AFK Arena -Tales of Esperia: Desperation - Love and VengeanceJan 10, 2021 | 0 Votes by Mikhail - rate Follow Lucretia and feel her pain in AFK Arena’s film Desperation, which is undoubtedly one of the most intriguing animated shorts made for a video game to date.
You can’t help but sympathize with a woman losing the love of her life to a higher purpose and her son to a literal demon. Much like Lucretia, anyone can go on the proverbial quest for vengeance after experiencing what she has been through. There’s a reason why the saying “ hell hath no fury like a woman scorned” exists.
AFK Arena’s Tales of Esperia: Desperation is a great example of why this literary theme is a mainstay in many works, especially in video games. Moreover, it could also be a sign of a future trend which is definitely something we'd all like to see.
(Warning: spoilers ahead!)
Lucretia and Zaphrael
AFK Arena’s current event, Destiny’s Choice, lets you pick between two elite tier heroes (which you can still grab today), Lucretia and Zaphrael, the two main characters in the aforementioned film. It feels as if picking the latter is the easier choice because Celestials are the paragons of virtue while Hypogeans are the scourge of Esperia, right? Well, the short film places viewers in a gray area instead of putting a clear moral divide between the two characters.
First, a little backstory. Zaphrael was once the subject of Lucretia’s love and admiration. After all, the man was a renowned warrior, fighting Hypogeans in the frontlines, and he had saved her from their clutches once before. She served as a military nurse, caring for her beloved, and soon after, they became man and wife. However, the marriage was not a happy one: Zaphrael was always away, waging war.
One day, news arrived that he would ascend into the heavens as a god, and all contact between them was severed. Meanwhile, a pregnant Lucretia resolved to give her yet unborn son a peaceful life, so they moved to an unassuming village and made ends meet.
A Hypogean’s revival
The film starts during the fateful Hypogean revival ceremony.
Unbeknownst to mother and son, the villagers were actually feeding a Hypogean the flesh and blood of children in order to bring about its revival. Alas, the time came when their son, who she loved more than anything in the world, to act as a sacrifice.
Powerless, Lucretia fell into despair as the tendrils enveloped her son. Suddenly, streaks of white lightning appeared, and Zaphrael, now a Celestial, followed. Despite her pleas to save their son, he instead did what he came to do: prevent the Hypogean’s revival. He threw a bolt of lightning, causing a devastating explosion, which stopped the ceremony and killed the boy.
This scene tells you a lot about him, especially his impartiality and dedication in ridding the world of evil. Due to this, however, one can assume that despite the love Lucretia had for him, it feels as if he had none for her. As both a human and a god, he dedicated his life to vanquishing Hypogeans, leaving his wife and child to fend for themselves. Although he had shown a hint of hesitation and you could say he ultimately did the right thing, (as the child was now infested at that moment)it was too much for his wife to bear.
Amidst the smoke of despair, vengeance grows
Zaphrael was once Lucretia’s world. When he left, all her love and attention had shifted to their son. The gods took her husband away and he had killed their child. Viewers can feel the pain, rage, and sadness growing inside her. The Hypogean’s essence, still lingering amidst the smoke, came to her with a proposition. With all the negative emotions inside her heart, she accepted and became one with it, filling her with overwhelming power rivaling that of the gods.
A battle between former lovers
What happens next is a battle scene in the league of popular western animation series, like Castlevania and even RWBY. From the smoke, Lucretia, now a Hypogean, assaults her husband in a fit of rage. In a poetic twist, she is now causing him pain instead of tending to his wounds.
Still full of grief and tears flowing from her eyes, she defiantly says:
“The gods are not blind. They just don’t care.”
The film ends with a wounded Zaphrael summoning more bolts of lightning around him, looking at her who stood there, gripping her sword with the sun rising behind her, signaling a new beginning.
This implies that it isn’t the end of their tale. Whether he survives his wife’s onslaught or otherwise is unknown. However, knowing Lilith Games and their emphasis on providing players with a rich amount of lore, we could see more soon.
Mobile games and stories
This film shows the huge potential of lore-filled mobile games turning their stories into fantastic pieces of content. It exceeds expectations with its top-notch animation rivaling shows we watch both on TV and online. It’s rare for triple-A studios to create these types of content, for a mobile game developer to produce something of this quality is unheard of.
This story between husband and wife is undoubtedly one of the most intriguing Lilith Games has on its arsenal and it makes you think: are Lucretia’s actions justified? Although one can’t help but root for her, you also have to look at it from Zaphrael’s perspective. He had dedicated his entire life to vanquishing Hypogeans, and she might have already known what she was getting into before tying the knot.
Regardless of who you lean towards, AFK Arena -Tales of Esperia: Desperation is not just a celebration to cap off the game’s current Destiny’s Choice event, but a likely preview of a future trend. We could (and I’m hoping that we will) see characters and lore brought to life in short films. They’re a great way to sell a game, and they successfully immerse players into the rich and lore-filled world games provide.
Lilith Games has something special, and here’s to hoping we’ll see more in the future.