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3:56 PM on 01.25.2010

Omnisexuality in Mass Effect?

One of the majour complaints of the original Mass Effect (aside from the pop-in and other graphical glitches) was the ability to engage in a relationship with Liara as a female Shepard, but not being able to have a relationship with a male character when male Shepard.

Recently uploaded on Youtube by user “lasangreal” were two videos containing hidden files found in the PC version of Mass Effect (and he even uploaded links to save games that I couldn't verify due to my having the 360 version).

The more controversial video is of male Shepard flirting with Kaiden before they start having sex. Most of the video is fully voiced, with only Kaiden still being able to speak after the sex has ended. True, Shepard becomes a woman during part of the cutscene and Kaiden refers to him as a woman after everything is finished, but the preceding dialogue clearly shows that work on the content had begun, even though it wasn't finished.

Another video uploaded by the same user was of female Shepard and Ashley doing the dirty (and being a lot more forward about it) and the whole thing is voiced.

This just has me wondering if whether or not Mass Effect 2 will carry the same controversy the original had or whether you can have a gay Shepard. Also, if the work for Ashley had already been completed, then why was it left out of the final release if not fear of backlash from the media (which wouldn't be surprising, considering the fits thrown in the media regarding the sex with “mono-gendered” Liara)?


[embed]161561:26901[/embed]   read

5:14 PM on 01.05.2010

Playing Single in a Multi-Player World

Gaming is a social past time now, usurping the roles once occupied by things such as hanging out at the mall or going to the movies. When I grew up, my favourite hobby was just on its way toward general acceptance (I was ten when FFVII came out...), but wasn't quite there. To this day, I still have people look at me oddly when I shout “Objection” at the conclusion to an Ace Attorney game.

Don't get me wrong, I have a PSN account and Xbox Live Gold, and quite enjoy talking to people in a party while playing a game. I just never play games with the people I'm talking to. In fact, the last multi-player game I played was Brawl.

Many games companies will tack on a last minute multi-player component to a game to help it sell well, be it competitive or co-op: some work well and some fail horribly. As much as I want to blame Halo and the like, there isn't anything wrong with being able to play a game with other people, provided it's done well. I just don't want to.

I grew up playing games alone. To be honest, there was the odd bout of co-op in Sonic 2 & 3, and whenever my brother brought his friends over we would play Goldeneye or Super Smash Brothers. Generally, though, it was a singular experience for me. I wouldn't even trade my Pokemon because I got too attached to them... still do, sometimes. (Naming Pokemon after Ace Attorney characters is unnecessarily awesome, by the way.)

The biggest thing, though, is that a lot of games I enjoy are single-player affairs. RPGs (no, I will never touch an MMO. I grind enough as it is), Adventure games, rogue-likes, etc. I've never been into the traditional competitive genres of fighting or sports games, and I only just started with FPS games in the last couple of years. A quick scan of my gaming shelves reveal maybe ten games with an interactive multi-player aspect (time trials are not being counted), and ten times as many that do not.

With the rise of gaming amongst the general populace and the internet bringing gamers together, people are playing with each other around the world and forming friendships with people they otherwise never would have met. And I continue to toil away at the grind in a voluntary isolation. There is no need for a 2P in Cross Edge or Touch Detective. And I'm content with that.   read

10:36 PM on 12.11.2009

Memoirs of a Sonic Fan

Being poor sucks. Being a poor gamer makes it hard to partake in all the discussions surrounding the newest games. As a result, I've been re-evaluating my backlog and passed over the proverbial Demon Souls and Madworlds in favour of something a little more familiar.

Despite having yet to complete Persona 3 (even though I beat Persona 4), put Demon Souls in my PS3, or get further than the first episode of the Wii release of Sam and Max, I went to my roots.

I was the kid who grew up in a multi-console world, so I never had the whole fanboy thing going on in my family. I was in a family of three kids who each got their own Gameboy (I remember playing Pokemon on the big grey brick while my friends were trading Vulpix's on the just-released Gameboy Colour) and we each had our own Gamegears. However, there was only one of each console.

My mother, hardly what I'd call a gamer despite loving her black DS and Super Princess Peach, has long held a love of Mario games. I'm not kidding when I say that she got farther into Super Mario World than I could ever dream. Then again, between her Mario marathons and the occasional bout of Mystical Ninja co-op with my brother and father (the only game my dad ever played was Mystical Ninja and he was really good at it), I didn't get much use with the SNES. To make up for it, I spent time with the Genesis.

