Story points were just a hair away from "Games can be Art"

#1 Edited by allworkandlowpay (873 posts) -

Spoilers, obviously.

This game really likes to toy with your heartstrings, and does so very well. The reused Jenny loss motif was done just enough to not get annoying, and the mental illness plot twist really added a lot of dimension to the story. The actually chose the "Stay with Jenny" ending first, and was by far an artistic, beautifully done ending which, if it were the "true ending" of the game, would've placed it on that "games can be art, yo" mantle that so many people like to use to show off the medium. The "stay with Jenny" ending forces you to come to one of two conclusions:

a) Jackies mob life and Darkness powers are just delusions, and he loves a woman he can never really have.

or

b) Jackie's inability to let Jenny go has forced himself to surrender to the Darkness' tricks, accepting defeat and living in a fantasy world as he is being rebuilt to be an empty shell for the evil power.

Both options are absolutely fantastic and really grow (or in the later case, complete) the characters growth. The slowdance at the end with Nurse Jenny/Fake Jenny is also oddly much more heartfelt than the true ending. I actually found myself choking up a bit as it faded to credits.

It's a shame then, that the "true ending" is such a poor one. Ultimately there is no character growth in it, just a shallow cliff hanger to set up another antagonist, to continue Jackie's one note Jenny revenge quest to Darkness III.

I for one will be accepting only the previously discussed ending as the true ending, because in either scenario, it's just fucking poetic.

#2 Posted by cstrang (2381 posts) -

I think the story was pretty well done. It's definitely leaps and bounds better than the average FPS story. The asylum bits actually kept me guess, going through the "what the fuck is going on" motions with Jackie. The only thing that bothered me was the occasional mention of Jackie's interaction with his father. Not only were they not necessary, but they were also not true to the source material. In the comic, Jackie never met his father because The Darkness kills the host once the host has impregnated a woman. I know it's a pretty petty grievance, but it was a pretty big plot-point in the first run of the comic.

I haven't actually seen the "Stay with Jenny" ending yet -- I chose to reject the asylum my first time through. I'm excited to see how it goes after I finish NG+.

#3 Posted by nintendoeats (5975 posts) -

The thing is, non-interactive story points can't prove that games are art, becuase the distinctive element of games IS their interactivity. I will argue to the death that games are art, but simply having a deep plotline is not enough to act as evidence to that effect.

#4 Posted by Phatmac (5686 posts) -

Games aren't art so no.

#5 Posted by ImmortalSaiyan (4655 posts) -

I don't like how you are implying that Art can be achieved with the right pieces. As if there were some scale that we placed creations on and the game just needed a good ending to elevate it one notch into art. Makes the label of art lose any meaning.

#6 Posted by UnrealDP (1217 posts) -

@allworkandlowpay: Not only does it end with a shitty cliff hanger, it also ends in the most obvious way possible, I mean, christ! A friend of mine guessed the ending and he's never even played it. Every moment of that game does such a good job of playing out smoothly elegantly, and with restraint, yet still managing to sometimes turn left when you think it's going right, but that ending destroys all of that! It's so goddamn obvious and it felt so blunt and shitty. It totally undid a lot of that game for me.

#7 Posted by Napalm (9020 posts) -

@Phatmac said:

Games aren't art so no.

Nope.

#8 Edited by big_jon (5657 posts) -

@Phatmac said:

Games aren't art so no.

You're a fucking moron, leave our site please, and thanks.

#9 Posted by Masha2932 (1237 posts) -

I think the Jenny stuff is overused in the game. It was profound in the original because it was unexpected but in the darkness 2 every few chapters Jenny shows up. It just feels forced for some reason. Otherwise the gameplay is fun but it sucks that it's so short. I was able to finish the game in one afternoon on the normal difficulty. I would have loved some challenge maps where you are tasked with killing enemies using the darkness in various ways.

#10 Posted by allworkandlowpay (873 posts) -

@Masha2932 said:

I think the Jenny stuff is overused in the game. It was profound in the original because it was unexpected but in the darkness 2 every few chapters Jenny shows up. It just feels forced for some reason. Otherwise the gameplay is fun but it sucks that it's so short. I was able to finish the game in one afternoon on the normal difficulty. I would have loved some challenge maps where you are tasked with killing enemies using the darkness in various ways.

I felt like they used it well if they were to have used it to show it being Jackie's undoing. The loss of Jenny was Jackie's trial by fire in the second game; his obsession that, left unresolved, would force him to lose everything, even his sanity. the "stay with her" ending finished that arc nicely.

#11 Posted by Phatmac (5686 posts) -

@big_jon: Thanks for that. Here are my main points as to why they still aren't art as a whole, provided by Jeff Gerstmann.

#12 Posted by Phatmac (5686 posts) -

Also those parts are terrible. Reminding people about Jenny's death over and over again is driven to the ground. People just like to cling to these moments because video games don't tend to have these kinds of moments often. They're special in a medium that has mostly bad story telling, so they're impressive to some that look for these kinds of moments. I was underwhelmed as to what I've seen lately from the Darkness 2 and it's story telling moments. Just my two cents, sorry for the double post.

#13 Posted by TrulyAlive (897 posts) -

Games have the capacity to be art. Just because every game doesn't invoke emotional resonance doesn't matter. Most films don't make me 'feel' anything, but movies can definitely be art.

Is The Darkness art? I'd say so. By restricting your involvement at a crucial point within the story, it affected me as an interactive medium. Same goes for Bioshock (although I'd argue Bioshock is artistic more for it's commentary on the state of games as a medium).

Is The Darkness II art? I don't think so. I really dig the plot and the plot has the capacity to be artistic in and of itself but as an interactive medium, it does little to justify being called artistic and generally, though I like the plot, I think it is too hamfisted in a lot of ways to really qualify..

I'm not saying anybody here is wrong, especially given that there isn't any real definition for what constitutes 'art', but this is my personal perspective on the whole thing.

#14 Posted by JasonR86 (9372 posts) -

I hope that there will be a day when those that say 'Games' and 'Art' in the same sentence just get shot as soon as the sentence ends.

#15 Posted by JazGalaxy (1577 posts) -

@Phatmac said:

Also those parts are terrible. Reminding people about Jenny's death over and over again is driven to the ground. People just like to cling to these moments because video games don't tend to have these kinds of moments often. They're special in a medium that has mostly bad story telling, so they're impressive to some that look for these kinds of moments. I was underwhelmed as to what I've seen lately from the Darkness 2 and it's story telling moments. Just my two cents, sorry for the double post.

Spot on. And moreover, I don't understand what the preoccupation is with games being "art". The unspoken sentiment is that if games could be considered art, gamers would have validation as being high brow intellectuals instead of frito addicted shut ins. But who cares? And crying over little bits of melodrama in the midst of a game that is essentially a murder simulator (I love games as much as the next game addict, but let's be real) isn't going to win anybody over.

As a gamer, I think the the hobby doesn't need validation and chasing after the whole "Art achievemnt" thing rubs me the wrong way. Too many gameplay concessions are made in the search of this lofty validation of the medium and it doesn't need it. If you want to make electornic art, go do that. THe mokiner of game is just holding you back. But if you want to stick to this hobby and make games, then please concentrate on that. I think that's hwat Jaffe was saying in his recent monologue and I agree with him.

#16 Posted by Demoskinos (13847 posts) -

Can we beat this dead horse any more?

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