God Eater and the return of the silent protagonist.

I’ve stated before how much I hate silent protagonists. They pull you out of the moment, and could often solve an issue if they just open their goddamn mouths.

Now there are two sets of silent protagonists.

1: The mute SP. these are the largest offenders to me, people like the Doom Marine or Gordon freeman. Characters that never talk, ever.

and

2: The onscreen SP. Characters that do talk, but only offscreen. The camera will normally fade, and when it comes back another character will open will something like: “I see, thanks for tell me.”


God Eater: Resurrection, a PC/Console port of a PSP game. Has an infuriating semi-silent onscreen SP. “Semi-silent?” you say. Yes! The character, who is custom created I will admit. Actually does have some spoken dialogue, but only during missions, giving quips and sarcastic remarks as they fight.

During the cut scenes however, they’re utterly silent, simply smiling and nodded. doing the fade out trick if they need to explain anything.

Some scenes are just begging for dialogue too, and for the character to not have a prema-smile on their face.


Now the obvious retort is: “There are 20 different voices per gender, in the game, recording dialogue for them all would take too much space.”

And to that I say: The drop it to 5 voices. I know it’s a PSP game and the disks for that were only about a gig in size. But you could have cut a dozen of those voices, per gender, for more dialogue in the cutscenes. I hate using this example cause it’s comparing console to handheld. But Saints Row 2 had I think 6 different voices and that game had hours of cutscene dialogue. You can’t tell me they couldn’t remove half of those voices in God Eater to give the main character a few lines of additional dialogue to flesh out the character.

Indy games and endings. (Rebel Galaxy Spoilers.)

Well here we are again.

Another indy game, another unsatisfying ending.

Rebel Galaxy. Great game, think of it as a more arcade style Elite game. Here is SidAlpha’s Video about it, it’s the video that got me to buy it.


Now, I’ve talked about endings numerous times. And while RG’s isn’t bad, it is massively unsatisfying.

Spoiler Warning.

Basically, you spent most of the story befriending and helping an AI called Trell. Only for her to effectively sacrifice herself at the ending, transporting herself to unknown parts of the galaxy to save everyone from a race of aliens.

I’d say at least it wasn’t a protagonist death, but in this case it’s close enough to it. What annoys me is that the game hinted that once Trell was made complete, she was able to make jump gates to anywhere she wanted. I assumed this meant once the story was complete you’d have the ability to turn long haul deliveries that would take 2-3-4 jumps, into single jump hauls. Basically letting you go anywhere with ease. This would have been awesome. But instead it’s used by the plot then Trell as a character is removed from play.

It sucks! I liked Trell!

I don’t understand why indy games have bad endings, it ruins them for me. Replayability goes out the window for me if the ending is going to depress me.

Come on guys? Are nice, happy endings so difficult?

The uniqueness of video games. (Endings Rant)

Comedian Dara o’Briain has a really funny comedy bit about how games are unique art form in that if your bad at it, it locks you out the rest of the story. A movie doesn’t stop half way and pop quiz you, then deny you the rest of the movie if you get answers wrong. But get a game over on a game and you’re back to the start. It’s a funny bit.

Now, after finally beating Seraph I came to a realisation. Movies don’t just end after the bad guy is beat. Books don’t just end after the final conflict. Stories have endings and epilogues that complete the story.

WHY THE FUCK DO GAME DEVS THINK THEY DON’T NEED TO DO THIS!

Seraph just ends, just fucking ends. it give you the option to join or destroy the boss. and no matter what choice you make the game well just stop, roll credits and return to menu. It gives you NOTHING!

This would be fine if it was a game that’s didn’t have a narrative. But the game goes has a really good narrative where making that final choice actually means something.

UNFORTUNITLY THE DEVS DECIDED TO JUST EXCLAIM FUCK IT AND NOT BOTHER WITH AN ENDING.

And no, there is no excuse, no “artistic choice” that would explain this bullshit other than laziness. I’ve ranted before about how endings matter. and that was complaining about shit endings. But at least a bad ending is still a fucking ending.

It’s fucking stupid that they even contemplated doing this let alone actually do it.

“We’ve written an interesting story, how do we end it though?”
“Let’s not, lets just cut the credits, and let them decide what happens!”
“Genius, that way we don’t need to do any work!”

Either finish your story or don’t have one. There’s a reason no one liked the ending to The Sopranos. BECAUSE IT WASN’T A FUCKING ENDING.