My family was far from rich (don't ask me how we could afford the Gameboys and Gamegears), so until Goodwill and yard sales were flooded with old gaming carts, I had to make do with what we had. And what we had was excellence. There was Mickey Mouse's Castle of Illusions, Quackshot, some licensed games I don't remember, and the Sonic series.

Thus we get into the meat of this blog. Sonic became Sega's mascot for a reason: the games were incredibly popular. The reason they were popular? The games were good. They're still really good, even without retrogoggles.

The one-button control scheme was revolutionary and made the games easy to control whereas others at the time couldn't figure out how to properly make a game for a controller that lacked shoulder buttons. Of course, it wasn't until last year that I learned about the one-button mechanic because my 7-year-old brain mapped out different buttons for different actions, but I digress.

I'll admit here and now that the last Sonic game I played was Sonic 3 plugged into the Sonic and Knuckles cartridge. There was a stint with the Sonic Unleashed demo which I found really fun, but I'm never played a final, retail copy of a Sonic game since 1994. Unless you want to count Knuckles Chaotix for the 32X, but that was more an experiment than anything else. Still, it was fun.

I was too young to watch all of the Nintendo cartoons out, so my biggest memories of video game-related cartoons were the Sonic games. Unless you want to count Tiny Toons and Animaniacs, which were given amazing game adaptations by Konami which still hold up well in this day and age.

Being raised a strict viewer of Fox on Saturday mornings, I got the amazing Marvel cartoons to carry me through my childhood. I didn't catch too many episodes of Sonic SatAM until this year (which is quite a shame, as it's still really good), but some of my fondest memories were staying home from school sick to watch The Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog and Sailor Moon.

I never watched Sonic Underground. After struggling to watch some on Netflix in the last month, I'm actually glad I didn't. Jaleel White may make the perfect Sonic, but he isn't very good at distinguishing himself in the other two roles he had on the series. And the overarching plot was only likeable during the opening sequence. As for Sonic X? The voice actors for the Sonic characters (aside from Cream) actually aren't that bad. The humans make me cringe sometimes, but the plot held enough coherence to make me have a recent marathon of the first 50 episodes and somewhat enjoy it. It was better than the other stuff out at the time, anyway.


Still, after having watched all of the Sonic cartoons (even the god awful movie), I have to say that SatAM has held up the best, and if Bioware does make another Sonic RPG I damn well better see Princess Sally and Antoine in it in order for them to get a day one purchase from me. And Bunnie, because you don't need to be a furry to find a bipedal, half-roboticized, ass-kicking rabbit with a southern accent hot... I hope.


1:21 AM on 12.03.2009

The Forgotten: Spiritual Warfare

I'm agnostic. This isn't my attempt to drag Destructoid into religious arguments or anything, I just felt that I should preface this with the fact that I personally have no attachment to any particular religious beliefs. Then again, if I did, something tells me that I wouldn't be as big a MegaTen fan as I am.

Anyway, Spiritual Warfare is the poster child of two very niche movements: Christian games and unlicensed NES games. Developed by and published by Wisdom Tree, and offshoot of Color Dreams. Color Dreams was one of the first companies to get past Nintendo's lockout technology and had developed a reputation for releasing crappy shovelware titles such as Baby Boomer. Wisdom Tree is an attempt to distance itself from the brand's reputation and capitalize on the (still) untapped Christian gamer market. I'm not talking about the people who enjoy the Left Behind games, either.

Although it was released on an aging console (it was 1992 and the SNES, Genesis, and Turbografx 16 were well into their own respective life cycles), Spiritual Warfare was easily Wisdom Tree's biggest commercial success. Precise sales numbers are not known because of the lack of a software tracking organization at the time and its own underground heritage, but it was successful enough on the NES to get ports to the Genesis and the PC.

Borrowing heavily from Nintendo's original Legend of Zelda, it lacks a complex story (not uncommon for most NES games), but makes up for with decent graphics and some incredibly engrossing gameplay that is actually rooted in biblical lore. This may be superficial lip-service (Wisdom Tree is not a Christian Company), but it's pretty good lip service.

Like Link your main character uses weapons and items to solve puzzles and wander a large over world. There are even dungeons that take the form of office buildings and “unsaved” places like bars, a prison, and slums complete with gangs and stray dogs.

