Grasping At Immorality: A Tale of Two Games

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Grasping At Immorality: A Tale of Two Games

In terms of moral choices, how does Modern Warfare 2 compare to Far Cry 2?

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That was an interesting read. And yes, I did find the morality of your missions in Far Cry 2 somewhat disturbing, but I also found the story in that game too enthralling to stop playing. The conversations with The Jackal that are scattered on tapes throughout the world, giving his view of the morality of war, are just fantastic.

Compared to Far Cry 2; Modern Warfare 2 is just a little kid craving attention...

Also, you killed people in the first Modern Warfare as well. It doesn't really matter if they are civilians or not, it's still despicable. (Except for the fact that it is a game)

Yet compare that single scene - which is, I would hope, ultimately a look at the tangled web of higher causes - to the entirety of Far Cry 2, a game in which running people down and setting them on fire is something you do while driving yourself to other areas of the game, where you'll do the really bad stuff. Far Cry 2 is one of the most utterly amoral games I've ever played, yet it rated nary a wagging finger from anyone except dissatisfied game critics. Can someone explain this to me?

I'm not so dense as to suggest that there aren't obvious differences: Modern Warfare 2 was destined to be a behemoth from the moment it was announced, while Far Cry 2 was never going to be more than a run-of-the-mill shooter cashing in on the limited fame of its popular PC predecessor. And maybe there are some real-world prejudices at work here too, which is a nice way of saying that nobody gives a shit what happens in Africa as long as it stays in Africa. But in the end, isn't it just a little hypocritical - or even a lot - to get so worked up over a game that dares to portray complex heroism, yet not even notice one that turns us into unrepentant monsters?

Well, you asked for an explaination, so I'll offer my own perspective;

There is such an uproar over the scene in Modern Warfare 2 because 90% of the human race are inconsistent, hypocritical, ill-informed, stubborn, ignorant, easily-swayed creatures that often form biased opinions in one way or another for anything and everything in sight. Fanboys and Fan-Haters take these to the extremes, but it's present to smaller degrees (not by much smaller sometimes) in everyone.

There isn't any one reason I can pin down on exactly why the scene in MW2 was supposedly so much worse, but it may be due to the fact that far fewer people cared about FC2 than MW2, so FC2 mostly passed under the radar, and since MW2 got so much more hype and attention, suddenly that OPTIONAL scene is much worse. Q.E.D. for many humans being ill-informed, inconsistent and hypocritical. Stubborn and ignorant, too, since they seem to not care it's optional.

Not to mention the Africa-versus-Russia thing you mentioned, which in and of ITSELF has unfortunate implications.

I didn't see much controversy over the CoD4 nuke, either, for some strange reason. Or the part where you are seeing through the eyes of the guy about to get executed.

That's my two cents on it, anyway.

Everyone goes apeshit when a extremely popular games has something potentially offensive to some.

Why? Because it's BIG , and [B] POPULAR [/b] no one cares that a kinda cruddy game has something bad in it, but a BIG NAME title having something bad in it ? OoooOooh Boy the attention whores at Fox news, and various religous groups( http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/96145-U-K-Religious-Leaders-Hate-On-Modern-Warfare-2 ) trying to look on the "Moral High ground" will use it as a way to draw attention to themselves, honestly I don't think they give 2 shits about the scene in the game but by pretending they do so people will people watch.

Hard to explain just TRYING to say that they are hopping on the hate bandwagon for popularity because for what ever reason they have.

Anywho, interesting read good as usual.

MGlBlaze:
[quote]*Le Snippity snip snip, the Snipper.

Dammit Ninja'ed...

I say keep pushing envelopes when it comes to developing a good story and screw what the "screaming and outrage = profit" news organizations and parents say.. especially parents because they're the ones ignoring age restrictions.

Again, its an example of games being held to a different standard than other things like moves: In the movie "chinatown", the bad guys win! The bad guy is a realistate tycoon that is creating droughts in southern california and ruining farmers so he can buy the land cheap and control it, he also is searching for his daughter, whom he knocked up, and eventually kill for trying to run away with their incesty offspring, allowing him to keep his incestous grandchild to continue his pervy sex... and this is considered one of the best movies ever made!

So although I hate activision and EA, I encourage all developers to keep trying new things, and screw everyone else.

