Posts Tagged ‘Nier’

Video Games: What is beating a game anymore?

A few weeks back my family and I were having a discussion about video games. I was going on a rant about how Heavy Rain was amazing for the sheer fact that it had so many potential outcomes. I made the mistake of saying “…the first time I beat Heavy Rain…” and the question was asked “Well…if you can have so many different endings then what constitutes beating a video game?”

Mario Brothers Box Art

Back when the only decision was to jump now...or jump now

Back when I was a young whipper snapper the 8-bit Nintendo came out. We were shown a world of plumbers, pipes, and princesses with a very definite beginning, middle, and end. Even as gaming progressed video games had very specific and classic sense of novelization that took the user through a world that they had little real control over. Yes one could argue the point that the death of the main character was in fact a decision that a player could make that could indeed affect the outcome of a video game. However the main point holds true that you had to live within the confines of the main character and do what needed to be done to progress to the next level…literally.

As gaming went on it never changed. Then we began to see video games like the first Black and White and The Sims which allowed to user to make some decisions or (in the case of The Sims) all decisions that affected the life of the character. This concept was revolutionary but seemingly slow to reach maturity. In fact it may still be in its maturation phase.

Video games like Fable offered a very distinct ability to play in a variety of ways. Whichever path you chose to take (be it good or evil) would have an effect on those around you. More specifically how they reacted to you and interacted with you. If you want to grow devil horns and have everyone run away screaming, kick every man, woman, child, and chicken you see. But lets be honest…who didn’t love a good Chicken Kickin’ every now and again?

Video games like Mass Effect and Dragon Age: Origins, while not the first, were quite good at establishing very distinct paths of right and wrong. You actions and reactions altered how your party interacted with you, or even hung around your character. The downside is that you could clearly see which path you were going to take. You could easily mold your character into the saint or bastard you wanted them to be without much of a challenge.

Then comes a video game like Nier. Nier’s beauty is not in its imagery (far from it) but in it’s ability to coerce the user into playing again once the game has been beaten. It tells more of the story, provides more of a background. While it doesn’t force you to make decisions on the outcome, it (at the very least) makes you question if you’ve actually beaten it, or merely completed it.

Heavy Rain decisions

Heavy Rain's decisions can be confusing yet have strong outcomes

With video games like Heavy Rain the player has the ability to totally help or hinder the goals of the characters they control. While there are a finite number of endings, it is still a rather lengthy endeavor to witness all potential outcomes. So does beating the game mean seeing an ending? Does it mean seeing the specific ending you were attempting to see? The trick is that there are no right or wrong choices. There are simply choices. You won’t know what the outcome of your actions are until it’s all said and done. Ultimately this is part of what made it so interesting to play.

Shortly after I had this conversation I noticed a post that showed up on Wired by Jonathan Liu titled “Why aren’t games about winning anymore?” and it got me curious. Is this never ceasing quest for achievements and trophies a byproduct of or a reason for the ability to play a game multiple ways. Either way I agree that (at least what I took away was) video games today are a little too much about the achievements/trophies than actually whoopin’ the piss out of a green fire breathing dragon…turtle thing that stole a princess. While the story wasn’t very robust I’ll be damned if it wasn’t a blast to play.

Am I just one of a few rare holdouts who say “beat a game” in world where “finishing a game” is more appropriate? Is there a Facebook fan page for people like me?

And Jonathan, about your removal of the line that games today were made for an “ADHD crowd” I would just like to say that as someone who was diagnosed with ADHD almost 20 years ago that line was perfectly fine, and you needn’t worry about uptight readers who don’t like it. I found it to be a very apt and poignant critique on how video games are quick to dole out rewards for virtually nothing.

VN:F [1.9.11_1134]
Rating: 4.0/5 (1 vote cast)

Ugly Video Game Characters

In preparation for the eventual release of The Witcher 2 I find myself once again struck with a monumental problem with The Witcher. This is not a problem with gameplay, or graphics, or story but with the overall character itself. It’s the kind of video game that goes awry in the first 15 seconds because the main characters face flashed on your screen and you almost dive under whatever you’re sitting on because you’re afraid it’s so ugly it may just try and steal your soul.

Every video game has an ugly character or two and I can overlook them. But I find it difficult to get connected to, feel empathy for, or wish for the survival of my main character when all I can think is “Holy crap why did they make him so damn ugly?” I’m supposed to be living for a period of this person’s life. I’m supposed to assume their role and identify with them. Why would I want to? Is it supposed to be fun to have children and women run screaming at my very appearance and have farmers chase me with pitchforks until I eventually burn to death in a windmill (name that movie)? No, its not fun.

I know, I’m shallow. I’m a guy, its what I do.

Now you may be asking yourselves “What video games have such god awful ugly characters?” Well you’re in luck, I’ve made a short list for you:

Geralt of Riva: The Witcher

Oh crap, I think he just ate my soul.

Geralt of Riva: The Witcher/The Witcher 2

Let’s start out with the very reason for the post in the first place. Geralt of Riva is a damn ghoul. I mean just look at him, what redeeming quality is there in him. Everything about The Witcher’s main character screams “I’m going to sneak into your house in the middle of the night and abscond your virgin daughter.” He has all the look of Brett Michaels and none of the awesomeness.