Ghost 1.0 and the ignorance of history.

So I bought Ghost 1.0 in the Steam winter sale. I was quite happily playing it until I hit 1 cutscene.

While this hasn’t spoiled the game for me or anything. I find it’s a symptom of an issue the industry has been experiencing of late.

In the cutscene two character are talking about if history would see their exploits turned into a video game in an attempt to be meta.

The response is that it would be unlikely because video game protagonists are hunks, white, and male. and he was fat, his friend was black, and the third member (the one actually doing the work) was female.

WHAT

THE

FUCK

Now, I’m not going to argue that there are a boat load of “white men” as game protagonists. However. trying to pull that shit when the game is tagged as a “Metroidvania” game is fucking retarded. Since the Metroid portion of that tag refers to a game series that has always had a badass female protagonist.

Let’s list games list some games whose protagonist are either, none-built, non-white, or female shall we. An extensive list isn’t hard to find, but off the top of my head:

Tomb Raider SERIES: At least 10 games, all with female protagonist.
GTA: San Andreas: Black protagonist, and can be made fat if desired.
Portal & Portal 2: Female protagonist.
The Shantea games: 4 games all with a female protagonist.
Assassin’s Creed: Liberation: Protagonist is a black female.
Assassin’s Creed 3: Protagonist is Native American.
Infamous: Second Son: Protagonist is Native American.
Sleeping Dogs: Protagonist is Asian.

And this isn’t going into games with multiple protagonists, beat’em ups or the myriad of games with a create a character feature.

You want to think there’s too many “white males” in video games? That’s fine, make games where that isn’t the case. But question: Who the fuck are you to dictate what race and gender should be the protagonist in someone else’s game?

I’m going to finish with a simple comment.

I am a disabled straight white male. Yet I don’t need the protagonist to be disabled, straight, white, or male to identify with them. If you are bitching that you can’t identify with the protagonist because they’re not of your race, gender, or sexuality. Then the problem lies with you, not the game.

Sight of pure beauty.

Whenever I hear people complain about “unrealistic” armour in video games I just roll me eyes, for two reasons.

1: It’s a game, fiction, realism isn’t necessity.
and
2: It’s someone’s aesthetic choice of how something looks within this world, who are you to tell someone how something should look in a world of their own creation. If they ask for your opinion, fine, but otherwise STFU.

Why do I bring this up? Because the reason I roll my eyes. I’m of the strong belief something don’t need to be skimpy or show skin to be sexy. If the artist or designer chooses to make it like that, that’s their choice. But personally, sexy doesn’t equal skin.

Case and point:

20160719105009_1

The Archon Armour from XCom 2 is one of the sexiest pieces of protection I’ve seen in video games. Just look at it. The default colour isn’t pink, it’s just the scheme of the soldier I’m using. The armour though… wow, I love it, and I normally hate headgear like that. Everything about the armour just works though.

Absolutely gorgeous.

 

I’ve really started to get a hate on for Bethesda

At least where the Fallout and Elder Scrolls are concerned anyway.


I decided to make a male character on Fallout 4. I normally only make Male characters in games if there’s a romance I really want to do. The main reason is, well, simply woman look better than men to me.

Anyway I make my character, he’s got a ronan look, stubble, long hair tied in a knot at the back. Looks awesome. Now, because the Male roll is always that of an ex-soldier, with the female being that of a lawyer. (Meathead male, smart female stereotype anyone?) I thought that this time I might do some of the Brotherhood of Steel content since normally I don’t go near them.

I know a lot of people love the BoS and while in F3 and NV they weren’t total arseholes. In Fallout 4 they come across as massively bigoted dicks so I gave them a wide birth.

However. Upon running into Paladin Danse I help fend off the ghoul horde and… the game glitches. Danse just stands there as if there are still more ghouls to kill.

One of the 4 main storylines has a game breaking bug that prevents you from playing that storyline. one of the MAIN STORYLINES! How the flying FUCK was that not caught in QA, or failing that, patched before now, cause checking the message boards I’m not alone in finding this bug. I’ve ragged on Bethesda a lot but come on, how can you fuck up a main quest mission?

Now I’m playing the PC version, and indeed there is a console command solution for this issue, however. using console commands to further main quests messes up the subsequent quests. Meaning I can’t even use that to solve the issue cause it bugs out the later quests.