Nurb:
I say keep pushing envelopes when it comes to developing a good story and screw what the "screaming and outrage = profit" news organizations and parents say.. especially parents because they're the ones ignoring age restrictions.

Again, its an example of games being held to a different standard than other things like moves: In the movie "chinatown", the bad guys win! The bad guy is a realistate tycoon that is creating droughts in southern california and ruining farmers so he can buy the land cheap and control it, he also is searching for his daughter, whom he knocked up, and eventually kill for trying to run away with their incesty offspring, allowing him to keep his incestous grandchild to continue his pervy sex... and this is considered one of the best movies ever made!

So although I hate activision and EA, I encourage all developers to keep trying new things, and screw everyone else.

Pretty much this, too.

Also, that movie sounds seriousely messed up, but at the same time it provides a good example of just how hypocritical and full of double-standards people are so much of the time. I don't think I've ever heard of a game even remotely that messed up, but I think we all know what might happen if it was planned.

Hell, 6 Days In Fallujah faced serious controversy, and compared to that movie, 6DIF is pretty much preschool-oriented.

On that note, I still hope Atomic Games finds a new publisher for that game... Probably won't happen though...

Well I suspect two things:

#1: Right now we have a strong pro-censorship goverment that is attempting to jump all over gaming. Whether people want to believe it or not, consider that the "Hot Coffee" fiasco had people from both parties involved but perhaps the biggest ring leader was Hillary Clinton (look it up). Hillary is now in a federal cabinet position.

The changing wind in the US (going from making noise to more definate pressure) has of course emboldened other nations as well. Australia and Germany for example have tightened their laws on video games, largely I feel because it's not like anyone can point any fingers with the most free country in the world moving towards the same things.

Basically it IS stupid, but Modern Warfare is the bad boy of the moment that gets attention.

Besides which, right and wrong CAN be matters of perspective. To put things into context, while your character in Far Cry is doing some things considered conventionally bad, it can (and has been) argued that outside intervention through helping to maintain water pipelines, provide medicine, etc... simply creates more problems within an overpopulated part of the world. The idea being that if we were to say let Africans die by the millions due to disease, poverty, drought, etc... eventually the population would reduce itself over a few generations as "Cruel" as it would be, but the reduced population would be fitting within what the resources of the region could support and sheer survival would probably deal with a lot of the other issues in the region such as factional violence.

I don't articulate it well, but over the years I've read some rather pessimistic analysis of when doing the right thing can actually be the wrong thing. Especially when you look at discussions of human overpopulation, and how fighting some of the symtoms simply drag things out and make them worse over a period of time.

Of course not being a shooter fan, I haven't played much "Far Cry" so I could be wrong as to the attitude and some of what is being said. I'm just guessing. Personally if I had to pick examples of "bad" they would be the various sandbox crime games (which HAVE gotten complaints). In those games it pretty much says flat out your the bad guy, and half the "fun" of the game is to randomly commit acts of violence and terrorism to see how the world reacts.

#2: I wouldn't be surprised if Infinity Ward is actually responsible for a lot of this at the same time and is intentionally baiting/feeding the media somehow. It after all gets attention for the game. The very fact that any sane person looking at this in the context of gaming realizes it's fairly mild as far as such things go, is part of why I suspect it was set off intentionally as part of a marketing campaign.

After all consider a lot of gamers enjoy the potential to be bad and seeing things "push the envelope". Hence discussions on the level of content in "Fallout" through the years, and talk about "what you can do" in various sandbox games.

Truthfully, any rational person would have gone after Prototype earlier this year if they were looking for a victim. You can say more about that game being "just plain wrong" than you can about Modern Warfare 2 where the protaganist is at least serving the greater good.

For example in Prototype the game gives you an achievement for rapidly killing people, and encourages you to eat innocents for more power. It also sends crossed messages (as people like Yahtzee have even commented on) where despite killing people left and right the protaganist still makes pretensions of somehow being the good guy. The scene Yahtzee painted in his review of the protaganist running people over on sidewalks using a tank and going "gorsh, I seriously hope I'm doing the right thing" was 100% accurate.

In Prototype your NOT a CIA agent your a bloody sociopath's personality adopted by a murderous virus.