Your weapons of choice are the “fruits of God.” This is a work of genius because, in addition to giving more options for combat, they have different uses and and functions. Some are fast, others are slow and strong, and some can even travel through walls and other obstacles. Then there are items like Samson's Jawbone which functions very similarly to Link's boomerang.

Rather than killing your enemies, you use your weapons to “convert” them, prompting a sprite of a person kneeling in prayer. Occasionally, you'll also come across “possessed souls” who, upon receiving your attack, reveal a demonic sprite that continues coming at you.

The main objective of the game is to obtain the “Armor of God” in order to unlock access to other parts of the game world with the final objective of defeating Satan. (I never made it too far as the copy I played was kept at my grandmother's for familial gatherings, so I can't comment too much on boss fights in general.)

Rather than use money, you collect saved “souls” in the form of white doves to buy things like Anointing Oil (health potion), Vials of God's Wrath (bombs), and you can always pray and give up souls to regain health. In fact, the best way to gain souls is, whenever you defeat enough of your enemies, an angel floats around the screen and quiz's you on biblical knowledge and quotes. The better you do, the more souls you're given.

One of the things I don't like about this game is the ugly backgrounds. For years I played this on a black and white TV (again, grandmother's house) and it looked fine. In fact, for an unlicensed game it's rather gorgeous, but when in colour you can see some mild distortion here and there, but nothing game breaking. Still, the backgrounds seem like an after thought. Although, the residential area is a treat and it has one of the most interesting areas in the form of an airport. Yes, this game lets you fight sinners in an airport by throwing fruit at them. It's awesome.

This is basically a Zelda clone with Christian window-dressing, but it's a well done one that is incredibly fun. Not to mention that you can now play it for free here.   read

3:47 PM on 11.22.2009

The Batsh*t Insane

Most videogames require the player to overcome a trial, to defeat an overarching enemy. In order to make the enemy seem as inhuman as possible to drive the player's need to hand a smackdown to the big bad, the opponent is often painted with a stroke of the insanity brush. Sometimes it works; sometimes it doesn't.

Here are the ones I feel did it.

Kefka Palazzo – FFVI

Um... If someone were to explain Kefka's insanity, they would need little evidence beyond his clownish appearance. When you get past that, you can appreciate just how sociopathic he is: just because he doesn't want to wait, he poisons an entire kingdom's water supply; he is fond of jumping around the screen like a hyper baby; and then he has the laugh, the first bit of “spoken” dialogue in a Final Fantasy game.

Dr. J.S. Steinman – Bioshock

In a game showing off the most morally corrupt examples of humanity who often skirt the line between sanity and insanity, the good doctor ran over the line, kept going, and never looked back. While he does not play an important role in the plot of the game, Steinman is owner of one of the most disturbing scenes in the entire game. You watch as he mercilessly kills a Splicer by performing a surgery while she is conscious and ranting about how she won't hold still long enough for him to make her beautiful. Then he sets his eyes upon you and you know you have stared insanity in the face.

Mitsuo Kubo – Persona 4

This one is probably known only by Persona and SMT fans. Mitsuo is a low key character throughout most of the game, until the party suspects him of being the serial killer throwing people into the TV world. And when they come across him and his shadow in said world, Chie even remarks that she does not know which one is the shadow. And when it comes out that *SPOILER* he was a copy cat killer who wanted to use the murders to make himself feel important*SPOILER* you get the sense of just how unhinged he is. Then there is the fact that his part of the TV world is set in a game and his shadow is a baby with an old-school 8-bit warrior shell showing that he has no real mental capabilities and that his view of the world is little more than a game he is interacting in.


Albedo – Xenosaga series

This is a guy who finds pleasure in tearing off his own arm and head to frighten a little girl, kills all of his followers for practically no reason at all, and uses the Bible as a source of menacing quotes. This isn't exactly your typical JRPG villain. And his laugh is even more unnerving than Kefka's, believe it or not.


Gary Smith – Bully

While neither a murderer nor a world-destroying baddie, Gary is included because his actions are horribly common. His sociopathic tendencies include lying, bribery, and manipulation. No matter how horrible his behaviour, he is never affected by it because he doesn't see any of the people around him as people. They are just things to be used to raise his own status. This is something that any person could be capable of and are all telltale signs of a much deeper damage of the psyche. Plus, the guy dresses as a Nazi for Halloween.


