Goddamn. (Endgame Spoilers)

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#101 Edited by Laiv162560asse (487 posts) -

@Phished0ne: I didn't examine the full Errant Signals breakdown of Spec Ops, because I've heard various glowing analyses of Spec Ops and I already know that I don't agree with any of them (apart from the bits which praise its bravery). I just latched onto the comments about ludonarrative dissonance, because I'm getting a little tired of seeing R* games held up as grievous offenders in this regard when they actually use several subtle techniques that other games don't bother to use, while games with more primitive approaches to blending gameplay and narrative, such as Spec Ops, get a bit of a free pass. To me, the rote combat in Spec Ops didn't feel wrong in a morally unsettling sense - such as the borderline surreal sequences in Apocalypse Now - or a morally stirring sense - such as watching villagers getting beaten to a pulp in Platoon - it just felt wrong in a kind of dumb way, in that the cheapness of life and the silliness of the action during the gameplay took away from the gravity and seriousness of what it was aiming for in the cut scenes. Max Payne 3 is IMO more successful in this regard, because your enemies are believable; while shooting gangsters is massive fun, the damage you do to them is obscene and distasteful, which resonates with Max's own distaste for everything that's going on. Max Payne's action thematically resembles the Flight of the Valkyries scene more, imo.

I generally don't agree with the 'meta-commentary' argument with Spec Ops as it stands. I believe you can either have a story which poses you deep moral questions by being emotionally affecting, or you can have a game which draws attention to its own bad mechanics in an attempt at some kind of meta-commentary on gaming, but you can't effectively do both simultaneously. Either the strong storytelling will make the game systems less visible (as in, say, The Walking Dead) or the shoddy mechanics will dilute the emotional weight of your story, as they did for me with Spec Ops. I also just think that 2K aimed for the former - the emotionally affecting story - but then emphasised the meta-narrative aspect afterwards, when they failed to succeed in making the in-game choices seem naturalistic.

#102 Edited by Buckwatters (141 posts) -

@Napalm: I loved the game too. I would highly recommend listening to the "post-mortem" podcast, Jeff and the lead writer for the game did, a lot of questions are answered in it. Also, Walker is dead the entire time and the game is basically purgatory at least according to the writer. There are two sets of transitions that happen in the game, either the game will transition using black or white to transition the scene. I believe scenes that transition using black are actual events and those using white are all in Walker's head, so the end of the game uses white meaning he never actually is rescued and all of the events of the game are meant to be a form of purgatory for Walker (this semi-explains the two helicopter sequences). The beginning of the game uses a white transition as well if I remember correctly. Again, this is something the writer covers in that podcast and I might be miss-remembering his words so check it out if you're really interested.

#103 Edited by Phished0ne (2483 posts) -

@Laivasse said:

]

I generally don't agree with the 'meta-commentary' argument with Spec Ops as it stands. I believe you can either have a story which poses you deep moral questions by being emotionally affecting, or you can have a game which draws attention to its own bad mechanics in an attempt at some kind of meta-commentary on gaming, but you can't effectively do both simultaneously. Either the strong storytelling will make the game systems less visible (as in, say, The Walking Dead) or the shoddy mechanics will dilute the emotional weight of your story, as they did for me with Spec Ops. I also just think that 2K aimed for the former - the emotionally affecting story - but then emphasised the meta-narrative aspect afterwards, when they failed to succeed in making the in-game choices seem naturalistic.

We are at an impasse then. I dont think you can posit that 2K "emphasized" the meta-narrtive. I really think the community did that. I dont remember seeing any Ads for spec ops that said "PLAY THIS GAME THAT IS A SOCIAL COMMENTARY OF THE STATE OF VIDEO GAMES". That stuff didnt really come to light until people actually played the game and were smacked in the face with the "definition of cognitive dissonance" loading screen, paired with Konrad staring right at the screen saying "YOU came here wanting to be a hero". The writers wrote that stuff, not 2K, and as i stated earlier, 2K was on board.

Who knows how much they knew about the meta-commentary. They could have only looked at the 'emotional impact' scenes. I really think 2K had little to do with the development cycle of the game. This seems to be corroborated by interviews done with the writers and Cory Davis. The only time 2K stepped in was to say there HAD to be multiplayer, made by another dev(if you believe the interviews). Of course the writers could be backpedaling and saying "yeah we meant that to happen" but if you are *that* jaded, how do you consume any media?

#104 Edited by Laiv162560asse (487 posts) -

Sorry, I meant to say Yager, as in the writers, not 2K. I had Patrick's voice in my head, talking about 2K releasing Spec Ops, while I was typing. EDIT: got the devs' name wrong again.

