Escape to the Movies: Halo Legends

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droppingpenny:
I stuck with the protagonists because, these Characters are supposed to be the heroes, that we will see in more than one game, but you are right there are more to game characters than only the protagonist. But it's kind of odd to face a horde of cool looking aliens with lazers and chainsaws a big ass guns, while your protagonist looks like the guy from a store where you buy your food. Sometimes it works, like in Half Life (Gordon really looks like a guy from a supermarket nearby, I'm not kidding), but most times it doesn't. I'm not saying the characterization is mostly bad in western games, because it isn't, but the design itself is mostly somewhere between bland and "look I have seen this guy at the Bus stop". Just imagine you would have a Giant Antropomorphic Cyborg Hare shooting lazers from it's Eyes equipped with a Bazooka and having two Chainsaws for ears, as a protagonist in Gears of War instead of Marcus "I look just like everyone" Phoenix.

I have to see someone in real life who looks like Marcus but I know what you're saying... of course I'm still not sold on Gears of War's style being genric considering I can't think of how else the protangonist could be done it that sort of game. The thing about shooters is that the aliens usually look more original and interesting since they're trying to put you the audience in their shoes as much as possible against a giant onslaught of new and menacing foes.

Another example of "bland" working well is Agent 47 from Hitman. He's just a bald guy in a suit but he's noticeable. In Demon's Souls, simple characters worked to since the game was really trying to emphasize the bleakness bu making you less of a hero, kudos for a Japanese developer to achieve this. Worked in Dead Space.

There are however many japanese games that we don't see published in the West maybe there are some based of their mythology and they just think it wouldn't appeal to western gamers. I wish there would be more of that stuff too. A Hayao Miazaki game sounds btw. really awesome ;-).

Would it really not sell well? It would depend on how it's done. God of War for example is really epic and violent. Okami was odd since I have no clue at all why it didn't sell in the bucket loads.

ya know, most people don't like the single player of halo because A: the story might hurt the brains of the halo fans, or B: it's just like any other FPS today, but when halo came out at first, it set the bar for gameplay, while seriously needing some character depth, was good. Before halo, no ones health regenerated at all with out first aid kits, no one even thought about what guns they should keep and lose, and no one played an FPS with levels to help relax you for even a second. Halo, while being so generic today, is original if you went back to the premative year 2001. I do agree that XBox live people are annoying as hell and can go there because of how much of dicks they are, but halo single player is great, especially 3, and as long as it sticks to just master chief, there should be more.

paragon1:

nightwolf667:

paragon1:
If you think Gears of War and Halo are the only Western games out there Bob, then I think it's time you payed a visit to ANYWHERE THAT SELLS VIDEOGAMES. If you do, you'll see a wide range of titles with a wide range of characters in a wide range of genres that you appear to have missed.
Let me name a few that break your stereotype that are sitting on my shelf right now.
Brutal Legend
Mass Effect 1 and 2
Assassin's Creed II
Dragon Age
Uncharted 1 and 2
Bioshock
So...yeah.

You know, there are Western video games out there that break MovieBob's stereotype. You haven't named one yet. Actually, you've proved his point.

So...yeah.

Yeah nothing. Almost none of the main or supporting characters in those games fit his description of western game characters. Hell, half of those let YOU pick what the character will be like.

No half of those let you pick what the character is going to look like not what the character will be like. Including the ones that offer "morality choices". All of those main characters while not technically the "grunting space marine stereotype" fit MovieBob's description of the "hyper masculine stereotype" that is dominant in American gaming. In case you didn't notice: the "grunting marine stereotype" comes from American values that worship the hyper masculine. This includes those games you listed that let you play a woman as Female Shepherd really isn't a woman, just a man with boobs. And before you jump all over me for not being fair to women, remember this: I'm a girl.

Now that we've mentioned Mass Effect 2, you also seem to have missed the part where the game is trying to be both Halo and Gears of War (at the same time while simultaneously failing at both) and is trying to draw in that same crowd of gamers who make the ultra masculine stereotype so popular. It's about what the characters do, what they say, and what they're trying to be. Besides, all that talk about you getting to decide your own path is just that, talk.

On a side note, the choices given to you in Mass Effect are themselves black and white that usually wind up in the land of Lawful Good and Chaotic Stupid, neither of which making much sense when compared more closely with the overall objective. It's a false sense of freedom to make you feel like your in control when in reality it's more like reading one of those old school Choose Your Own Adventure novels. You get to pick your path, but there's really only one right choice and the game itself will punish you for not playing it the way it thinks you should. Even worse than the Choose Your Own Adventure books, the choices you make in Mass Effect have no real direct effect on the plot. There are times when you make either a renegade choice or a paragon choice and receive the exact same dialogue from the characters around you or sometimes from Shepherd himself/herself. Whatever the choices you made in Mass Effect 1, the way they carry over is purely cosmetic offering you more game play and side quests than if you chose to ignore them entirely. It's there to promote the feeling that you are affecting this universe, while hiding from you the fact that nothing you do in this game really matters. The path is set. No matter what you do, did, or didn't do you'll still have to do point A to get to point B to get to point C and collect your plot coupons like a good little player. No matter whether or not you chose to save the Council, let them die, or replace them with a contingent of humans, they will still not believe you. You will still have to work with Cerberus to stop the Collectors and your choices will still only be that of the A) game decided morals of good or B) game decided ideals of a racist psychopath. Either way you will be violent. Therefore by all standards that matter, choice itself is irrelevant.