9:51 PM on 11.11.2009

The Forgotten: 3DO

When people (fanboys) discuss things such as the price of a console, the standard comparison for being over-priced is the 3DO. Launched during the holiday season in 1993, the console sold for $699. This makes the the complaints about the cost of a PS3 or 360 look rather foolish.

The 3DO Interactive Multiplayer was unique amongst consoles in that it was not tied to a specific manufacturer. This led to multiple companies making their own model of it (with incompatible accessories), and varying price structures. Panasonic/Matsuhita was the first company to launch the console, and they had aimed it as more of a high end A/V device than a videogame console, thus the exorbitant initial pricing.

Being the first dedicated CD-based console launched in the United States (the Amiga CD32 had preceded the 3DO in Canada and Europe, but died off before launching in the US), the 3DO compared itself to the SNES and Genesis. Showing off its superior 32-bit technology and what at the time was impressive FMV video, it was highly anticipated. (Before the price was announced, at any rate.)

I wasn't in tune with the goings on of videogames when the 3DO launched, being a 5-year-old who spent his time trying and failing to beat the original Legend of Zelda. In fact, I didn't get a 3DO until earlier this year.

Considering the 3DO was launched in 1993, the graphical capabilities of the system are actually pretty good. Not quite Playstation or N64 levels, but more on par with the Saturn. The 3D isn't as bad as the Saturn, though. And the 2D graphics are rather nice.

These days you hear a lot of fanboys complain about the 360 being little more than FPS games, sports games, and generally just being a machine full of PC ports. Twelve years prior to the 360 launch, you had the same thing in the 3DO. Take a look at the listings on ebay. Aside from a bunch of incredibly random Japanese games (more on that later), you'll find a lot of shooters. Some are good, many are bad. The 3DO company didn't exercise any form of quality control on the games, which led to a LOT of shovelware.

Sports games also migrated to the console from the aging Genesis, as the at-the-time chairman of EA, Trip Hawkins, was also the mind behind the 3DO. The 3DO got a lot of support from EA as a result. And low royalty rates initially gave the console support amongst other big 3rd party developers such as Capcom and Crystal Dynamics. Not to mention the console supported AO ratings. So that means porn games! And more than a few were made OUTSIDE of Japan. Admittedly, they were just FMV games, as opposed to something like Beat 'Em and Eat 'Em, but nobody really plays porn games for the gameplay or the porn. Not to mention generally the most violent versions of any given game.

One incredibly unique thing about the 3DO was the controller. The first model of the console had only one controller port, and the controller itself featured a port to link the controllers to each other, rendering things such as multi-taps obsolete. On the bottom of the controller was a standard-sized headphone jack with a volume control. It was perfect for those parents who complained about the games being too loud, although one ran the risk of tuning out everyone around them.

While it was an American console, the primary manufacturer was a Japanese company, so it did fare decently in Japan. Not great, but there is a list of 80+ games that are exclusively Japanese. The benefit of this is that neither the consoles nor the games are region locked. One might call it forward thinking for the 90's, but it was more of the cost of a CD burner and blank CDs at the time. In fact, the 3DO had what is arguably the best Sailor Moon game: Pretty Soldier Sailor Moon S. There are a few games from Japan that won't play on the American 3DO console because of Kanji issues, but the most notable one was translated into English. And the lack of region locking extends to copyright protection, so it is entirely possible to NOT download an iso and burn it to a CD to play. Or you could use one of the emulators floating around out there.

Sadly, though, while it was a good console and was very cutting edge technology at the time, the 3DO had no direction or a very well thought out game plan and died the quiet death it deserved. Not to mention 90% of its English game library is available on other consoles. The only people I would recommend it to are collectors and retro-importers. For the latter group, Policenauts has a 3DO version that does play on American 3DOs.   read

11:39 AM on 11.04.2009

Unhappy Endings and Why They Matter

The first thing to note is that this post will be filled with spoilers. Considering what the subject matter is, though, that shouldn't be surprising.

Not just in videogames, most forms of media follow the typical beginning, middle, ending format. And while the majority of the time is spent in the build-up to the end, the ending itself is often the most memorable part of any narrative. Could anyone forget Snape killed Dumbledore, or when Fran and Peter flew away from the mall in the helicopter? These are two very different endings, one heartbreaking and one encouraging (despite Stephen's death).

Gaming itself is just now realizing that not every game has to end with the world being saved. Sure, there are cliff-hangers to make you buy the sequel (see: Halo 2), and games that have endings for sequels that will never come to pass (Advent Rising, I'm looking at you), but by and large the player is left with a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment because what they did mattered.

