Friday, December 16, 2016

Meow or something

I spent two hours last night playing The Last Guardian and trying to figure out why it is so deeply unsatisfying beyond its obvious problems (bad camera, poor control, level design that requires aimless wandering, etc). The nearest I can tell is that this is a game for dog people and I am a cat person.

Come back!

I have a cat. He is the most recent in a long line of cats, each more aloof and potentially violent than than the last. I expect little of my cat and he expects little of me. Our paths cross, I feed him, occasionally pet him. Sometimes he allows this, sometimes he bites me, and we both move on with our day. The only reason he does not kill me is that he is too small to do so. We both know this. I certainly do not attempt to play video games or scale ancient temples with my cat.

There is also a dog in my house. It is not my dog. She exists only as the payoff to a stalemate involving my owning a motorcycle. Being a dog I expect more from her. Sometimes she listens. Other times she is a jerk and does not listen. I do understand that the 'not listening' part is on the owners, of which I am one, but that does not make it any less frustrating.

Trico is a dog. Sometimes it listens, other time is rolls in dirty water instead of standing in front of the wall that the player is desperately pointing at. If Trico behaved as a cat the game wouldn't work - it would eat the boy. Since its behaviour mimics that of a dog when it doesn't listen, which is most of the time, I get frustrated, moreso because it is not my fault that the damn thing isn't doing what I tell it to do.

I did not train Trico. It was trained by programmers who thought it would be amusing to saddle the player with a petulant animal that served as both transportation and as a fucking ladder. It doesn't work most of the time. Worst of all, I know that the devs knew that it didn't work most of the time because the big moments are all scripted. On several occasions the boy has fallen from some high perch and Trico either grabbed him out of the air or threw out a tail for him to grab. These are scripted, slow motion moments. Little more than quick time events.

If the AI was so good why not trust it to save the boy? Because it isn't that good. Trico is a giant ill trained dog that the player is forced to deal with. If it were a cat at least the misery would end more quickly.

No comments:

Post a Comment