Cities and suburbs, real and imaginary.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Video game storytelling annoyances

Look, I love video games. I mean it. And, to play good video games is, all too often, to forgive them for their major, gaping plot errors.

Case in point: Fable II.

A fantastic game, that's extremely fun, with lots of wonderful characters to meet, and a high concept that is fantastic and neat and fun to watch extending. The character design, and world-building are excellent. The game has so many good points that the gaping, tractor-trailer-sized, implausible plot holes just... just...

It's just so disappointing.

So, at two points in the game, the major bad guy shoots you in thr face, to kill you. The first time, you are flung out of a very high window, to plummet down to the earth, brain-bouncing off a roof.

You survive, somehow, with the gentle nursing of Darth Traya. Which is a little mind-boggling, but suspension of disbelief isn't lost because it's so early in the game, and you feel, as a player, that it was a horrible, awful, painful thing from which it took years to recover.

Then comes the second bullet to the face. Many, many years have passed. The enemy has gotten better at his nefarious evil. He is determined to make his bullet-to-the-face deadly this time. He's got awesome magic powers, an army of enslaved warriors, and states, deliberately, that he is going to make his bullet-to-the-face work this time, at any cost.

Yet, it doesn't work.

Bullet-to-the-face by madman megalomaniac? Twice, unsuccessful.

Other small pet peeves in plot and story linger in my craw, but I won't go into detail. No spoilers are needed here.

What's most annoying about it, is how easy it would be to fix them all with a line of dialogue, or a line of text, or a design decision one way or the other.

What the game seemed to want to suggest as solutions to many of the plot befuddlements were bungled too much to merit any mention here.

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