... and honestly I'm cool with Prototype. I mean to me it has the whole "Godzilla" thing going for it (and honestly, nobody watching those movies is actually cheering for the military or the poor squishy people getting crushed as the two monstrosities do battle).

So in short for those who read this far, it's both political, and probably a matter of the company poking the politicians to get some free press. I'd suspect the contreversy has a lot to do with the number of units they have moved.

A difference, perhaps, is that while Far Cry 2 spends the whole game making you place as an amoral gun for hire, able & willing to kill anyone for any reason; MW2 has a single, isolated & seperated sequence in an otherwise James Bondesque action-fantasy setting where there is no question over who is good & who is bad.

This isn't like the scene everyone goes apeshite in favour for in the first game, where you are unexpectedly forced to experience a soldier dying from massive radiation poisoning, surrounded by the charred remains of his dead comrades. The airport scene is indirectly relevant to the game experience as a whole (otherwise it wouldn't be skippable), indeed to the point its not unlike that random airplane mission at the end of the first MW game. Sure, it reminds you the bad guy is the bad guy, but since he's already a sadistic nutter with less gray areas then Ernst Stavro Blofeld, I don't see why presenting players with an example of his madness helps. Theres no question that he is an exaggerated mad bad guy, so why is this scene necessary to remind us?

Cynically, I also wouldn't be surprised if the footage of these scene was purposely leaked by an employee of either Activision or Infinity Ward, precisely because controversy boosts sales. Certainly the fact that it was always designed as a separate & totally skippable scene suggests they a) knew it would be very controversial & b) the fact its separate & skippable perhaps suggests controversy was a motivator for keeping it.

Explanation: Like "sex" or "naked", the words "Modern Warfare" trebles the number of times an article is going to be read.

It doesn't really matter what your opinion on it is anymore, just as long as you have an opinion, people will read it. It's like Britney Spears, custom-built to stay in the headlines.

What makes MW that bit more worrying is the warnings; the casual slaughter in Far Cry is no worse than the casual slaughter in L4D, TF2 or anything else.

But MewTwo says "ooh, this is quite nasty, you don't want to play this if you can't handle it."; and bingo, we have people clamouring to, pardon my French, skullfuck civilians.

As a testament, take a look at the new armoured zombies on L4D2. The only way to take them down is putting a shot into their spine, at which point the entrails flap away to reveal a torn spine. That's far more disturbing than anything I've seen up to date, and it's because that little line between reality and fantasy is crossed. As such, I'm delaying my purchase until I can deal with it.

At no point does Far Cry ever make you feel as though the goons are even human; they're just pixellated targets. MewTwo sets you up at the start to blow holes in real life innocents.

That's where the line is, imho.

Prototype bothered me on a deeper level than Far Cry 2.

FC2 - effectively - is a remake of Heart of Darkness in Africa with the Jackal standing in for Col. Kurtz. If you actually listen to his justifications - as unsettling as they are - they do make some fevered sense in this ugly, embittered world. And at the end [spoiler alert], you do have the opportunity to 'redeem' yourself. That is the essense of a tragic hero... redemption. And let's get it out in the open... the people you are cutting down are mercs, soldiers, and bandits... not exactly innocents.

In Prototype, you're carving up and consuming humans for the hell of it. I once caught myself grabbing some innocent as a quick snack, just in case I took damage. "Lunch," escaped my lips before a wave of guilt struck me. As I played, I felt my moral compass go south and drop into the ninth level of Hell. And there was an insidiousness to it, as well... a slow descent I recognized, but did not resist. By the end, you aren't redeemed. You're just a thug that gained revenge for personal purposes. A monster and nothing more.

And was there even a whimper about that in the media? Nope.

And yet MW2 gets nailed to the cross for showing a sequence that you're more than likely to see in any given season of 24... which, ironically, is produced by Fox.

Well done, thank you for finding such a good frame for the hypocrisy of this entire controversy. Modern Warfare 2 isn't going anywhere with its terrorism scene that could possibly be worse than most of the history of violent video gaming. People are just hanging their political hats on a hot trend. I think the set up of that scene has the potential to be really engaging and offer a true sense of moral weight to the story - I'm hoping just as you are that it plays around the entanglements of higher motivations.

The_root_of_all_evil:
Explanation: Like "sex" or "naked", the words "Modern Warfare" trebles the number of times an article is going to be read.