And the most intriguing facet of The Witcher is the fact that you not only have numerous romantic conquests, but you get rewarded for them. Apparently when the world is going to shit and monsters roam the countryside any man will do when you need your quick lovin’ fix.

I can only imagine they sat in their design meeting and said “Man, Legolas was awesome. Lets make someone bad ass like him but instead of a bow lets give him a sword. That’s awesome! Now lets give him a large scar because scars are awesome! Okay now age him 30 years. Now make him look and sound like he smoked a pack a day for each of those 30 years. That’s AWESOME!”

Miranda Lawson: Mass Effect 2 - Ugly Video Game Characters

Please stop looking at me.

Miranda Lawson: Mass Effect 2

Oh how we here at PtC love our BioWare and pretty much everything that BioWare does. That being said, in Mass Effect 2, what the hell did they put on Miranda Lawson’s chin? What? What do you mean? That is her chin? Dear god why? Miranda should have been amazing! You start with Yvonne Strahovski give her a space ship and a gun and have her kill things. Throw in a sex scene and bam! That right there is a recipe for smokin’ hottie. Instead you get that…thing. Now she’s not all bad. There are absolutely worse looking models in the video game world. In fact everything before the Playstation 2 era is a bit…well….jagged and pointy.

Miranda Lawson Sex Scene - Mass Effect 2 - Ugly Video Game Characters

Mass Effect 2 has a butterface

The flipside is that the rest of Miranda is pretty damn nice. I find myself wanting to like her more. I feel this overwhelming compulsion to legitimately want to say to myself “I can cope with that” but to be honest I really cant. Is there a patch BioWare can issue that can fix her? Seriously?

In fact yes: BioWare (I know you’re reading this) please from all of us here at Polish the Console do something to fix Miranda Lawson’s god awful face.  Shave th chin down a bit. Make her less manly. Give her a softer look that makes the ass kickery all that much more…ass kicky.

Never in my life has underboob ever been seen in conjunction with the overwhelming desire to yell “PUT ON A HELMET!!”

Want to know the real head scratcher? We also think she’s hot. Explain that! So much so that she made into our Pin Up Gallery. Hell, even  we’re confused.

Nier: Gestalt - Old Nier

Nier Hungry

The Father: Nier

Once again I would like to state that I loved Nier. I thought it was awesome. I’m actually questioning its placement on this list because I loved it so much. I can play Nier for hours on end and never get tired of it. Nier is like having an ugly baby. You know its ugly. Whenever anyone looks at it they think its ugly. Nier is just that ugly. But you know what? It’s your ugly baby and you love it no matter what. That’s what Nier is to me. Nier is my ugly baby.

But Nier also tests the limits of how ugly something can be and still illicit a positive emotional response. Sure he’s supposed to be old. Sure he’s supposed to look like absolute hell. Sure his life pretty much mimics Gary Busey’s. But couldn’t they have at least dressed him in something relatively presentable? What’s this, no shirt? Are those raging pythons too big to be contained by anything that isn’t made of solid steel?

Marcus Fenix - Gears of War - Ugly Video Game Characters

Can he even wear a real shirt anymore?

Marcus Fenix: Gears of War/Gears of War 2

His can’t. Not at all. Not even mildly. Marcus Fenix of Gears of War cannot, at all, wear a normal shirt. Look at him. His wrist is the same size as his neck. Is this some medical condition we need to be aware of? How does he pick up nickels with those sausages he calls fingers? Can he even fit his hand into a pocket? This is a man that will crush a door knob when he tries to grasp it. I feel bad for any woman who attempts to hook up with him. If Marcus even thinks about it the woman feels sore.

Then there’s his face. Marcus Fenix looks like the guy you see out and around who never wears sleeves, always poses for the camera (usually some lame ass kissy face), and acts like a total douche to everyone around him while he sips his Long Island. You know who I’m talking about. It’s called the Jersey Shore. He looks like the kind of guy who would make a legitimate attempt to name himself after his favorite gym verb. I bet his friends call him Flex, or Bulk, or Pump. I just call him Giggles.

Killzone 2 - Ugly Video Game Characters

I petition to send them all the Helghan...now

Sev: Killzone 2

I’m sorry. Did I say Sev? I mean the whole damn team. Killzone 2 takes place on Helghan which is supposed to be an ugly planet full of ugly people. Good. Lets bomb them. They are pricks anyway. But holy crap can you throw at least one attractive team member our way so we can say “this guy would be fun to go out and watch a ball game with” instead of “why did he just reference Garza’s butthole and why is he so familiar with its odor?”

I mean yeah it sucks that Garza dies but I was kind of relieved I didn’t have to look at him anymore. Now what do I have to do in order to go rogue and not look at the rest of my team anymore? And for that matter what do I have to do in order to totally remove all mirrors from my immediate area at all times?

Max Payne: Max Payne

You know what? If you really want to know my thoughts, just read the caption below:

Max Payne - Max Payne - Ugly Video Game Characters

Can someone please get Max a stool softener from that gift shop in the back?

Now I ask you, who’s your ugly video game character of choice?

VN:F [1.9.11_1134]
Rating: 1.7/5 (25 votes cast)