Back on topic.

Since you seem to believe that the stereotype is based on looks alone, here are a few examples for looks: the canon version of Shepherd in Mass Effect (the one who appears on the game box and the posters) is bald, muscular, and wears powered armor.

The protagonist from Brutal Legends also fits the image stereotype by being overly muscular, in a fashion that is very similar to that of Gears of War.

The protagonist of Uncharted and Uncharted 2 is toned down on the muscle side, but also has the same adventurer, tough guy look and the black hair.

The guy in Bioshock is basically a cardboard cutout with no personality, but Jack from his arms alone one can gather that Jack himself is athletic. Still, he's a blank slate that allows the player to ascribe their own (or whatever personality they want) to him, while still having him fit that same hyper masculine stereotype present in all the other games you've listed.

Dragon Age? My God, Dragon Age is a blatant LotR rip off (I'm honestly not joking far too many of the cut scenes are basically identical with scenes from the movies), which itself is a standard bearer for the hyper masculine stereotype. Also a book which came before the days when there either were space marines or space marines were popular. Now, I'm willing to admit that there's a lot more to LoTR than just that but there really isn't to Dragon Age, which managed to attach now outdated cultural values and stereotypes from the 1930s-40s into a modern day game while still failing to add anything that is unique or new.

The last is Assassin's Creed II which appears to still be fitting the stereotype, though I haven't played it yet, so I wouldn't know. The first one did though, so if it follows in the footsteps of its predecessor then it probably is.

The majority of western video games (or video games that don't come from Japan, those ascribe themselves to an entirely different set of stereotypes that they rarely veer away from), especially those video games made by or for American companies for an American audience support the American cultural ideal of what it is to be a man. It's that same hyper masculine stereotype present in the majority of action movies, novels, and TV shows. It has it's variations and some companies do a better job of hiding it than others. Due to their massive popularity Gears of War and Halo are the easiest to point to and say: look there it is, this is what American gaming is all about. It's a broad over generalization of a very large sub-genre, but it's one that's legitimate. There isn't a lot of variety in the character types of most mainstream video games (including ones from Japan, right now Metal Gear Solid's Solid Snake and the protagonists from Resident Evil are coming to mind).

Before jumping on the train to deny the stereotype, it's important to know what it is, what it looks like and the many varied forms it can take before decrying that it exists in your favorite games (given that your screen name is "paragon1", I'm going to make the assumption that you are a fan of Bioware's). This way, when you point to something and say that's not true, you can drag out examples that actually work like the GTA games which are parodies of American culture.

The problem becomes that with games that are popular, they often become that way because they are supporting a stereotype (or look like they are) which the varied factions of culture have been taught to accept. Then, other games come out trying to mimic those games to achieve the same level of success. Example: God of War. Kratos himself is a poster boy for the hyper masculine stereotype and is wildly popular. Plenty of people on this site alone have been complaining about all the terrible rip offs lately and yet they keep coming because people buy them anyway. From a marketing standpoint, it's much safer to go with a formula you know will work, rather than attempt to break ground by being original or incorporating new stereotypes into the protagonist. (Often only to receive scorn and poor profits that lead to inevitable bankruptcy when you do.)

People like the familiar and the hyper masculine is just that. This is why MovieBob mentions the sports game in the same breath as the space marines, they both are proponents of the same overarching stereotype that make them so very popular. (Granted, Gears of War itself is basically a parody of the stereotype, but moving on.)

So yeah...

MovieBob:

Doug:
I don't really give a flying fuck about Halo, but I am utterly sick of Bob's Wapanese attitude to everything western.

Consider yourself very lucky I didn't have this job back when they remade "Godzilla" ;)

Ouch...That hurt (giggle)
Anyway the review was super :) Thank you Bob

Stabby Joe:

Would it really not sell well? It would depend on how it's done. God of War for example is really epic and violent. Okami was odd since I have no clue at all why it didn't sell in the bucket loads.

The problem with japanese mythology based games is expecially with okami, that the game is too creative and too good for an average western player, they just don't know who f.e. Amaterasu is, and what does everything mean, and they don't want to know, they want more of the stuff they know. God of War on the other hand, was epic, but it was also familiar, because it was set in greek mythology, and it's violent, the protagonist is a Man who slaughters everyone in his way.(not that there is something wrong with it, except it doesn't have giant cyborg hares...)

Agent 47 works incredibly well, because in a stealth game necause the assassin has to look average in order to stay unnoticeable, you buy it, but Hitman looks also different than an average guy because of some details here and there: Tatoo, red tie etc. of course a giant cyborg hare with chainsaw ears would work as well ^^. I know that in Demon Souls it is supposed to be bland, but it kind of is a let down in terms of design. There are Shooters, where the protagonist is as iconic as the enemys he is opposing and it works, like in Megaman, Earthworm Jim, Red & Blue in Gunstar Heroes, Rad Spencer in Bionic Commando Nes.