@Phished0ne said:

Of course the writers could be backpedaling and saying "yeah we meant that to happen" but if you are *that* jaded, how do you consume any media?

Very sparingly :P

#105 Posted by Phished0ne (2483 posts) -

@Laivasse: Thats kinda my point. Pop, bubblegum media has trampled the idea that originally, stuff was kinda *supposed* to have a message. Movies started out as a medium for telling intriguing, interesting stories that had messages( hell, Citizen Kane, Casablanca, The Maltese Falcon, and The Great Dictator all were created within the first 15-20 years of "talkies"[granted a few of those were book adaptations] ). Then evolved from an artistic medium to a means to make money. Video games(due to the nature of player agency making it harder to effectively tell stories) has the immensely harder road to climb. Starting as a means to make money and trying to evolve into an artistic medium. People easily forget that there could be deeper meanings, because they have been trained to do so.

#106 Posted by Napalm (9020 posts) -

@Buckwatters: Was that really necessary? This topic is over four months old. I couldn't give a shit less about SOTL right now, or ever, actually.

#107 Posted by CornBREDX (4815 posts) -
@Napalm: I don't think he meant to make you mad. Just some random guy replying to a topic about something he is currently invested in. You just so happen to be at the top of it haha =P
#108 Posted by Bourbon_Warrior (4523 posts) -

@Napalm said:

@SlightConfuse said:

so its like the resnov thing in black ops

Yeah, except the story doesn't suck fucking ass.

Black Ops was a pretty cool story IMO

#109 Posted by ArcticPlumber (14 posts) -

@VierasTalo: I ended up shooting myself as well. Exactly as you put it, on character. He just realised he's a monster and couldn't live with it. Also, in a strange way I felt it redeemed me as a player to kill the bad guy at the end, even if it was me.

#110 Posted by SharkEthic (1004 posts) -

@Commander_Crichton said:

I just finished watching a playthrough of it, and yeah, I agree, that ending is fucking nuts. As soon as payday rolls around I am definitely going to buy this game.

But... You already know the ending and the gameplay is shit?

#111 Posted by Morrow (1828 posts) -

@SharkEthic said:

@Commander_Crichton said:

I just finished watching a playthrough of it, and yeah, I agree, that ending is fucking nuts. As soon as payday rolls around I am definitely going to buy this game.

But... You already know the ending and the gameplay is shit?

Still a great experience. I read everything about this game and watched all the cutscenes on YouTube weeks before I bought it, and it still drew me in emotionally. I mean, I actually enjoyed killing the civilians who hung Lugo. Incredible what that game does to your mind.

I usually never play any shooters, by the way. So the impact might have been even bigger if I belonged to the target audience.

#112 Posted by slowbird (1635 posts) -

I bought this game when it was on sale and I'm fascinated by the story. Usually when the ending goes all bad like that, I get mad and hate the game/movie/whatever. But in this case, I think I liked it because I knew that Walker had done a lot of bad stuff and had to pay the price.

Online
#113 Edited by Tennmuerti (8005 posts) -

Finally decided to pick it up before end of the year bombcast talks start and it was going to be spoiled for me completely.

Sadly all the people talking up the games story and ending just completely overhyped it for me. And while I did not know specific story spoilers. By the time the end happened it neither surprised nor shocked nor felt in any way impactfull.

The disjointed nature of the narrative never made me feel like a hero in the first place (rather it felt like a bunch of contrived fuckups one after another after another to make good intentions into disastrous consequences), so nothing could be taken away to make me feel like a good guy realizing hes a bad guy. When a game artificially forces me into shit situations and they don't come as a result of my own decisions then tries to make me feel bad or question morality it just doesn't work. Now if those bad things actually happaned because of what I as a player chose to do, then it might have actually made me stop and think for a second (or if they were bad events caused knowingly and not contrived). The reveal that the main protagonist is insane/delusional just felt hamfisted to me, serving little purpose but to serve as a reveal. It didn't make me feel any different about the previous ingame events.

In short the game didn't make me question morality, either my own, or in shooters, or that of the game itself. So kinda a wif on an intelectual front.

Meh.

...