It doesn't really matter what your opinion on it is anymore, just as long as you have an opinion, people will read it. It's like Britney Spears, custom-built to stay in the headlines.

What makes MW that bit more worrying is the warnings; the casual slaughter in Far Cry is no worse than the casual slaughter in L4D, TF2 or anything else.

But MewTwo says "ooh, this is quite nasty, you don't want to play this if you can't handle it."; and bingo, we have people clamouring to, pardon my French, skullfuck civilians.

As a testament, take a look at the new armoured zombies on L4D2. The only way to take them down is putting a shot into their spine, at which point the entrails flap away to reveal a torn spine. That's far more disturbing than anything I've seen up to date, and it's because that little line between reality and fantasy is crossed. As such, I'm delaying my purchase until I can deal with it.

At no point does Far Cry ever make you feel as though the goons are even human; they're just pixellated targets. MewTwo sets you up at the start to blow holes in real life innocents.

That's where the line is, imho.

MewTwo takes place in real life?

And how is a spine disturbing? "Oh look, a zombie who has probably torn apart at least one helpless innocent. *Blam* OH MY GOD I SHOT HIS SPINE OUT! I'M A MONSTER!"

You want disturbing in L4D2? Look at the spitter's face.

MasterSqueak:

MewTwo takes place in real life?

That's the premise.

And how is a spine disturbing?

How isn't a spine disturbing?

You want disturbing in L4D2? Look at the spitter's face.

Not something that you caused, where I think you missed the entire point of my post.

Frankly, I'm amazed Prototype hasn't raised any eyebrows either. The words "civilian massacre" just do not do the game justice.

the name is well beyond misleading. i was expecting WoW and SC

When I found this article to be a comparison between MW2 and Far Cry 2, I started foaming at the mouth. Then I realized that the comparison was in the context of morality, and the foaming subsided.

I hate Far Cry 2.

Hmm... this is a interesting article. Unfortunately, video games has been treading on dark theme territory and showing it too. It sucks that the media portrays most video games as a murder simulator.

I can also remember the controversial game "Six Days in Fallujah" and it was hailed down by massive controversy by people's perceptive. If movies allowed war movies that relate to real events, why not video games? FPS as murder simulators? What a bunch of poppycock.

As much as I would like to believe it was just overlooked there may be the undertone of shooting dirt poor black people is not quite as contiverisial for the media pandering as white civilians.

So simply put don't make a big fuss when something not so big as far cry 2 despite the numerous amoral things is out but then make a world-wide racket out of a game that is worth giving a #@!$ over even if its just one thing. Is it just me, or is there really another side of the coin to these sort of "moralistic" people here?

I think one of the reasons that Far Cry 2 got more of a free pass from the (American, at least) media was because, in the context of the game, almost everyone you faced was a "combatant", and we all know how certain segments of American society view "enemy combatants". Hell, you never saw a single civilian in its fictional African country unless you did Underground missions by bringing false passports to help civilians escape, for the not-quite-selfless payment of more medication for your malaria. (And note that in every building you enter with civilians, your weapon is automatically holstered.) Sure, your character is an amoral, warmongering asshole causing misery for money, but so was everyone you worked for and went up against, and that makes them all "fair game".

Contrast that with this controversial scene from Modern Warfare 2. The ability to kill actual civilians, whatever the leadup may be, probably strikes too close to home for some people. Innocents are sacrosanct, even in escapist media, and any work of fiction that somehow shows harming them as being allowable or justifiable in any way is simply "evil". It's an extension of real-world fear of terrorism and unexpected violent death, carried over by those for whom there are no boundaries betwen reality and fantasy.

Why does a game like Prototype, then get a free pass? Well, look at the circumstances the two games present. When was the last time you read in the New York Times about terrorist virus monsters attacking urban centers? You haven't- it's an outlandish premise, and so there is no "sting" to the innocent deaths that occur in the game. However, you need not look far into the past to see news of terrorist gunmen invading public places and staging bloody shootouts with egregious civilian casualties.

I think the real difference between the 2 is how in FC2, you are an amoral bastard killing innocents. In MW2, you are Military personnel, working under order of the government, killing civilians despite your severe reservations. When your playing a bastard to begin with, you can put tongue firmly in cheek, but presenting a scenario where a patriotic military person mows down innocents, it undermines a lot of basic assumptions about America.

