A word of warning, though; I think she might be biased.
A word of warning, though; I think she might be biased.
One of my other major narrative-related annoyances was in the way other characters usually interact with Isaac, especially when they want him to do something for them, which I already not-so-subtly hinted at somewhere above. Every time the player has to do something new, the support characters will usually explain it to Isaac as if he’s retarded and doesn’t know what he’s doing, even though he’s supposed to be a particularly skilled engineer who’s been making a living working on ships like the Ishimura for a while now (He even gets this shit from his suit, which blurts out this little gem of advice at the very beginning; “Use run to move quickly”). Not only does it make no sense, but it’s also unnecessary, because even if you don’t know what you’re supposed to be doing, there’s a perfectly good locator button (Which projects a line on the floor to tell you what direction to go), and if you absolutely must know what it is the support character meant by “start the engines,” you can just go to the objectives menu where Isaac himself will tell you what you need to do via text commentary (Which is usually nothing more complicated than “go near a panel and press a button” or “grab macguffin ‘A’ and bring it to place ‘B’”). Hell, if Isaac had been a speaking character, they could have done something like what Oddworld: Stranger’s Wrath did and had a button that made him talk to himself about what he needs to do, which would make more sense than you’d think, given Isaac’s rather tenuous mental state even early on in the game (He’s hearing voices within the first thirty minutes; talking to himself isn’t that much of a stretch at that point).
Mostly for fun, I made a crossword puzzle. It’s going to be in the last issue of my school newspaper, but I figured I’d post it here too. So print it, do it in Photoshop/MS Paint, use it to kill headcrabs with; whatever you want. If you actually finish it, though, be sure to tell me so I can give you an imaginary trophy, ‘cause there’s like thirty-eight different clues and a lot of them are pretty tricky.
Have fun with that.
So let’s get this shit rollin’ with an essay of sorts, aboooouuut… Now. Also, here there be spoilers, so proceed at your own risk.
So the first Dead Space was a decent game. Not great, but decent. It brought enough new ideas to the table to make it feel fresh, and besides the prevalence of dictatorial fetch quests, the gameplay ultimately worked. There was one thing in the narrative department that always bugged me, however. It was the fact that the protagonist, Isaac Clarke, never spoke. Not that that’s always a problem. In fact, I usually see the whole silent protagonist hook as a good thing when it’s handled right (See Half-Life for more details). But Dead Space missed the point about as thoroughly as is humanly possible, that point being that the player is the protagonist, not just controlling the protagonist’s actions. Dead Space makes its first mistake when it expects you to actually feel sorry for Isaac because he’s looking for his girlfriend or whatever. The way they should have done it if making us sympathize with Isaac was their main goal would have been to characterize Isaac in as endearing a light as possible, so as to make us care what happened to him and, subsequently, to the people he cared about (Assassin’s Creed II did this with Ezio). If having a silent protagonist was more their cup of tea, they should have characterized the girlfriend in such a way that the player would have an emotional attachment to her, and care about what happens to her (Alyx Vance from the Half-Life series comes to mind).
So, all that being said, here’s what I find so interesting about the upcoming sequel; Isaac is actually going to speak, and he’s just a bit mentally unstable. But I’m not talking just depressed, PTSD, shell-shocked vet kind of unstable; I’m talking scribbling crazy shit on the walls, attacking the orderlies, getting yelled at by his dead girlfriend, can’t be sure what’s real and what’s not, stone-cold fucking nuts. Apparently he’s actually going to be stuck in a mental institution at the beginning of the game.
There’s just something in the idea that, as a result of his horrific experiences on the Ishimura, his mind has simply snapped, that speaks to me in a way that’s hard to explain (It’s probably related to my love of Johnny the Homicidal Maniac in some way). There’s also the fact that, despite his motivation from the first game (His girlfriend) being gone, he can still find the drive to set aside his fears and face the necromorph horde for a second time. I just see a lot of potential for in-depth storytelling and characterization in that, you know? Gameplay iterations, like being able to maneuver in in zero-G, new weapons, new environments, and new enemies only help to heighten my excitement.
But I’ve seen potential like this squandered before, and there’s still plenty of time for Visceral to majorly fuck something up, so here’s me with my fingers crossed until early 2011, when this thing comes out.
When I first made this Tumblr account, I had no real plans for it, and no real idea of how I’d use it or what kind of stuff I’d be posting on it. But after about three minutes of thought about ten minutes ago, I’ve decided to turn it into a sort of personal media blog, for reviews and essays and whatnot. Sort of like a marriage of Electric Death Trip Media and Fully Ramblomatic, only with better grammar than the former and written by a slightly less awesome(ly British) person than the latter.
The first thing I’ll do is probably to tweak a few of the game reviews I did for my school newspaper and post those, then, as my summer gets rolling, I’ll post more stuff, and not just for video games (That’s why it’s a media blog and not just a video game blog). Whether I get any notoriety for this or not, well… We’ll see.