Tuesday, July 17, 2018

David Cage is a vampire?!

I don't have much more to say about Detroit: Become Human. While I would not consider myself a David Cage apologist his games do not offend me in the same way as the do others. There was no corpse fucking in this one (Indigo Prophecy) and there were no super uncomfortable, totally unnecessary shower scenes (Heavy Rain, Beyond: Two Souls) so it is at least a small step in the right direction. People, or androids in this case, still do not behave the way people actually behave. It's as if one alien told another alien about how humans are and that second alien wrote a story about it.

This odd detachment is frustrating because there are two very good characters: Connor, the immortal line of androids tasked with ferreting out the cause of android deviancy, and his reluctant human partner, Detective Anderson. Anderson hates androids and you actions as Connor can either reinforce that prejudice or change Anderson's mind. The choice for Connor is obvious: either he will remain loyal to the humans or become a deviant himself. I decided early on that Connor was more terminator than touchy feely robot and played him as such.

Anderson did not like this and, in standard David Cage heavy handedness, killed himself. Connor got the win because the leader of the deviants died. By allowing me to make this story altering choice Quantic Dreams one upped Tell Tale Studios, whose choices are often false and always lead back to a standard ending.

Detroit absolutely forces the player to deal with his or her choices. I decided to not play along during the 'big angry daddy abuses little kid to get you to shoot' him sequence. I thought there was no way the game would kill a child. Nope, not only did it kill the child but it then killed that android and I was locked out of that third of the story.

Is it going to change anyone's mind about David Cage? No. Is it the worst thing he has ever done? No.

...

Vampyr is the most intriguing mediocre game that I have played in a long, long time.

The combat is just as janky as you have heard. Character models, facial animations and environments are decidedly last gen. The skill tree is limited and full of useless choices. And I can't wait to get back to it tonight.

DontNod settled on a single idea for the game and stuck to it: what if there were a limited number of NPCs in the world for the player character, a vampire, to feed on. Each one is a fleshed out character and his or her removal from the game has a real impact, either on the health of the city or losing access to side quests. What will the player do?

It is not quite as open as it sounds as killing NPCs is locked behind the player's mesmerism level, preventing the game from being broken too early. Still, killing NPCs nets far more experience than killing mobs, so the temptation is always there to nibble on one or two to unlock the next skill or to gain a few hitpoints.

Sounds good? It almost works. Completing quests, killing basic enemies and learning about NPCs earns the player just enough XP to keep from dying all the time. The temptation to kill an innocent to make it easier is always there but it is never a requirement. I have been playing for just under ten hours and have yet to get my fangs wet. With a little better balancing the players could have been forced to make more difficult choices. Instead it is a matter or resisting temptation.

There is much more going on in Vampyr than is obvious at the outset. There are tiers of vampires, a cabal of elite undead who run London, vampire hunting guilds and, because why not, a werewolf or two. Those fuckers hit hard. I will fight the jank and continue on my no kill run until it becomes too difficult. When it does get there I know exactly who is on the menu.

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