Something was strange about this review. Where is the "(I know not all...)" message that should follow the comment on western gaming? The usual pre-emptive counter? I'm a pretty avid Bob-follower and I am dissapoint.

droppingpenny:
The problem with japanese mythology based games is expecially with okami, that the game is too creative and too good for an average western player, they just don't know who f.e. Amaterasu is, and what does everything mean, and they don't want to know, they want more of the stuff they know. Agent 47 works incredibly well, because in a stealth game the assassin has to look average in order to stay unnoticeable, you buy it, but Hitman looks also different than an average guy because of some details here and there: Tatoo, red tie etc. of course a giant cyborg hare with chainsaw ears would work as well ^^. I know that in Demon Souls it is supposed to be bland, but it kind of is a let down in terms of design. There are Shooters, where the protagonist is as iconic as the enemys he is opposing and it works, like in Megaman, Earthworm Jim, Red & Blue in Gunstar Heroes, Rad Spencer in Bionic Commando Nes.

I don't think Japanese Mythology is "too good" for American audiences, which is a rather negative slant on their part not to mention insulting to the many great and rich (and in my view much better) mythologies they do enjoy like Greek, Egyptian and MesoAmerican.

Not sure about Hitman's red tie being unqiue on the other haha!

Now the example you've used for unqiue shooter characters are all comical in their style. Those who people complain about are serious in their setting.

As for Demon's Souls I massively disagree with your view on it's design. It had elements from both West and East designs, many looking very unique. Sure you had your dragons and knights but then you've got your flying string rays, tattooed toad monsters, men made of worms, squid faced monks, warrior jesters, scaly mole men and many more. The other characters to had east deigns with the obscure armor and weapon they sport.

God of War was epic, but it was also familiar, because it was set in greek mythology, and it's violent, the protagonist is a Man who slaughters everyone in his way.(not that there is something wrong with it, except it doesn't have giant cyborg hares...)

Not really familiar since other games of its type before it aren't as such with it's characters. Most of Greek Mythology involves deaths and pissing off the Gods... God of War just increases it (btw the cyborg hare fetish is creepy haha jk).

nightwolf667:
The last is Assassin's Creed II which appears to still be fitting the stereotype, though I haven't played it yet, so I wouldn't know. The first one did though, so if it follows in the footsteps of its predecessor then it probably is.

I don't care much about your other points raised, some I agree with but two stand out. The first is Mass Effect but you're clearly not a fan so I won't bother (I just feel the choices give more variety to the standard RPG format).

Instead I'll shed some light on Ezio of Assassin's Creed II. Altair and Ezio are very different.

Ezio has a large family who he cares about and wants to protect, is forced to work with some unsavory characters that seems to depress him while at the same time working with some very interesting ones (EG a young Da Vinci). He has a relationship in secret but is respectful about it and greets friends and associates with hugs and sometimes kisses. In short, his "European-ness" is what's emphasized.

Altair is just sort of... there...

Assassin's Creed II improvement not just in gameplay and design but also characters. Ezio might fall into an archetype but it's not the all American space badass people are complaining about.

Stabby Joe:

I don't think Japanese Mythology is "too good" for American audiences, which is a rather negative slant on their part not to mention insulting to the many great and rich (and in my view much better) mythologies they do enjoy like Greek, Egyptian and MesoAmerican.

...

Not really familiar since other games of its type before it aren't as such with it's characters. Most of Greek Mythology involves deaths and pissing off the Gods... God of War just increases it (btw the cyborg hare fetish is creepy haha jk).

Sorry I didn't mean the japanese Mythology is too good for the average player, I meant Okami is too good for the average player, because it has so much interesting stuff in it, that many people are not familiar with. Because of that it keeps failing, because people like familiar stuff and Greek Mythology is one of them because there are many Movies and TV Series and Comics based around that mythology even pop culture icons like Wonder Woman borrow elements from there. And though Greek Mythology is Violent, it has most of the times a message, and a meaning on a different level as well.

Not sure about Hitman's red tie being unqiue on the other haha!

I have yet to see an assassin wearing a red tie ;-)

Now the example you've used for unqiue shooter characters are all comical in their style. Those who people complain about are serious in their setting.

People complain, because the "serious" protagonists are mostly walking stereotypes who look like grocery store owners, supermarket employees, landscape contractors, you name it. They just have nothing interesting or special, that pops into your eyesight... unlike a giant cyborg hare with chainsaws for ears.

Btw. the games i named are serious:

Gunstar Heroes is very serious in it's setting: The world is getting destroyed, two siblings have to save the world from aliens.

Bionic Commando is Serious: Hitler was resurrected and wants to take over the world (this is some serious sh*t right there!)

Megaman: Technology runs mad, and Rock volunteers to become Rockman/Megaman to save humanity

As for Demon's Souls I massively disagree with your view on it's design. It had elements from both West and East designs, many looking very unique. Sure you had your dragons and knights but then you've got your flying string rays, tattooed toad monsters, men made of worms, squid faced monks, warrior jesters, scaly mole men and many more. The other characters to had east deigns with the obscure armor and weapon they sport.

