Thursday, October 23, 2014

Warning, bitchiness incoming

Too annoyed to write. Engine fried in my crossover. Spyder is in the shop for its 3000 mile check up and transmission problems. It has been warm enough to ride most of the week but won't be by the time it is done. People keep asking me for support on things at work that I don't support/don't understand/have never actually seen.

And Alien: Isolation ended with a quick time event.

I could see it coming. I could see it coming three hours from the end when the game should have finished but no, it had to have the same kind of false endings as Alien and Aliens. The Return of the King of more concise about its ending then Isolation was. I could see it coming as Ripley was cornered by an alien that should not have been where it was and forced backwards into an airlock.

Down, Down, Left, Right, A, credits. Fuck you.

How is that better then having the player actually control the events? Let me turn around, look for a way out, find the airlock, run in and press the button. Let me die a few time trying to figure it out. This is how the rest of the game worked and it was (sometimes) marvelous. The alien in combination with the environment created unexpected problems and solutions. It played on stealth games tropes and punished the player for relying on them.

Yes, the alien can see you under the desk and yes, he will kill you for your folly.

This was all thrown away in the last thirty seconds for a scripted ending and a few meaningless button presses. All of the effort and daring was for nothing because someone in the chain of command couldn't let the game be a game to the bitter end. Someone decided that their vision for the end was the only way and that that was what the player was going to get.

Games can  be more than that. The rest of Isolation proves it. The people who make the games just need to be brave enough to finish what they start.

2 comments:

  1. I'm not really sure the ending would have been better if it hadn't been a quicktime event. The other option would have been *****SPOILERS***** you turning away from the Alien to find the button to blow yourself out into space, and it wouldn't have... provided the same degree of finality as what they did. It was directed so your last playable moments in the game were with an Alien's silvery fangs all up in your face, and the last-thing-as-quicktime trope is so standard, nowadays, that it creates kind of an unconscious understanding, within the gamer, that this is the end.

    It certainly didn't damage my impression of the twenty awesome hours that led up to it.

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  2. I completely disagree, Scripting the ending of a game does not necessitate removing almost all of the player's agency and reducing it to changing chapters with a DVD remote. A quick time event is always the easy way out when a game backs itself into a corner that it has not given the player the tools to get out of.

    Picture this, the scenario plays out the same way but the player is responsible for turning Ripley around and searching for a way out. Almost everyone has a 5.1 setup or at the very least headphones - use the sound of the alien to create tension. The player must scan the escape pod for the controls and the hissing gets closer and closer and closer.

    The first time the player will die and that's okay, A good final encounter should kill the player. When he or she figures it out and escapes it is actually an accomplishment.

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