Dreamfall, sequel to the PC adventure game The Longest Journey, has what is considered one of the most controversial endings in videogames. It was meant to be a cliff-hanger to get people to buy the sequel (which I am STILL waiting for), but unlike Halo 2 it left on a low note as opposed to a high one.

The game starts and ends with Zoe, the main heroine of the game, in a coma as she “tells” the player in a disembodied voice her story. I'm delving too deeply into it, but Dreamfall has one of the most mature and thought-provoking storylines centered around a theme of losing faith. The final moments are littered with obvious bait for a sequel, but what is probably the most depressing parts of the finale to the game is the character Faith.

Faith was a little girl who had been leading Zoe, the main character, through her transitions between the two worlds of Dreamfall. Through the story you learn about Faith's back story and it is truly heartbreaking. Then comes a scene in gaming that takes the death of Aerith in FFVII and makes it look like a soap opera:


The only other game I can think of that ended with a little girl's death was Persona 4, and that was the bad ending that I'd achieved on my first play through.

Speaking of Aerith, there is another ending that, while not as mature and thought provoking as Faith's demise, instead relies entirely on the player's attachment to a character. While everyone knew the ending to Crisis Core before ever putting the UMD into the PSP, nobody knew just how well done it would be.

Whereas Cloud, the protagonist in the main game of the FFVII compilation series, was introverted and and eventually came to rely on others (in a completely different way from Squall in FFVIII, I might add), Zack immediately started out likable. He was your stereotypical teenager character: loud, overly confident, etc. He wanted little more than to become a hero. While the game didn't delve into Zack's past, it did a very good job showing his growth and maturity as he realized everything he had taken for granted in the beginning parts of the game was little more than a house of cards in a tornado.

As everything fell apart around him and the heroes (Sephiroth, Genesis, and even Angeal) that had inspired him fell from grace, rather than wallow in self-pity like the main FF characters of the PSone era, Zack adapted while staying cheerful and optimistic.

And after the final boss battle with Genesis, I settled back to watch the cutscene ending. Then came the biggest surprise of the game: when Zack and Cloud were found by Shinra, the battle screen kicked in. The normal rocking battle music was replaced by a sad violin and guitar, and no matter how hard Zack fought, every enemy taken down was replaced by another one.


Watching the much-maligned (and deservedly so) DMW break down as Zack began to lose his memories, it did more than any cutscene ever could, because the player had been with him when those memories were made. Seeing Zack slow down and drag his sword after you had run out of healing magic and potions in an attempt to delay what was inevitably coming.

Partaking in Zack's death gave the player a feeling of failure. The euphoria of victory from the defeat of Genesis is completely erased, leaving one vulnerable to what was next to come:


While I won't argue that every game needs to be depressing in the end, and I very much like saving the day, if that's all you ever do then it will eventually lose its impact. If everything ended on a high note, then the medium of gaming would become stale. That's why novels need Rhett Butler to give up and leave Scarlett, and movies have to have their Spirits Within. (I may be the only person in existence that liked the movie, but it was a depressing ending.)   read

1:04 AM on 11.03.2009

Intro post

This is technically my second blog post, but I'm going to go ahead and do the whole intro thing.

When asked what type of gamer you identify as, I usually answer RPG. For the longest time, it was in relation to JRPGs, but after some curiousity on my part I bought and thoroughly enjoyed Mass Effect and Fallout 3 (which I bought for all 3 platforms). Fable 2... not so much.

I also love point-and-click adventures. Pixel hunts are a pain, but figuring out that final puzzle is such a feat of accomplishment for me. Other adventure games, such as Dreamfall and Indigo Prophecy, are also my bread and butter.

The things I seek most out of a game are narrative and the world. A strong narrative is a must, but if not then a compelling game world can make up for it. Dragon Quest VIII may not have the most original story, but darn if I didn't want to go to the next town and explore every inch of that world map.

If there are game genres I don't like, it's sports and/or wrestling. I'm not going to say that they're bad, just that they hold no interest for me. If the game is going to be released yearly, I fail to see the need to buy it when the only discernible difference is that a few more polygons are being pushed out.

As of right now, I'm between jobs. I do have a history of being an assistant front end manager at a grocery as well as a hardware store, but retail is a horrible business. That means that many of the upcoming game releases are out of the question for me. I might scrape enough together for Mass Effect 2, but no promises are being made.