I guess in a way I'm envious of people that felt something after finishing it, either negative or positive. I just didn't feel much of anything on an emotional level. And I'm the type of guy who gets emotional about stories and settings frequenlty, movies, books, games. Hell I tear up at emotional stuff all the time. (even Metro 2033 which i only got around to this year, made me feel more involved and sad and question morality and think longer about the end then Spec Ops the Line, and even having only a single ending choice made me feel more in control and more responsible for my actions)

#114 Posted by Laiv162560asse (487 posts) -

@Tennmuerti: You're certainly not alone in feeling this way about it. I felt very similarly: that it was a contrived series of morally bleak 'gotcha!' moments concluded with a hamfisted twist, all of it bookending dire gameplay that only served to further disinvest me from the shaky plot. The loading screen messages just felt like misplaced self-satisfaction on the part of the writers, in the sense they were based on the presumption I was feeling moral turmoil that in actuality I wasn't feeling. "How many Americans have you killed today?" I dunno, naturally I lost count of the ludicrous numbers of spawn waves that have no semblance of reality. Maybe if I'd killed a believable amount, I'd have an emotional response other than annoyance.

Although it's thematically brave, it's not remotely the watershed moment in storytelling for shooters that some claim it is. In terms of storytelling accomplishment I'd rate it around the same level as Sleeping Dogs. My mind boggles at the idea of the book that's coming out.

#115 Posted by CreepyUncleBrad (165 posts) -

It seems a lot of people think that the main character and Konrad are the same person. I didn't think that was it at all. He was just putting the blame on Konrad because he couldn't handle the truth. So it isn't really just a fight club twist or anything.

#116 Posted by AuthenticM (3699 posts) -

This game needs to win the Best Story award this year. It fucking has to. Screw your Walking Dead.

#117 Posted by CoolMarquis97 (8 posts) -

Story was fucking amazing. Got the game for Christmas and wasn't really expecting much as it had came out earlier in the year and didn't hear much noise about it. Decided to sit down and playthrough it and all I can say is I'm happy to have gotten this. The story for me at least was so unexpected. I tried to be a good guy but as the game continued I could just see Walker changing for the worst. Once the ending hit I was completely amazed on how well the story truly was.

#118 Edited by durden77 (302 posts) -

Just finished this game for the first time. There is so much I could talk about, so much. But I've already been thinking about it so much, and don't want to lose my entire day typing.

But I loved it. Absolutely loved it. Loved it's depiction of a believable breakdown, I loved it's fixation on how going too far can lead to horrible results no matter what your intentions were, and I loved it's commentary on general human mindsets and the games we play today. Hell, if gaming is a big enough hobby for you, I fell like this game can damn near define you as a person.

This is game that I think more and more people will look back at over time and truly respect in many areas. Not to mention, it literally advances game story-telling in certain areas. Fan-fucking-tastic.

#119 Posted by BisonHero (6193 posts) -

@Napalm said:

@Buckwatters: Was that really necessary? This topic is over four months old. I couldn't give a shit less about SOTL right now, or ever, actually.

Why you gotta be a dick about it? You're the one who made the main thread about the ending of the game. Good for you for apparently switching opinions with ease, but it certainly seemed like you gave a shit about SOTL back when you made this thread.

#120 Edited by CannedBread (23 posts) -

@CreepyUncleBrad: They're not the same person, 'Walker is Konrad' is the same as 'Shepard is indoctrinated', it's a tinfoil hat theory. It requires spectacular leaps of logic, like how a General who lead a DIVISION, fucked up an evacuation, ignored orders to withdraw, manages to come back to the Army and successfully passes himself off as a Captain in a SF group, instead of immediately getting arrested and court martialed.

You also have to ignore that your teammates act as if they've known Walker for a long time, and a lot of other things, basically the whole 'theory' is pretty dumb.

#121 Posted by Ravenlight (8040 posts) -

@CannedBread said:

@CreepyUncleBrad: They're not the same person, 'Walker is Konrad' is the same as 'Shepard is indoctrinated', it's a tinfoil hat theory. It requires spectacular leaps of logic, like how a General who lead a DIVISION, fucked up an evacuation, ignored orders to withdraw, manages to come back to the Army and successfully passes himself off as a Captain in a SF group, instead of immediately getting arrested and court martialed.

You also have to ignore that your teammates act as if they've known Walker for a long time, and a lot of other things, basically the whole 'theory' is pretty dumb.

I agree that leaps of logic have to be made, but you can sort of explain them away if you assume that:

  • Lugo and Adams never really existed.
  • Any scenes not occurring in Dubai were created by a shattered mind unable to cope with the massive failure that the evac operation was.
  • Konrad/Walker is literally the only person left alive in Dubai.

I don't 100% agree with this theory but there are ways to make it seem more plausible.

#122 Posted by Hizang (8534 posts) -

Just beat it, when Konrad was giving me the choice to shoot him or be shot, I shot myself. I thought thats what the character would do in that situation, even if he was to live he couldn't have lived with his actions.

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