot: Lisa has a remarkably dark story line. The game begins with the protagonist Brad as a young child being beaten up for defending his friends. Brad proceeds to walk home alone to encounter his intoxicated father who immediately throws a bottle at Brad for being a terrible child. Time jumps ahead as he is finding a female infant that was abandoned. He names her Buddy and hides her away from world which only men inhabit now because he believes most men would find and either rape or murder her. Throughout the years Brad becomes her foster-father as he raises and protects her from the dangers he knows exist, almost against her will. During those years of raising the child, Brad deals with his own addictive struggle with Joy (a strange drug) and ultimately becomes addicted again leading him down the same life path as his intoxicated father. The girl ends up getting kidnapped by the hero’s best friends which starts the journey to save her life, to discover what happened to the world and possibly save Brad’s life.
Gameplay: The world travel and battles within Lisa are difficult and enjoyable. Traveling around requires walking from area to area to which Brad will find abundance of NPC’s, teammates, items and enemies. Travel can take time but encountering the NPC’s and enemies does provide hilarious dialogue that riddled with one-liners and quotable remarks. Finding the right combination of teammates affects battle plans but ultimately is worth searching for stronger characters for how difficult the game becomes. As characters (including the hero) level up they gain new abilities and fighting techniques, this game does a great job of incorporating button combos within the battle, allowing characters to do more damage. This game heavily revolves around the choices that Brad has to make during his adventure that involve death of partners, loss of items and human body parts. The choices Brad makes affects the relationship with his teammates, Buddy and in the end, himself.
Difficulty: The difficulty came from 2 places with this game. First, the actual challenge of the game was incredible. Finding stronger teammates to fight seemingly impossible enemies was fun and added more to the story depending on who you were trying obtain. Once again depending on the critical decisions Brad has to make, the player may end up losing 1 of the stronger teammates. Even with stronger teammates, leveling them up and being equipped well many enemies were still challenging and some could eliminate characters outright from the game. Secondly is the emotional challenge of this game. The more the story progresses, the more the player thinks about the decisions they are required to make. Decisions and repercussions that come about become worse and make the party weaker both physically and emotionally. Some of the things Brad decides and discovers can be quite disturbing and surreal making the player wonder how the party can continue in such an environment. The physical and emotional challenge both add a huge amount of difficulty to the adventure.
Music: Widdly 2 Diddly created the soundtrack for Lisa. Each song adds uniqueness to the game with a variation of heavy synth, fuzz and ambient songs for each area and encounter. The variation in the music reminds me of cheeky RPG’s and really makes the game fun to play. The soundtrack consists of 90 tracks spanning the entire game giving every area new atmosphere. The ambient tones used in the game are used while in caves and abandoned areas giving the player a sense of isolation and unnaturalness. Heavy synth is used in a majority of the soundtrack giving good background sound to carry the team through the rest of the adventure. Widdly 2 Diddly created a fantastic soundtrack to Lisa that is available for purchase.
Summary: Lisa: The Painful was a really similar yet different experience to me. I found the game to be challenging and parts of the game depressed me a bit with how dark it became. Dingaling really knew how to draw out the emotional side of the player as your decisions made really affect the outcome of the game. The game provided so many questions about my reality that it was almost frightening trying to finish. A world without women would be a very dark and aggressive place and I believe that the creators of this game put that thought into their head when creating the game. The dark reality that Brad and the player knows and faces is prevalent when you read the dialogue of the NPCs and enemies. There is only 1 girl in existence and she is the only hope of the human race surviving. This game is heartfelt and surreal, I recommend for anyone who like story rich RPG’s.