This got me thinking of other moments of sheer idiocy in the Fallout franchise. One very specific moment. Fawkes hand waving of logic pre Broken Steel, Fallout 3.

For those that have never experienced this moment to face palming stupidity. In the original ending to Fallout 3 there was 2 choices. Either you entered the chamber and died of radiation poisoning, or Lady Lyons entered the chamber and died of radiation poisoning. Now, prior to that in the plot you met a rather helpful super mutant by the name of Fawkes. Who retrieved the G.E.C.K for you because he’s immune to radiation.

You see where I’m going with this don’t you? “Hey I’ll just bring Fawkes with me and ask him to enter the chamber, everybody lives!” and indeed there is an opinion to ask him, and what is his reply?

ant-fo3-fawkes

BITCH THAT MEANS I DIE! I don’t give a flying fuck about destiny! You’re immune to radiation, I’m not!

In Fallout 4 Piper mentions there was once a hole in the walls of Diamond City that was patched with nothing more than a bookcase. This here, is the plot equivalent. A plot hole so thinly patched that you can’t believe anyone thought it was hold up.

Weird thing I do with theming

I love theming, especially when it comes to custom objects in games. Best example, in Fallout 4 I always give Piper a weapon named something that suits her character. Names like, The First amendment, Freedom of the Pass, Press Pass, that sort of thing. It cheesy as fuck, but I love it.

I’m on my… 3rd play through of Fallout 4 now. and instead of turning the drive in into a settlement I’ve turned it into my own private mansion.

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The plan is to use it as my private base, house my companions, and have robots run the day to day. So once I unlocked the robot workbench I set about creating my robo-workforce starting with 3 Mr Handy’s to do the farming.

Then my brain decided that these three Mr Handy’s HAD to be named and coloured to represent the chipmunks, Alvin, Simon, and Theodore. I’m not a fan of the old shows, and I hate the current spree of movies. Why the hell am I naming them that.

The robo guards, which will be 3 Assaultrons once I get the right parts, are planned to be named and colour coded to Blossom Bubbles and Buttercup of the Powerpuff Girls. While it’s not the first time (they were provisioner’s on my last playthrough), it’s something I just had to do again for some reason.

Worst part, once I get the place full built and have the shops open I’m trying to work out the names of my shop keepers. I instantly jumped to the Ninja Turtles, but I don’t think that would work. since there’s 6 shops and only 4 turtles, and adding splinter and such just complicates matters. Hmm, maybe the original 6 Power Rangers… You see, this is what my brain is like sometimes.

Mirror’s Edge Catalyst (Spoilers Aplenty)

Okay, I have to get this off my chest now or I’ll lose my mind and start yelling at someone I care about.

I like most of Mirror’s Edge Catalyst, (shortened here on in as MEC.) it evoked the feel and fun of the original but on a grander scale, it was fun.


Until that goddamn piece of shit end game. And I’m not even talking about the ending, we’ll get to that. No I’m talking about turning Faith’s sister into a fucking villain!

In the first game Faith’s entire reason for doing what she did was to prove her sisters innocence. She loved her sister and didn’t want to see her hurt, or worse, killed.

In MEC see thought she was dead and it turns out the daughter of the antagonist is in fact, her sister. WHAT THE FUCK!

No seriously, I can’t get over this, it pisses me off to no end. I love the game, except for everything after that moment. Not only did I see in coming a mile off. but both Faith’s and Cat’s reaction to discovered that each other is alive after thinking they were dead is almost none existent.

Then that ending hits and the two finally get a confrontation and… it’s as cliché as they come. Cat’s end up flying away and become HEAD OF THE CORPERATION THAT FAITH IS FIGHTING AGAINST!

They literally took the story of two loving sisters on opposite ends of the law, who would STILL do anything to protect one another, shat on it, and made them enemies!

It pains me, just outright HURTS me to think of that ending because of how much I love the original. If I ever want to pick up MEC again and run some more. (Something I can’t do in real life, thank you vicarious living hahaha.) I’m going to have to try and come to terms with that ending, but I’m not sure if I can. I was fine with every other change the game threw at me. I liked Plastic, Icarus was a dick at first (and I thought he was going to turn out to be a double agent of some sort.) but he did win me over in the end. But Cat as a villain… I can’t buy that. Especially due to her role in the first game, why couldn’t we have the Conner’s sisters kicking ass together. Was it really too much to ask?

