In response to "Journey Into Darkness" from The Escapist Forum: I was very excited to pick up this game. Excited and nervous at the same time - The Darkness is one of my all time favorite comics. An obscure title, often overshadowed by it's sister series, The Witchblade (which at least rings a few bells when the title is mentioned). I knew these guys were going to do whatever they wanted with the game because there weren't going to be enough people in love with it that they felt like they had to make a game like Arkham Asylum.
I was looking forward to fighting the Angelus, maybe even Sonatine or the Magdelina. But it wasn't meant to be. And I have to tell you, I enjoyed this game more than I ever thought I could have. I was actually quite happy they steered clear of the comic's more super natural villians while still managing to stay somewhat true to the comics.
I was glad the the Darkness was given a voice. In the comics it's one part power and one part possession. It usually depends on who's writing the arc at the time. I liked how the game handled it. How this power that you, the player, had come to rely so heavily upon eventually became the game's true villian.
Jackie's a great character. In a world of comic books where the good guys are always good and the bad guys are always bad (and no one ever stays dead), Jackie walks a fine line in between. I wish this game had gotten more recognition. I'd love to see a sequel.
I absolutely love this game. Especially the story.
For my money, that scene with Jenny's death just may be the single best gaming moment I have ever played. The raw power and emotion that the scene includes and the flood of emotions that overwhelm you (sadness, anger, vengance, helplessness) has not been matched in any other game that I have played before or since. It is that unbelievably good.
It is such a shame that a so many people passed up the experience. However, I do recall an ending left a lot of things wide open. So Starbreeze, where's that damn sequel!!?
In response to "Curiosity Killed the NPC" from The Escapist Forum: I remember helping the ghouls get into Tenpenny Tower, spending valuable points on Speech skills so I could pass the tests and convince Tenpenny to let them in. I managed to do it, and gave the ghouls the ok to enter.
Everything was sorted it seemed, until I wanted to offload some salvage from the surronding area with the ghoul shopkeeps. I entered into the lobby and all was deathly quiet, save for Michael Masters sitting at a table on his own in the bar.
I entered conversation to see if any unusual dialogue options came up and sure enough I could remark on how everyone seemed to have dissappeared. Michael Masters gave a croaky laugh saying 'you might wanna check the basement kid. Leeroy's been busy taking out some of the trash.'
I ran over to the basement already dreading what I knew would be there, dismembered corpses and worst of all Herbert Daring Dashwood. The only person to show some compassion for the ghouls, and wracked with guilt over Rockopolis and the loss of Argyle, now lay dead and mutilated.
I purged the tower of all ghouls, let them burn I thought. My self righteousness guided my aim as I let loose a hail of fire from my Assault Rifle, leaving dead ghouls in my wake.
The article does ring truth, mine and his morals were affected by the in game world and we shared the wrath and strength of conviction, compassion and righteousness albeit in our own way of resolving things. Confliction of justice and corruption, I ignored their protestations of innocece and beggings for mercy. My heroic actions are somewhat less than heroic, becoming the homicidal maniac Roy was and because just as hateful and unreasonable as Tenpenny.
The problem with shaping our characters in RPGs the way we want, is that sometimes it is not a matter of "choosing the right outcome" but "misinterpreting the poorly written dialogue" or "not being given all the sensible options you should have been given."
The anecdote Hindmarch shares about the Burke/Simms scenario, and the Tenpenny Tower issue brought up by the other posters here, both in Fallout 3 describe not a feature, but poor game design.
In Megaton, you know Burke is up to no good, but if you kill him yourself before he goes hostile against Simms, you lose karma. To some degree that's understandable--killing someone in cold blood isn't exactly a good thing to do, even if the person is bad news. You can't warn anyone else about Burke except Simms, and you can't offer Simms that you'll take care of it yourself. You can disable the bomb, but then Burke just leaves, and he never gets punished (why can't you stop him and turn him in then?). How you resolve that situation is extremely limited, and I find the problem there aren't enough reasonable choices to begin with, not that you become "forced" to live with Simms' death if you failed to enter VATS quick enough upon Burke's drawing his gun--or just let him get away.
Tenpenny Tower is even worse. The dialogue you have with the ghouls is more than adequate to display to the careful player that they're obviously up to no good, and that your trying to let them in "peacefully" will lead to disaster. But you can't convince them to leave, and if you fight with them--even if you provoke the ghouls to attack you through dialogue--you lose karma, even though there is blatant indication these guys are bad news, not to mention at that point you're defending yourself. You can't talk them out of it, you can't warn Tenpenny Tower to be on their guard even if the ghouls are let in, even though you can get the information that the ghouls are up to no good. You're railroaded into two choices that will give you bad karma (in game or in your own mind) for absolutely no reason whatsoever other than horrible writing. The "best" choice you can make is to never solve the quest, but then it just sits in your quest log like a freaking albatross around your neck.
The difference in tabletop RP is that you can talk to your human GM to get clarification on an issue. You can clear up misunderstandings, and most of all, you can explore all options with a storyteller who is capable of reacting appropriately to any solution you can think of. I am absolutely certain that if I ran Tenpenny Tower in a tabletop game, my players would come up with any number of solutions to the problem without getting any innocents killed.
I therefore have no problem with "save and reload" if the consequences of my actions don't make sense or I am not given adequate choices to resolve a problem in a sensible way.
Of course if I KNOW I'm making a risky choice, I usually live with the consequences. But there's a difference between risk taking and being "punished" by a problem of limited choices, misinterpretation, or generally thoughtless writing.