There is a good chance I didn't notice most of these things, because I suck really hard at Demon's Souls and keep dying.

droppingpenny:
Sorry I didn't mean the japanese Mythology is too good for the average player, I meant Okami is too good for the average player, because it has so much interesting stuff in it, that many people are not familiar with. Because of that it keeps failing, because people like familiar stuff and Greek Mythology is one of them because there are many Movies and TV Series and Comics based around that mythology even pop culture icons like Wonder Woman borrow elements from there. And though Greek Mythology is Violent, it has most of the times a message, and a meaning on a different level as well.

With Okami, did you mean the art style? True that could have been it but I know the story and characters are "marketable".

I have yet to see an assassin wearing a red tie ;-)

I can only think of 3 others, all different.

People complain, because the "serious" protagonists are mostly walking stereotypes who look like grocery store owners, supermarket employees, landscape contractors, you name it. They just have nothing interesting or special, that pops into your eyesight... unlike a giant cyborg hare with chainsaws for ears.

First off, the two offenders people keep bringing up are Master Chief and Marcus Phoniex... neither looks like they work in a shop. Secondly could you use a better example then your rabbit since such a thing would not fit into those game worlds and if it had its own it would most definitely be a comedy orientated style.

Btw. the games i named are serious:

Gunstar Heroes is very serious in it's setting: The world is getting destroyed, two siblings have to save the world from aliens.

Bionic Commando is Serious: Hitler was resurrected and wants to take over the world (this is some serious sh*t right there!)

Megaman: Technology runs mad, and Rock volunteers to become Rockman/Megaman to save humanity

I'll give you Gunstar since that's the only one I don't know much about in all honesty. If I look into on the other hand...

As for Megman, describe the plot in any way you want but everything is so cheery and cartoony. Oh and Bionic Commando? Anything with Hitler coming back as a story can't be taken seriously in the slightest.

There is a good chance I didn't notice most of these things, because I suck really hard at Demon's Souls and keep dying.

Really? Some of those are on the first levels. Heck the first boss is a giant blob with a spear and shield.

I don't know man.

I'm a big fan of these reviews but leaving movie-land and wading into the waters of gaming does not seem like a great choice. Without getting too deep into the whole West vs Japan gaming culture issue (though I would like to point out that there are many "Otaku" who are just as unpleasant as Halo players on XBL), I was disappointed by MovieBob's close-mindedness here. He generally does an excellent job of limiting the influence of his own taste and discuss films based on their quality within the genre, but he doesn't seem able to in this case. As easy as it is to mock western stereotypes, ANY game or genre can be made to sound idiotic if you try (ie. FFVII is just a guy with amnesia and a sword stabbing people till the world is saved).

Writing that, even to illustrate a point, was pretty painful and I feel kind of dirty, so I'm going to go shower. But overall I liked the review of the movie, but felt the gaming part was unnecessarily aggressive and dangerously close to fanboyism.

Stabby Joe:

With Okami, did you mean the art style? True that could have been it but I know the story and characters are "marketable".

I have yet to see an assassin wearing a red tie ;-)

I can only think of 3 others, all different.

Could you name them, I know only Agent 47?

Stabby Joe:

First off, the two offenders people keep bringing up are Master Chief and Marcus Phoniex... neither looks like they work in a shop. Secondly could you use a better example then your rabbit since such a thing would not fit into those game worlds and if it had its own it would most definitely be a comedy orientated style.

Ok I'll give you Master Chief, but Marcus Phoenix looks like an average misproportioned guy in an armor.
Btw. You don't know how Master Chief looks like, but he looks really familiar doesn't he *cough*Metroid*cough* but more boring as a character since there is no "omg it's a woman" twist, and almost no backstory to him.
as to the Setting: This is the problem! most of teh "Serious" shooters are set in our world on Earth, which is a huge limitation by itself. If it was set in a fantasy world like Star Wars, the designers could be more creative.

Stabby Joe:

I'll give you Gunstar since that's the only one I don't know much about in all honesty. If I look into on the other hand...

As for Megman, describe the plot in any way you want but everything is so cheery and cartoony. Oh and Bionic Commando? Anything with Hitler coming back as a story can't be taken seriously in the slightest.

It's meant to be Ironic. I didn't mean it, though Gunstar Heroes is more serious than megaman.

Stabby Joe:

Really? Some of those are on the first levels. Heck the first boss is a giant blob with a spear and shield.

I've never seen the first boss either :'-( .

Edthebed:
I don't know man.

I'm a big fan of these reviews but leaving movie-land and wading into the waters of gaming does not seem like a great choice. Without getting too deep into the whole West vs Japan gaming culture issue (though I would like to point out that there are many "Otaku" who are just as unpleasant as Halo players on XBL), I was disappointed by MovieBob's close-mindedness here. He generally does an excellent job of limiting the influence of his own taste and discuss films based on their quality within the genre, but he doesn't seem able to in this case. As easy as it is to mock western stereotypes, ANY game or genre can be made to sound idiotic if you try (ie. FFVII is just a guy with amnesia and a sword stabbing people till the world is saved).