I'm also a hoarder, which is evident by my insanely large videogame/console collection. I have a Wii, PS3, 360, PS2, Xbox, Gamecube, N64, Saturn, Psone, 3DO, Genesis/CD/32X, and one of those S/NES combo things you get off ebay because my SNES gave up the ghost. There's my PC (which isn't that much of a powerhouse, but can run Fallout 3 fine despite the horribly outdated graphics card), my PSP, DSi, GBA SP, and Game Gear. I suppose I could include my Zune and Zune HD as they play games, but... yeah, not so much. I do have pictures of my old set-up, but I'll probably hold off and take some pics when I'm done with the transition to the new one.

And I'm the type of gamer who sucks at games. I played the first Halo on the easiest setting and still got my ass handed to me by the Flood on numerous occasions. And even though I love Megaten games, Persona 4 is the only one I managed to beat, and that was by accidentally getting the bad ending. :( It didn't help that the HD on my BC PS3 (so many abbreviations...) got erased in a bad linux experiment, so I lost my save file.

That's probably all that's important about me. I might now comment on every blog post or update daily, but I'm looking forward to being a part of the community.   read

1:01 PM on 10.24.2009

The Unimportance of Moral Choices in Video Games

I suppose I could use my first post to introduce myself, state my interests, etc., but I'm going to be one of the pretentious a-holes that skips that step and jumps right into an overly serious and unnecessarily complicated blog.

There are a lot of complaints about games with moral choices lacking a grey area. Everyone is either good or bad, black or white. While there are some games that do offer a grey area (Fallout 3 was an excellent example, but that game gets enough gushing as it is), I agree that many do not. The thing I want to know is: why does that matter?

People Molyneux once said of Fable that a lot of players either play straight out good, or start out evil and feel bad and switch to good. Very few people actually take the evil route. And Fable is the kind of game that doesn't seemingly offer a middle ground, but it does let you run around and do whatever you want. You can choose to kill someone or save them or just walk away. That last option seems pretty grey.

But what kind of ramifications would an alleged grey choice offer? Would it change how the citizens of the gaming world view you? Many games are geared towards making the player be the hero. Big hits such as Halo, Final Fantasy, and Uncharted (albeit on a much smaller scale) are about saving the day, being the hero: it's about giving the player a sense of accomplishment for being the good guy.

Despite what critics of the gaming world would think, the only games that really let you play as the villain are the ones designed with that in mind, and they are incredibly uncommon. Overlord and Badman are the only examples of this I can think of off the top of my head, and I haven't played either one.

Maybe it isn't on the same level of “your choices matter” such as games like Fallout and Mass Effect (which only had a few choices really matter in the long run), but the perfect grey area game doesn't realy exist outside of opinion. One could argue that Rockstar are the masters of the grey area with the GTA series as well, but I haven't played too many of those so I can't comment on whether or not being a criminal in the game changes the fact that you are still playing the “hero.”

And I am one of the masses that does prefer to play the good role in games that offer you a choice. I like to get the occasional stimpack that the citizens of Megaton had to scrape their money together for; letting the Queen of a sentient race of alien cockroaches go as opposed to killing her makes me feel good because I can't stomach the thought of participating in genocide.

Not my Shepherd, but it'll do.

What few games do, however, is give a glimpse at both sides of the issue at hand. It's always a good guy rising up to stop the bad guy who is evil just to be evil or wants to destroy the world because he can. The only game in recent memory that even tried to tackle this sort of complexity was Tales of Vesperia.

The game took a three-pronged approached to the world. There was the Guilds, the Empire, and the party the player controlled. And nobody (not even the final boss) was a villain. Sure, there were people in the empire manipulating things, but there were also people like Flynn trying to do some good. The Guilds, the only ones aside from the Empire with influence in the world, weren't standing up for the little guy against the mighty Empire. They did everything for the sake of the guild, not the good of mankind.

The most interesting aspect of this, however, was the player's party. Yuri, who is arguably the “hero,” is the one the player spends the most time with. And despite being a hero, Yuri is definitely not a good person. He's a cold-blooded murderer. One could argue his victims deserve what they got, but that doesn't change the fact that (for a little while, anyway) there were serious ramifications to his actions.

The point I'm trying to get across is this: moral choices don't really matter, even when they're “offered,” because at the end of the plot you're still a hero. And isn't that why people play games to begin with?   read

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