My thoughts upon choices, or why I don't want to join the bad guy

So, one of the main reasons wRPGs are held up as the darling of the industry here and elsewhere is because of the non-linearity they give you. The ability to choose how, when and where you tackle a given situation, whether through diplomacy, stealth, combat, or something else more or less devious than what was previously written here. For some reason, people seem to think that 'being the bad guy' automatically makes a game deeper and better.

A good example of why this really doesn't fit is to look at the Molochean Hand from Arcanum. They're an order of assassins that is dedicated to hunting you and your party down to ensure that the knowledge you possess cannot be used against them. Alright, fine, there's your antagonist. Halfway through the game, however, you infiltrate a camp of the Molochean Hand, and one of the options you have is to walk up to their leader, reveal your identity, and ask for acceptance into the Hand.
Clearly, there are several glaring inconsistencies with asking to join a guild that has been trying to murder you for most of the game.

How do we avoid this, you ask?
Well, the first way is to not give any meaningful choices at all, like, say, in Mass Effect. The dialogue tree is split up into three segments, all of which have the exact same outcome, the only real difference being the words your character says and the colour of the option. This, naturally, limits the game's capacity for non-linearity and generally dumbs the whole affair down.

The second way is to make several bad guys, all of whom aren't really that bad. Examples of this would include The Witcher, where you have to pick between the townsfolk who grew greedy, corrupt and decadent, murdering and stealing from one another, or a witch who used her magic to manipulate the situation to her own profit.

Another example would be Deus Ex, where you're definitely allied against the 'bad guy'(Bob Page), but you have to choose which one of your 'allies' to side with; the former ruler of a secret organisation that wants information control returned to them, the hacker who wants to see the technology that made this nightmare possible destroyed and for humanity to regress, or the AI who wants to rule the world benevolenty and perfectly.







The final way is to make the bad guys 'good guys' in a sense. Examples include Fallout, where The Master was convinced that The Unity was truly the only way to prevent life from dying out.


Basically what I mean is that I'd take a handful of meaningful choices over a comprehensive set of unbelievable or inconsequential choices anyday.



6 Comments

Now this is how you support a game

They just released another patch for The Witcher, look at the features:

"Modifications:
- copy securities (DRM) are removed
- playing the game no longer requires the game disc in the drive
- patch solves problems with EAX and blurred graphics

Additionally:
- 5 bonus adventures made by the Witcher community: ‘Deceits’, ‘Blight of the Bogs’, ‘Wraiths of Quiet Hamlet’, ‘The Wedding’, ‘Merry Witchmas’."


So basically they removed any forms of copy protection, fixed the few remaining bugs with the game, and threw in some of the best fanmade quests for the hell of it.

This is the same company which ironed out and polished practically the whole game, rerecorded over 500 lines of dialogue, improved the graphics, and released the patch for free.

They also released the soundtrack and modding kits for free and have actively been endorsing the most popular mods for their game.

Quite a heartening example in this age of Horse Armour and $60 expansion packs.

9 Comments

First impressions

Wow, this is the most unforgiving game I've played in a while. I mean, I died, like 5 times on the tutorial, just trying to get the landing from the zipline right.
Not to say that's a bad thing. The atmosphere, music and gameplay really come together during some puzzles or scenes(sliding down that ramp and then jumping past the chopper).
Then again, it gets annoying dying on the same jump 15 times, or hearing the Blues, scurrying over the nearest wall, and realising you've just vaulted off a skyscraper.
At the end of the day, the issues are all my fault, and I'm planning on giving this a replay(HARD MODE, NO RUNNER VISION, FINAL DESTINATION) just to perfect my skills.
One thing I really don't get is the skid-roll when coming out of a large fall- how far in advance should you press it? Because I always land and take damage.

4 Comments

Don't just stand there, come in!(this time mind your manners)

Is it just me, or is Float32 the only mod necessary to really enjoy STALKER? I say this only because last time I played the unupdated, unmodded version, got to the mission where you have to defend the Loners in Garbage, and quit in disgust.
Then I updated to 1.5, installed Float32, and started playing reasonably tactically, and I'm fucking loving it so far. The only thing that's really bothering me so far is the shitty 1 day time limit on quests, but I don't need the rubles anyway.

5 Comments

The different types of videogame storylines

"Trying too hard"-Quite a few JRPGs, Halo 3

You know these. They're the ones that hink they're coming up with brilliant storyline and atmosphere, acting like they raising the bar for stories in general, and end up falling on their face due to taking themselves too seriously.

"Inspired in all regards"-Bioshock, GTAIV
These are the ones that do it best. Great story, brilliant dialogue, awesome atmosphere, the works.

"Simplistic, but not bad"-Zelda, Pokemon
These are the ones that feature the typical small-town farmer/young man going on to battle an ancient power, discover his true nature, and save the world. Not very bad, but nothing special.

"It's there if you want it"-DOA, Crackdown, Postal
The stories are bland and unimportant, are hardly referenced within the game itself, and basically serve as an excuse to fuck shit up.

"Cliched awesomeness"-Devil May Cry, Command and Conquer
The ones that introduce ham-acting supervillians, mind control and time travel in an attempt to emulate shitty B-list movies. Very, very nice.

"Undefinable"- Portal, Shadow of The Colossus
Games that do something different and unclassifiable with their stories. I refer, naturally, to the simultaneously eerie and absurd humour of Portal and the wonderful ambiguity of Shadow of The Colossus

"Everything else"- Stuff that does'nt fall into any of these extremes, like the first Halo, Fable, Halflife 2, stuff like that.
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