Saturday, April 30, 2011

The bard doesn't do FPS

My mocking of Killzone 3 was prophetic: it featured an ending so phoned in it rivaled the 'endings' featured in Crysis and Far Cry. Not because of how difficult it was, just because it didn't make any sense and missed great opportunities for drama and character development. That four legged battleship thing I talked about took another hour of missions to bring down. What was left of the good guys gathered at the base of the space elevator it was defending and the commander decided there were not enough of them left to make a difference and called it a day. One of the two main characters (Sev, I think) gets all macho and pissed, delivering a version of the St. Cripin's day speech fit for mouth breathing space marines. It worked they all stormed up the elevator, there were a few silly section of zero gravity where the enemies didn't float around until after they were dead and firing a gun didn't throw backwards unto the nearest bulkhead (zero gravity has never been handled correctly in a game). All the while the Helgans are fighting amongst themselves, with the one bright spot being Malcolm McDowell reprising his role of Keslee from Tank Girl. I can imagine him literally chewing on the microphone on the recording booth, spittle flying it all directions as his rants grow in intensity. I don't know how they got him, but the man needs to do more voice work.

After a few final battles in a space station the action shifts to actual space combat. The ship to ship dog fights were the best part of Halo Reach, and this is obviously lifted from there, only you are not actually allowed to control the ship. The final two sections are glorified turret levels; poor imitations of Sin and Punishment or Space Harrier. It was a terrible anti-climax made worse by the game writing itself into a corner. It was afraid to face the consequences of a situation that it created. The Helgan were intent on dropping a new kind of uber-bomb on Earth, killing all its inhabitants. After the final boring fight the ship carrying all the super bombs is destroyed in the atmosphere of there own planet, circling the globe in seconds. Someone makes a quip about all radio traffic being cut off, the main character gets a far away look in his eyes, mumbles 'how many people were down there' and the credit role. If this is all it did I would be disappointed, but not offended. They killed all the bad guys, everywhere, the series is done. Nope, after the credit we see the plant is mostly destroyed, but a few guys comes across an escape pod and welcome whoever it is back.

So, so lazy.

Killzone 3 is far from the only game to write in these intentional, lame loopholes. Most recently, God of War III was guilty: Kratos is dead, and he is okay with that. OH WAIT, HIS BODY IS GONE!!1!11!!WTFBBQ!!

Here is a better ending to Killzone 3: all the Helgast are wiped out and the good guys limp back to Earth in their stolen space ships. Upon their return they are not greeted as heroes, instead tried and convicted of disobeying the direct order to surrender. Helgans who happened to be off planet at the time come forward to dispute the version of the story that makes them look bad, interstellar space lawyers get involved and it drags on for years. In the mean time Sev suffers silently in his cell. Eventually the weight of billions of murders becomes too much and hangs himself.

...never mind, that's too realistic, and therefore depressing. I'll take the happy version and shut my mouth.

And this is the real St Crispin's Day speech:

And Crispin Crispian shall ne'er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remembered-
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition:
And gentlemen in England now a-bed
Shall think themselves accursed they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day.

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