Writing that, even to illustrate a point, was pretty painful and I feel kind of dirty, so I'm going to go shower. But overall I liked the review of the movie, but felt the gaming part was unnecessarily aggressive and dangerously close to fanboyism.

He was "The Game Overthinker" before he was featured here on the Escapist, he knows this stuff as well and has already adressed the Issue of West vs. Japan. (just look for him at screwattack.com under "partners", TheGameOverthinker, or on his Youtube Channel)
He doesn't like this type of Otakus either, watch his Shane Acker's 9 Review.

Blingling:
Dinosaurs! Of course - thats what Halo was missing all along.

Gosh darn it. I'd love to crash into a T-Rex in a giant Scarab tank thing.

I saw this review on the homepage. I was just like: ''Halo animation? Wow.'' with half-arsed glee.

droppingpenny:
Could you name them, I know only Agent 47?

Splinter Cell - Fully equipped with gadgets.
Thief - Black clothed.
Assassin's Creed - Very foreign cloak with (before their time) weapons.

Ok I'll give you Master Chief, but Marcus Phoenix looks like an average misproportioned guy in an armor.
Btw. You don't know how Master Chief looks like, but he looks really familiar doesn't he *cough*Metroid*cough* but more boring as a character since there is no "omg it's a woman" twist, and almost no backstory to him.
as to the Setting: This is the problem! most of teh "Serious" shooters are set in our world on Earth, which is a huge limitation by itself. If it was set in a fantasy world like Star Wars, the designers could be more creative.

I don't think Gears is... but it's close enough... true. But if that was the case why the hell are people complaining about Mass Effect if Star Wars is A OK?

It's meant to be Ironic. I didn't mean it, though Gunstar Heroes is more serious than megaman.

It's hard to tell on the internet these days haha!

I've never seen the first boss either :'-( .

...dam.

Stabby Joe:

Splinter Cell - Fully equipped with gadgets.
Thief - Black clothed.
Assassin's Creed - Very foreign cloak with (before their time) weapons.

The third and forth ones would be
Solid Snake - oldschool almost without gadgets Assasin, and
Cyborg Raiden - a cyborg assassin (which sounds kind of badass now when I think of it), though they aren't western at all, I just wanted to mention them as well, since there aren't that many stealth action games in general.

But not a single on of them wears a red tie! ;-)
So from now on the Red Tie is oficially iconic to Hitman! ^^

But if that was the case why the hell are people complaining about Mass Effect if Star Wars is A OK?

Star Wars was just an example, you could make anything, expecially when you see how powerfull the consoles are(even the Wii). As for Mass effect, like I said earlier, the character design of the Protagonist is not present at all, the designers force you to duct tape a character from stock body parts, I think this is the problem.

It's hard to tell on the internet these days haha!

The more you know ;-) *NBC music playing*

Stabby Joe:

I don't care much about your other points raised, some I agree with but two stand out. The first is Mass Effect but you're clearly not a fan so I won't bother (I just feel the choices give more variety to the standard RPG format).

Instead I'll shed some light on Ezio of Assassin's Creed II. Altair and Ezio are very different.

Ezio has a large family who he cares about and wants to protect, is forced to work with some unsavory characters that seems to depress him while at the same time working with some very interesting ones (EG a young Da Vinci). He has a relationship in secret but is respectful about it and greets friends and associates with hugs and sometimes kisses. In short, his "European-ness" is what's emphasized.

Altair is just sort of... there...

Assassin's Creed II improvement not just in gameplay and design but also characters. Ezio might fall into an archetype but it's not the all American space badass people are complaining about.

Thanks for the light shedding, :D! Like I said I haven't played Assassin's Creed II (mostly because I'm poor and cannot afford it), so I don't have the opportunity to critique it more thoroughly. But I wasn't really arguing that he belonged in the archetype of the all American space badass, if that were true then I wouldn't have had a bone to pick with Paragon1 (except over Mass Effect which does fall very solidly into that genre). It was more about the stereotype behind it: the hyper masculinity one that manages to cross over most genres of the Western games. Which is what I assumed MovieBob was really getting at when he made the joke about the West versus Japan.

When it comes to Bioware, I was a pretty happy fan of theirs before Dragon Age came out. Then I played it and my English Major education got the better of me. That was when I really noticed that I was just playing Mass Effect or KoTOR or whatever is next down the list, with a different skin and characters that didn't belong in the setting. I completely bought into the fact that they'd said it would be dark, then it wasn't dark, it was just blood spattered. Everything went downhill from there. (That and the arbitrariness of the influence system made me want to strangle them.)

Don't get me wrong, I enjoy Mass Effect and Mass Effect 2. But I don't play it for the story and I don't expect it's characters to break away from the archetypes, or be anything other than archetypes (except when a few manage to escape by accident) or even *gasp the family drama. (I think Garrus is the only one who doesn't have any? Zaeed doesn't count because you could make a pretty decent case that the Blue Suns were his family.) The game play is fun and it has some redeeming qualities, but there is one thing it's not. Original. Parts of it are, the choices can be fun and they would be more fun if they had real effects. It has a certain narm charm with the hammy dialogue and the ham handed use of plot devices, plus the twists are easy to see coming. They do a better job than some when it comes to the writing, but I haven't been able to take them seriously ever since I took a chapter from on of the Mass Effect novels (written by the head writer) and read lines of it interchanged with the Eye of Argon. The sad part was that there was little difference between the two in terms of interesting prose.

