Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Wrong kind of porn

How many sex scenes are too many?

In a video game, in the present day, I would start with one. I have yet to see a sex scene in a game that was anything beyond titillation and an excuse for the effects guys  to see what they fancy calculations say boobs would do. Even in a genre like the first person shooter where the egregious and over the top are commonplace and to be expected there is no place for them.

Test: does its inclusion advance the story or characters in any way?
If no, leave out and spend the time on something else.
If yes, congratulations, but can the same thing be accomplished in a more subtle way?

The only game that I can think of that handled this well was Xenogears. It is important to the story, means something for the characters and is implied, not splashed out all over the screen like God of War, Darkwatch, Metro: Last Light and, most recently, Wolfenstein did. I am no prude but I do find them at the best superfluous, at worst offensive.

Wolfenstein is especially guilty, using one as a punchline.

With that out of the way, Wolfenstein does everything else better than any other shooter I have played this generation. The action is intense. The stealth is serviceable and, more importantly, optional. Perks are earned in a natural way instead of magically handed out at random intervals. Missions are laid out in a loud, quiet, loud manner that keeps things moving but never numbs the player to the violence. 

There are characters, actual, interesting characters with back stories and motivations that provide complications. BJ himself is almost tragic, a man whose war was lost while he was in a coma and is routinely handed impossible tasks. His homeland is gone, nuked by the enemy and still he fights, partly for revenge and partly because he doesn't know what else to do.

99% of Wolfenstein is almost perfect. It doesn't need pointless titillation, the guns are porn enough for me. Give me more of that and leave the unseemly bits for lesser titles. This is from some of the same guys who made The Darkness and the Riddick games. Remember how The Darkness handled romance?

That works. That builds empathy. Machine Games should know better than to have BJ nailing a girl on a table while people complain about the noise outside.

1 comment:

  1. Weird, it never bothered me - and I'm usually pretty sensitive to such things. I felt it fit well with Wolfenstein's slightly-exploitive high-budget B-movie vibe. Ooh, that works. That's going in the review.