This is part of why I think that, even if it was an accident on the designers part, the Airport scene was a moment of dark artistry in the midst if a (Lets face it, even if you liked it, as I did) generic Hollywood action story. There's a surprising number of angles to look at the scene from.

And maybe there are some real-world prejudices at work here too, which is a nice way of saying that nobody gives a shit what happens in Africa as long as it stays in Africa. But in the end, isn't it just a little hypocritical - or even a lot - to get so worked up over a game that dares to portray complex heroism, yet not even notice one that turns us into unrepentant monsters?

Which is why any media outlet, politician, or bureaucrat trying to make something evil out of a videogame's plot is out of touch with reality. There are a lot of TV shows, movies, novels, comic books, paintings, songs, plays, and any other medium I've forgotten with as bad or worse themes and plots as the raciest videogames (which have existed almost as long as the medium itself).

If the fact we have to have this discussion isn't a big, glowing, neon sign pointing to our gradual fall into retardation, I don't know what is.

When I actually played that mission myself, I ended up laughing at how horribly over the top it was for no apparent reason. I mean, noone would actually allow something like that to happen just to maintain a cover, or well, at least they or the agency would come up with some other way to stop it, like, I don't know, warn the Russians? They surely wouldn't go "fuck 'em". After about the 200th person that gets killed I was like "Hahahaha, yeah ok, whatever Infinity Ward, you provoked and stuff, congratulations", and after the even more ridiculous ending of the mission I actually did a facepalm, and quite a noisy one too. People take some things way too seriously, there is no moral dilemma in MW2, something like that would need really terrific writing skills and the writing in that game is more "8th grade" than "Philip Dick".

Oh no an American that doesn't seem to shit sunlight and vomit rainbows...wait a second no-one can do that. Morality in games is not something that should really ever be looked at too deeply, especially as morality is relative. Even some of my teachers at school taught this. Just because one person views it as wrong (ok in this case both examples are viewed as morally wrong by the majority of the world) doesn't mean every single other person on the planet shares their views (I'm not even deluded enough to believe anyone will agree with what I'm saying here). In MW:2 (which I admit I haven't played yet) I'd say the character (not necesarily you, thus the option to skip the mission) was meant to feel morally repulsed, even though they were doing it for the good of a nation. Anyone who looks on this as anything beyond a work of art or a social commentary (albiet one that is a tad hazy round the edges) is just deluding themselves. Entertainment and Art is exactly that and nothing more and should never be used as a political platform. Enjoy your games and the unreality of them and if that fails then don't play them at all.

Otterpoet:
Prototype bothered me on a deeper level than Far Cry 2.

*snip*
In Prototype, you're carving up and consuming humans for the hell of it. I once caught myself grabbing some innocent as a quick snack, just in case I took damage. "Lunch," escaped my lips before a wave of guilt struck me. As I played, I felt my moral compass go south and drop into the ninth level of Hell. And there was an insidiousness to it, as well... a slow descent I recognized, but did not resist. By the end, you aren't redeemed. You're just a thug that gained revenge for personal purposes. A monster and nothing more.

*snip*

Is... Is this a joke? Are people really getting so sensitive that they're finding [PROTOTYPE] disturbing on moral grounds? The game which, let's be very, very honest here, doesn't give a shit about your morals so long as you kill everything on the screen? If that's really the case, surely inFamous was worse because it actively kept track of how many random civilians you killed for the hell of it? What about Saints Row 2, which gave you a score for it? I know "it's just a game" doesn't fly for everything, but at some point, no matter what you're doing, you have to step back and remember that what you do with a controller in your hands has no bearing on you as a human being. Just because you destroyed Megaton/shot the civilian/made the old guy wet himself in the game for funsies, doesn't mean you'd do it in real life.

If it does, then that's a problem with you, not the game.

Can someone explain this to me?

Its easy. No one really cares, beyond any random internet discussion. I think everybody realizes that you are murdering pixels and thats about it. Why there is a media frenzy about MW2 has less to do with the actual game and its 'controversies' and more about how mass media work - everybody joins the bandwagon of praising or trashing the game untill interest dies. It doesnt matter what the game is about, what matters is that everyone wants a peace of the action, you said it yourself in the article. The goal is to just wite about it. As you would write about anything other, except now you dont really have to think how to stand out, you have a popular subject that lends itself to exploitation and you jump at it to meke the most out of it, with the least ammount of creative effort. It has little to do with how moral the game is and noone really cares about it.