Souring games, part 2

So a month ago I talked about what made me leave a game, what made me stop playing a game outright. Today I’m going to visit something close to that. What can spoil a game for me. Not to the point of stopping playing, but things that make me say. “It was good, but…”

Now any games can have glitches or bugs that sour the experience one way or another. Maybe the difficulty curve was too high. I’m not talking about them. I’m talking about deliberate design choices made in the conception of the game that automatically step back and ask: Why?


The biggest for me, without a doubt. Silent Protagonists. Oh boy, this one has been building a while for me. I HATE silent protagonists. and yes I’m going to use a very beloved franchise as an example. Half-Life 2.

Now, preface time. There are times when a silent protagonist (written from now one as SP for brevity) works. Doom, it works, Metroid it works. Portal, it works, games where the main character does not have to interact with other living beings, it works. Heck, technically it works in the first Half-Life. My two favourite games of all time Suikoden and Suikoden 2 are technically SP’s and I love those games.

HOWEVER

Then we get onto games with a heavy narrative like the example Half-Life 2. Gordon Freeman is Half-Life 2 is a floating camera with arms, that’s it. There is no emotion in him what so ever, and when stuff is happening all around him and he doesn’t say anything. It zips you out the moment so fast you get goddamn whiplash. NPC’s react to him and events around him but Gordon does his best statue impression and does nothing. The player could want to scream at and NPC to warn them. Gordon simply stands there and watches them get eaten by a headcrab. Well done Gordon, good job you’re not a medical doctor cause that Hippocratic oath would be out the window.

SP’s are the bane of my gaming experience. If it stated that the character is mute like at the end of Portal 2. I’m fine with it. I even let GTA 3 of the hook for 2 reasons. 1 in GTA:SA it’s stated that the character is mute. and 2: in the opening of GTA 3 it looks to me at the time like his was shot in the throat which could have damaged his vocal chords.

But there are so many games out there with SP’s that just kill the experience for me. No witty come backs, no one liners, no “what the hell are you talking about fruitcake?” moments. When the character is an SP they just seem to drift through the world, reacting to it without emotions. Imagine you were watching a movie with a character like that. It’d be like watching a Ben Affleck movie… I kid, I kid, even SP’s aren’t wooden.

I’m not going to say we should get rid of SP’s, like I said earlier, they have their uses for certain games. This is just me venting. We’ve already seen a reduction in SP’s in narrative driven games. But it still bugs the crap out of me when one shows up.

Rambling about Fallout 4: Far Harbour

Gonna try to keep spoilers to a minimum.

So Fallout 3 have 5 DLC’s, in order from my personal best to worst they were:

Mothership Zeta
Operation: Anchorage
The Pitt

Broken Steel
Point Lookout

Zeta I loved because it was a vastly different local to what we had before, new enemies, and at the end there was a pretty unique space battle and you got your own ship. (though I was disappointed that nothing really happened with it afterwards)

Anchorage, was like a game within the game, and at the end you got the stealth suit. which for a stealth gamer like myself was a godsend.

The Pitt made me have to make one of the hardest moral choices I’ve had to make in a game. I hate slavery absolutely loathe it. Nothing was more satisfying to me than depopulating Paradise Falls, or grinding Caesar’s Legion into dust. But taking a baby from it’s parent to be little more than a lab rat? I avoided that DLC for so long just so I didn’t have to make that choice.

Steel fixed the godawful ending.

Which brings me to Point Lookout.


Lookout was the worst of the DLC’s for me, it was bland and boring. It was the only one that added a large wholly explorable area. But it didn’t really do anything with it. On top of that that main quest had you get part of your brain removed which just never sat right with me. Even if the drug trip that occurred around it was cool. It seemed just an excuse to do “Fallout: Deep South”


The Reason why I mention this is that Far Harbour feels a lot like Point Lookout. It has a large, wholly explorable area, that you travel to by boat and go there because you’re searching for someone. Thankfully, that’s just about where the main similarities end. Harbour has a large number of new varied characters, the plot has some good twists, and even asks a couple of interesting questions. Lookout’s world felt empty, but Harbour’s feels to opposite. It has 3 major settlements and a handful of workshop settlements to keep you there wandering. (Even if you are routinely pulled back to protect the Commonwealth settlements.)

I did enjoy it, even though I was forced to make a moral choice I was unhappy with (it was the lesser of the evils I could choose). Certainly better that Point Lookout, almost a “<this thing> done right” scenario. Be interesting to see what they do with the other DLC’s.