So, no, I'm not a fan but I've beaten it, tried to play through as male Shep on a new save, and so on. Like I said, it's not that there's nothing redeemable there, it's just that there isn't a lot there except newly infused quicktime events that can be buggy and the choices themselves are nothing I haven't seen done somewhere else and done better. (They also mattered more.)

Thanks for the info on Enzio though, I'm thinking of playing Assassin's Creed II when I have the money and the time.

droppingpenny:

Edthebed:
I don't know man.

I'm a big fan of these reviews but leaving movie-land and wading into the waters of gaming does not seem like a great choice. Without getting too deep into the whole West vs Japan gaming culture issue (though I would like to point out that there are many "Otaku" who are just as unpleasant as Halo players on XBL), I was disappointed by MovieBob's close-mindedness here. He generally does an excellent job of limiting the influence of his own taste and discuss films based on their quality within the genre, but he doesn't seem able to in this case. As easy as it is to mock western stereotypes, ANY game or genre can be made to sound idiotic if you try (ie. FFVII is just a guy with amnesia and a sword stabbing people till the world is saved).

Writing that, even to illustrate a point, was pretty painful and I feel kind of dirty, so I'm going to go shower. But overall I liked the review of the movie, but felt the gaming part was unnecessarily aggressive and dangerously close to fanboyism.

He was "The Game Overthinker" before he was featured here on the Escapist, he knows this stuff as well and has already adressed the Issue of West vs. Japan. (just look for him at screwattack.com under "partners", TheGameOverthinker, or on his Youtube Channel)
He doesn't like this type of Otakus either, watch his Shane Acker's 9 Review.

Sorry I was unclear, I'm not implying that he lacks experience in gaming, I was pointing out that his criticisms of movies are generally more specific.

This sounded to me like the sad black and white discussion of games where everything is either "OMG greatest game ever! Every aspect of the game is the best ever anywhere forever!" or "This is garbage, everything that anyone likes about it is literally the worst anyone has ever done it, and people who like it are all idiotic fanboys. I'm super smart." It might be possible that no one has made a perfect game or a perfectly bad game.

You are right though, I hadn't seen his "9" review so my Otaku comment wasn't 100% accurate.

Edthebed:

Sorry I was unclear, I'm not implying that he lacks experience in gaming, I was pointing out that his criticisms of movies are generally more specific.

This sounded to me like the sad black and white discussion of games where everything is either "OMG greatest game ever! Every aspect of the game is the best ever anywhere forever!" or "This is garbage, everything that anyone likes about it is literally the worst anyone has ever done it, and people who like it are all idiotic fanboys. I'm super smart." It might be possible that no one has made a perfect game or a perfectly bad game.

You are right though, I hadn't seen his "9" review so my Otaku comment wasn't 100% accurate.

I see, but this isn't this sort of Discussion, rather then more "I don't like Halo" statement but more exaggerated ;-) . However, a perfectly bad game was made, E.T. for the Atari 2600, this game killed the whole american console market, you can't go worse than this.

droppingpenny:
Star Wars was just an example, you could make anything, expecially when you see how powerfull the consoles are(even the Wii). As for Mass effect, like I said earlier, the character design of the Protagonist is not present at all, the designers force you to duct tape a character from stock body parts, I think this is the problem.

I on the other hand see it as a small throw back to the original on paper RPGs, giving the player a bit more structure to their character. Even though it may not be much, it's still there.

nightwolf667:
Thanks for the light shedding, :D! Like I said I haven't played Assassin's Creed II (mostly because I'm poor and cannot afford it), so I don't have the opportunity to critique it more thoroughly. But I wasn't really arguing that he belonged in the archetype of the all American space badass, if that were true then I wouldn't have had a bone to pick with Paragon1 (except over Mass Effect which does fall very solidly into that genre). It was more about the stereotype behind it: the hyper masculinity one that manages to cross over most genres of the Western games. Which is what I assumed MovieBob was really getting at when he made the joke about the West versus Japan.

When it comes to Bioware, I was a pretty happy fan of theirs before Dragon Age came out. Then I played it and my English Major education got the better of me. That was when I really noticed that I was just playing Mass Effect or KoTOR or whatever is next down the list, with a different skin and characters that didn't belong in the setting. I completely bought into the fact that they'd said it would be dark, then it wasn't dark, it was just blood spattered. Everything went downhill from there. (That and the arbitrariness of the influence system made me want to strangle them.)