Carnagath:
When I actually played that mission myself, I ended up laughing at how horribly over the top it was for no apparent reason.

I got kind of the same feeling myself. I watched a video of the No Russian mission (no, I haven't played it) and after maybe 30 seconds or so I began to wonder if this was meant to be some kind of sick slapstick. Don't the Russians have cops? Hell, even in Canada the major airports are relatively heavily patrolled (to my eyes, anyway) with armed police and I really don't see Russia as the sort of nation where low-profile law enforcement is a major consideration.

MW2 is no doubt a far more sophisticated game than Far Cry 2 but I think the way FC2 leaves things to your imagination, much like classic horror movies did before the advent of torture porn, goes a long way toward balancing the scales. The consequences of your actions are never portrayed on-screen; you're simply aware of them and live with them. So is it just the depiction of horrific actions and outcomes that's the problem? If so, then I hardly think the cartoon-like violence of MW2 is worth worrying about; if not, well, that takes us back to hypocrisy, doesn't it?

its funny how i felt horrible when i "accidentallyed" a zebra, like, really really horrible. Then when i was first played through the MewTwo mission, i was laughing my ass off, because its hilarious how obnoxiously they ( the developer) try to invoke a feeling of wrong and evil out of you.

once again a point that Gamers are all too familiar with, yet anyone not in the loop sees as something horrible. Bless them for bringing awareness to "No Russian" but dear lord the Outcry is ridiculous. Just like them imbeciles bitching about Barack Obama bowing to the Japanese Emperor, EMPEROR!

O wells IW and Activision is surely cashing in hard on all this publicity. Like the old saying "No Publicity is Bad Publicity."

Chipperz:

Otterpoet:
Prototype bothered me on a deeper level than Far Cry 2.

*snip*
In Prototype, you're carving up and consuming humans for the hell of it. I once caught myself grabbing some innocent as a quick snack, just in case I took damage. "Lunch," escaped my lips before a wave of guilt struck me. As I played, I felt my moral compass go south and drop into the ninth level of Hell. And there was an insidiousness to it, as well... a slow descent I recognized, but did not resist. By the end, you aren't redeemed. You're just a thug that gained revenge for personal purposes. A monster and nothing more.

*snip*

Is... Is this a joke? Are people really getting so sensitive that they're finding [PROTOTYPE] disturbing on moral grounds? The game which, let's be very, very honest here, doesn't give a shit about your morals so long as you kill everything on the screen? If that's really the case, surely inFamous was worse because it actively kept track of how many random civilians you killed for the hell of it? What about Saints Row 2, which gave you a score for it? I know "it's just a game" doesn't fly for everything, but at some point, no matter what you're doing, you have to step back and remember that what you do with a controller in your hands has no bearing on you as a human being. Just because you destroyed Megaton/shot the civilian/made the old guy wet himself in the game for funsies, doesn't mean you'd do it in real life.

If it does, then that's a problem with you, not the game.

Actually, it was not that my 'moral reaction' made me find Prototype disturbing (although there were several 'ewww' moments), but that I couldn't connect to the game because the character is so thoroughly unlikable and the story lacks any true emotional closure. And because the violence and amoral behavior is so over the top, it always remained 'just a game' to me. Indeed, I find it funny that they even /tried/ to have a emotional plotline (the sister) in a game like that. And, as such, Prototype was thoroughly forgettable.

Far Cry 2, however, wove a subtle story that drew you in, allowed you to connect to the character/s, and had a solid exposition. Sure, I was doing some highly questionable things, but they had purpose and form... and they made sense on a human level. I connected with game and had emotional reactions as the story progressed; ranging from being appalled to down-right hate. And the ending? Hell, I'll remember that for years to come.

I mean, I am the guy that laughed himself to tears as my 300-pound, red-haired chick was working people over with a bat in the city of Stilwater (Saint's Row 2). And I am the same guy that was 'shopping' for just the right body to wear in Prototype. Games like these don't ask moral questions, they just offer up gruesome (but forgettable)fun.

