After recently just finishing Deus Ex Human Revolution (I know! but i need to work!) it got me thinking about decision making in games past and present, and how it affects your overall opinion of a game.
After the credits had rolled I found myself thinking about the ending, did I really need 4 choices? Yes I had just spent the best part of 8 hours deciding how my Jensen fit into this brave new world but at no point did i really feel that this could have implications on how the game would actually end.
The beautiful thing about this game is that it gives you a thousand and one different ways to play through the game. You can be a cold blooded killer and slay your way to the end without remorse or any other moral implications, you can employ stealth and patients to quietly work your way through the story arc silently and non-lethally dealing with your adversaries.
Why give me 4 choices to decide the outcome of the story arc which up to this point with albeit a few minor moral choices had been pretty linear. Donít get me wrong it's good that developers are giving us this option placing us as the key decision maker, letting us decide how OUR adventure ends and when it works out boy does it work. But when it doesnít......
In Deus ex Eidos has created a fascinating, rich world full of back story (if your willing to hack the 100's of desktops) and atmosphere, they have kept me enthralled throughout the game with a snappy narrative, great plot developments and some really vibrant characters (Litita and ALL bosses not with standing) I trust them to be able to tell me how the story ends.
I could go on and on about the different emotions and thoughts that Deus Ex evoked in me but thatís not really what this blog is about....honest.
It got me thinking, does my dislike for morality and choice based games make me a bad or even worse a boring gamer
To explain I had to go back, WAY back to the games that first captured my imagination and set my expectations for the rest of my gaming days.
Games from the 80's to mid 90's defined my love of this medium and perhaps is having an impact on my love for it now. With Mario you had a clearly defined goal and a clearly defined outcome how you got there was in constant flux, you could fly your way to victory , eat magic mushrooms, use magic flutes to aid you in your quest. You could spray fools with fireballs or stomp the shit out of Goomba's. But the end game was always without question.
Save the princess, kick the shit of Bowser and go home for some cheese burgers and sweet sweet princess loving. Ok the last part was always slightly ambiguous but you see were I am going with this.
I am sure there are NES,SNES and Genesis lovers out there who can point me in the direction of a plethora of moral decision making games for that generation, but for 10 year old xeon they just didnít exist.
Donít get me wrong like I mentioned earlier when a game introduces moral based choices and outcomes that feedback into those choices and it actually works I LOVE them.
A few examples of that are the fallout (with the exception of New Vegas) and the elder scrolls series if I want to pillage, rape, and just generally be an out and out prick I can, and as a result the world I am living in reacts to this. Certain quests will no longer be available for my dick of a character , NPC's will react with fear and disgust at the sight of me. Like wise if my character is a shinning examples of altruism a beacon of hope, I will be revered wherever I roam NPC's will provide me with small gifts as tokens of their appreciation.
But the end result is mostly the same, you have your set endings ( And I know this sounds like I am contradicting myself but bare with me.) you can choose the asshole ending fuck everyone over and walk off into the sunset with the swag and wench underarm. Or you can take one for the team, be the hero that you have throughout the game set out to be. It makes sense.
To counter balance that, Fallout New Vegas had a million permutations to the ending a million choices to decide who rules Nevada for evermore it just felt like to much....... to the extent I have not finished the game.
I want to be given an ending that I feel I have helped create. I want this without multiple play throughs and for it to feel relevant to the character I have shaped for 10+ hours, and why????
Well i think its a combination of things, I am lazy I do not have the time anymore to play through 4 or 5 different endings to get the one i feel relates better to me as a person and a gamer. Does that make me stupid? lazy? Boring? unimaginative? ungrateful?
Yes probably all of the above! As someone who used to have countless hours to dedicate to a proper game it sickens me slightly that i just dont have the fortitude, patience or time to make a decision that will sum up my overall experience of a game on the off chance I regret it and have to reload a save game to go back and change the decision.
I suppose choices are like opinions and opinions are like assholes........
What do you guys think? How do you feel about moral decisions in games today?