Don't get me wrong, I enjoy Mass Effect and Mass Effect 2. But I don't play it for the story and I don't expect it's characters to break away from the archetypes, or be anything other than archetypes (except when a few manage to escape by accident) or even *gasp the family drama. (I think Garrus is the only one who doesn't have any? Zaeed doesn't count because you could make a pretty decent case that the Blue Suns were his family.) The game play is fun and it has some redeeming qualities, but there is one thing it's not. Original. Parts of it are, the choices can be fun and they would be more fun if they had real effects. It has a certain narm charm with the hammy dialogue and the ham handed use of plot devices, plus the twists are easy to see coming. They do a better job than some when it comes to the writing, but I haven't been able to take them seriously ever since I took a chapter from on of the Mass Effect novels (written by the head writer) and read lines of it interchanged with the Eye of Argon. The sad part was that there was little difference between the two in terms of interesting prose.

So, no, I'm not a fan but I've beaten it, tried to play through as male Shep on a new save, and so on. Like I said, it's not that there's nothing redeemable there, it's just that there isn't a lot there except newly infused quicktime events that can be buggy and the choices themselves are nothing I haven't seen done somewhere else and done better. (They also mattered more.)

Thanks for the info on Enzio though, I'm thinking of playing Assassin's Creed II when I have the money and the time.

Ok, you've got yourself a pretty big post there so I'm going to try and make a collect point to all of yours.

Now I do play Mass Effect for the story along with the gameplay. The reason being is that it appears to be fast becoming gaming's space opera. Film has Star Wars and TV has... well, a good few shows. The reason being is that while people might complain about the generic space marine, I focus on the lore involving politics, racial and class division, personal turmoil etc in a new setting. You could make a case of "archetypes" but it annoys me when other medias somehow get away with this and while ME might be familiar in some ways, in my personal opinion it does those things better.

The prime thing I agree on with you is the lack of new features but on the up side, more of the same is good if you like that, I'm mean it's only two, I'd be pissed if it was 4 or 5. The decision making an impact do work BUT I find it's better if you imported the other character. For example many decisions that don't appear on the import screen do come up, this adding an extra personal touch that people yern for RPGs just like it's first incarnations on pen and paper form.

--------

My view on this entire subject is simply there is an issue with western cliches and archetypes but many (not those who I've been talking to at the moment, you seem to have a somewhat different case) who make it either pretend or ignore those east side.

How do the Elites go from "WootWootWoot!" to Japanese/Samurai/English speaking culture???

CORRODED SIN:
How do the Elites go from "WootWootWoot!" to Japanese/Samurai/English speaking culture???

They had always had a warrior culture and heritage based around honor and nobility. In Halo 1 humans had very limited access to technology that could actually translate what the elites were saying so it came out kinda.... distorted.
From Halo 2 and then onwards however the elites have been displaying more of the valiant warrior side that they always should have been showing, largely I think they speak english just so that people can understand what is being said.
Point is, part of me feels that Samurai fighting is actually quite fitting for the elites given their culture and background so heavily emulates that.

Hooray for me I was able to make a post about the elites without reminding everyone how godly and holy they are and without telling the humans that they inevitably face doom at the hands of the elites and.... oh... never mind.

Wow, this has gotten kinda off topic. Anyway in my own two cents, I personally think Movie Bob spent a little too much time bitching about Halo than actually reviewing the bloody thing. First off, Movie Bob, how about a little Reviewing 101. Rule #1: Check all bias and your ego at the door. I really don't care to hear your personal views on Halo and I definitely don't want to sit through watching you ejaculate your opinion on how Western games are all the same: Space Marines shooting shit and Japan is some amazing God-country that is so super speshul in what they make in games. It's almost as if you seem to forget that Japan is just a freaking landmass with people that are just as fallible as anywhere else in the world.

As to Halo Legends itself, I find it to be...polarizing at best. Some of the animation was kinda tired and boring which is not helped as Halo doesn't have the most energy filled of stories. I'll admit, I do like Halo and I especially like the lore of the universe it's set in. that being said, Halo Legends has a bad habit of disregarding canon in favor of pretty pictures. Some of it out right blatant. I'll give some examples.

If you've seen the Babysitter you were treated to Forerunner structures that look nothing like the familiar angular structures from the game. No instead, the forerunner where fond of making building in the same style as ancient Japan. Complete with a statue of Buddha. Pretty stupid huh? Guess what? The Babysitter wasn't the worst offender.

In the Duel, which was very artistic, but also very hard to watch (for me atleast. Something about the animation just made my eyes hurt) It had problems with Halo timeline. Mainly in that if it was supposedly set right after the Covenant had formed then the only members of it would have been the Elite and the Prophets. All the other races such as Hunters and grunts had yet to join. I did like how it did flesh out the Arbiter rank more and the elites in general, though the appearance of the elite female was so bad that is was declared non-canon.

The Package is one of the worst offenders. While a very cool episode, it just had little bits that left gaping holes in the universe's canon. For example the Booster Frames. In the Halo universe one of the things that made the Covenant so formidable was their immense fleets of extremely powerful warships armed by dangerous plasma weapons and protected by shield so powerful nothing short of a nuke or 2 consecutive blasts from a ship-mounted BFG would drop them. However in the episode the Booster Frames breach these shield which have given UNSC cruisers and destroyers immense problems with no trouble at all. If such tech was available to the human race why the hell were they losing? Also the whole blowing up the Covenant Seraph's which had shields capable of blocking missiles with a fucking Warthog gun was a bit of a wallbanger. Aside from that only minor details like all of the covenant having neon green blood really stood out. If you've played Halo to any extant then there as pretty good chance that you've looked behind you at the trail of destruction you just wrought and noticed it looks like a someone had a rave complete with the neon paint. From the Hunter's neon orange blood to the grunt's fluorescent blue blood to the jackal's purple blood and the Elite's blue-purple blood and the brute's dark blue blood, it's simply amazing the animator's managed to give them the one color of blood that non of them have. Also it was kinda sad that they couldn't even get the weapons shown on a spartans HUD to match the weapon they were carrying.