So, it's not so much sensitivity, as what makes me respond to a game on an emotional level. The games that engage me are the ones I remember. But either way... it's still just a game.

Otterpoet:
So, it's not so much sensitivity, as what makes me respond to a game on an emotional level. The games that engage me are the ones I remember. But either way... it's still just a game.

Ahhh fair. Sorry, considering the article, I assumed you were talking about [PROTOTYPE] bothering you on moral grounds, which I feel compelled to shout down on (ironically) moral grounds.

Totally my bad, carry on, citizen.

I really enjoyed your review! I don't suppose you would follow it up with a comparison of games with actual, supposed "morality systems"? Dragon Age: Origins is said to have a good morality system in that your actions have consequences. Perhaps compare it to Fable/Fable 2 or Knights of the Old Republic perhaps?

It would be a different aspect of morality in games and I'd love to see your take on it since this read was so interesting. I look forward to more of your work.

While Alex Mercer might be an amoral psychopath who unleashed a horrific plague on New York, only to die and have the virus wear his personality and form like a meat suit, he did help stop Manhattan from being nuked wholesale. True, they were only going to do that because of events he set in motion in the first place, but I'm sure the random non-infected citizens appreciated not being blown up all the same.

Personally I always tried to avoid eating civilians that weren't Web of Intrigue targets since that meant I'd just have to go eat another soldier afterward to get my military disguise powers back, but the designers shouldn't have made the pedestrians so darn suicidal if they didn't want me to run them over while driving tanks (they dive into your path while running around screaming). I don't think it's even possible to not run dozens of people over each time you're driving one, heh.

I find it really hard to believe that the author Andy Chalk could construe MW2 as "a game that dares to portray complex heroism" and FC2 as "one that turns us into unrepentant monsters."

This is due to the biggest failure of "No Russian" mission in MW2: it has no substantive purpose to the plot, and fails to stand as anything other than shock value to facilitate its buzz. Makarov completely evaporates as a villain throughout the rest of the story, the conflict with his organization is never resolved, you even ask him for his help at the end of the game to take out a villain with even less evident motives. There is no meaningful value a player can extract from the level. I challenge anyone on this site to explain how MW2 portrays complex heroism as the author Andy Chalk suggests, outside of their own, reaching rationalizations.

Far Cry 2, quite adversely, has all of the action supplement the message, theme, or ideas they're trying to get across about development in third world nations, and answers why Africa can't get out of debt. Essentially places like Africa are told to modernize, and the only way to do it is to bring in foreign advisers (the mercenariy officers in the UFLL and APR) and foreign businessmen (the targets in Assassination side missions) who only facilitate the chaos and make things worse. Over the course of the story, you deal with both of them.

Throughout the game, the worst you can do is help the factions get a one up on eachother and take a quick paycheck.

However, if you subvert the missions with a buddy, you isolate the factions in their conflicts, and deprive them from terrorizing the civilian population. What's striking is that not only is this the moral choice, but the game is designed that subverting the missions largely expands the scope of a mission and makes it that much more epic. At the end of the day, FC2 puts the player in an already morally amibguous setting and acts you to make real decisions that aren't always easy.

At the end of the day, MW2 is a game about good guys who are good b/c they're American and British and bad guys who are bad because they're imperialist Soviets (who are bad). Far Cry 2 however, is the story of a group of mercenaries who "quarantine the patients," the diseased in Africa. By this you isolate the ones causing the conflict alone with eachother to let them wipe each other out, and end up leading the civilians on an exodus to leave the country and blocking the path so the factions cannot follow.

Far Cry 2 is not nearly as amoral or immoral as this article suggests, the worst you can possibly be is an indifferent soldier of fortune who kills other soldiers to get his check, but even then you still save the civilians of a small nation tearing itself apart.

[b]Too Long, Didn't Read:[/b]

I'm shocked and disappointed that the author Andy Chalk could have such a misconstrued conception about Modern Warfare 2 and Far Cry 2. It suggest that he either spent little time playing these games and paid even less attention during the latter, or simply hasn't played either. In the end this just seems like an arbitrary attempt to talk about the game everyone is talking about in order to gain more readers/free stuff from Activision, by using unsupported defenses of a game that largely doesn't deserve them.

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