Just when I figure I've closed the book on Muv-Luv, I end up opening it again. This time I'm playing through Altered Fable, a fandisc by âge for Muv-Luv Alternative. While its primary reason for existing is just to give fans some fun, it's also odd in that it completely closes the story.
Header depicts a real scene from "Muv-Luv Altered Fable" parodying the popular live-action show "24".
Altered Fable is essentially a collection of fun little tidbits and games for the source game. Many fandiscs also have extended stories that expand on or continue the story of the main game. In Altered Fable, it's ostensibly a completely standalone modified version of Extra's world with no links to Alternative whatsoever.
I'm going to sit here, shake my head, and fall in with many of compatriots and boldly declare that this is a stealth-sequel to Alternative. You tried to deny it âge but I've got your number this time.
After the events of Muv-Luv Alternative, the wildly branching realities of Muv-Luv have been restored to normalcy and we now follow Takeru Shirogane in a peaceful Earth once more. No more death, no more insanity, and no more rage against age. It's lighthearted, it's fun, and it's really just Muv-Luv Extra all over again with more characters and updated graphics. It's got parodies, hilarious callbacks to the previous games (many of which are amusing references to very important elements of the saga), and all the Alternative characters return in some fashion.
Of course, I said Muv-Luv Extra was terrible. The reason I like Altered Fable is because of a single quote that crops up in one of my previous posts:
Somewhere along the line, I started pining for Muv-Luv and its lighthearted, simple premise. I just couldn't take it anymore. Alternative broke me and made me admit that, somewhere deep down, I enjoyed Muv-Luv. Alternative made me realize that I should appreciate what I had while I had it.
Alternative taught me to appreciate Extra. It's a fact. The shear darkness and utter despair Alternative fed left me pining for that which I said I hated. I desperately wanted to see Takeru back in his own world away from all this insanity.
Takeru and I suffered through Alternative together. We suffered so we could fix our mistakes and fix reality. We suffered because we did what we had to do.
That brings us to what Rockmandash said in his article:
I feel like Age is essentially saying this: your challenge is just as important as Takeru's, and as a reward for going through this challenge, you are getting one of the best experiences you will ever see.
Muv-Luv was a storytelling experience that we didn't play for fun. We didn't play it for laughs or to see everything turn out all right. We played it to experience one of the biggest deconstructions and some of the greatest subversions in the history of video games. We played it so we could experience one of the greatest stories of the contemporary era we live in.
That's why Altered Fable is an epilogue I didn't know I needed. I suffered through the long hours of Muv-Luv, steeling myself from the chaos and the darkness, just like Takeru did, only to see a brief bittersweet epilogue sequence a the end of Alternative. It was a hallow victory that left me conflicted. I loved the story and I loved the emotions it gave me, but it also gouged out my heart and spit it back out. I've never quite recovered from that.
Altered Fable is like a cooldown. It's a story that unwinds the tension of Alternative and shows us the final piece of Takeru's saga in Muv-Luv: the story of how everything went back to normal. No one dies, no PTSD is transmitted, and nothing is dark. It's Extra all over again with at least as much fun. It's not necessary after playing the saga to play this fandisc, but it's like Rock said, the Muv-Luv saga is one long, painful experience (but entirely worth it). It's a test on the player and Altered Fable is the final, optimistic reward for your journey. It's a book end, if you will, and I think it's put to rest my last reservation about the series: my lingering tension.
It's stupid, it's happy, and it has none of the elements that makes Alternative one of the greatest stories of our generation, but it's the final reward on our journey. We're back in the world of Extra and it's a beautiful thing after everything we went through.