Still an interesting episode to watch even if your not into Halo as the 3D animation is top-notch. Resist the urge to pound the "Skip cutscene" button as it does evoke that kind of feeling even if you're watching it on YouTube. The other Halo Legend episodes I haven't seen so I'm not going to pass judgement on them yet.

As for the Halo hating, I find it funny and yet kinda sad so many people say it sucks completely disregarding the fact that a ton of people love playing it so Bungie must being doing something right. I always try to give games and their creators some credit because as long as people love what they do, it's pretty clear they're doing a good job at something. If I don't like something for some reason, I don't assume it sucks. I acknowledge that it just doesn't fit my personal tastes and move on.

As for those saying Halo rips off Aliens and Starship troopers, tell me. Does something having definate influences from other media make a game bad. If so I'd like to point out a successful, but little-known game with an immense amount of such influences including some from those very movies. It's name is Starcraft. If having such influences is bad then why is such a game tournament-played to this very day?

Vrex360:

CORRODED SIN:
How do the Elites go from "WootWootWoot!" to Japanese/Samurai/English speaking culture???

They had always had a warrior culture and heritage based around honor and nobility. In Halo 1 humans had very limited access to technology that could actually translate what the elites were saying so it came out kinda.... distorted.
From Halo 2 and then onwards however the elites have been displaying more of the valiant warrior side that they always should have been showing, largely I think they speak english just so that people can understand what is being said.
Point is, part of me feels that Samurai fighting is actually quite fitting for the elites given their culture and background so heavily emulates that.

Hooray for me I was able to make a post about the elites without reminding everyone how godly and holy they are and without telling the humans that they inevitably face doom at the hands of the elites and.... oh... never mind.

Added to the list of things I already knew...

nightwolf667:

paragon1:

nightwolf667:

paragon1:
If you think Gears of War and Halo are the only Western games out there Bob, then I think it's time you payed a visit to ANYWHERE THAT SELLS VIDEOGAMES. If you do, you'll see a wide range of titles with a wide range of characters in a wide range of genres that you appear to have missed.
Let me name a few that break your stereotype that are sitting on my shelf right now.
Brutal Legend
Mass Effect 1 and 2
Assassin's Creed II
Dragon Age
Uncharted 1 and 2
Bioshock
So...yeah.

You know, there are Western video games out there that break MovieBob's stereotype. You haven't named one yet. Actually, you've proved his point.

So...yeah.

Yeah nothing. Almost none of the main or supporting characters in those games fit his description of western game characters. Hell, half of those let YOU pick what the character will be like.

WORLD"S LARGEST SNIP
So yeah...

Leaving aside the fact that I disagree with just about everything you just said regarding Mass Effect and Dragon Age (and yes, I'm a shameless fan of those), it seems to me that your basically arguing that masculine(or at least what western society views as masculine) characters are the most common type, and that this isn't the case in Japanese games.
I disagree.
Mario: You fight a bunch of dudes to rescue a princess
Legend of Zelda: You fight a bunch of dudes to rescue a princess (and the world).
Metroid: Space marine fights aliens.
Ico and Shadow of the Colossus: You fight a bunch of weird ass shit to rescue a girl (who looks an awful lot like a princess).
Notice a theme here?

Edthebed:
I was disappointed by MovieBob's close-mindedness here.

That's because when it comes to video games Bob can be very veryyy bias, he's pretty much one of those Nintendo nostalgics that still thinks Super Mario 3 is the pinnacle of what to expect from games.

You mention any number of great games that have come out in recent years like Mass Effect 2, Fallout 3, or Uncharted 2, and he won't have much to say unless he hates the franchise like MW2, GTA4, or Halo in this case.

I prefer listening to what Bob has to say about movies because as we all see he's a lot more open minded towards them. With video games he's still stuck in the late 80s and early 90s.

I mean he likes movies like Crank or Transporter and those are pretty much the movie equivalents of macho gun-totting wankfests that you see in western games mentioned in this vid.

Maybe it just has something to do with Jason Statham...??

LoL

Honestly I found the shorts to be exceptionally boring, my wife actually fell asleep watching it. My friend, who really enjoys Halo, thought it added a lot more depth to the games and were very well thought out and creative. The overall format was just like the Animatrix, it didn't really add anything special to the Halo universe, it just kind of felt like they were just trying to cash in on the waning popularity of this franchise. While our friend was in to it my wife just fell asleep half way through the third episode and I just found myself struggling to get through it while it seemed to go on forever. Honestly I was pretty disappointed in it and I came into the movie with fairly low expectations to begin with.

I love how he digs on somehow the US just being flat one-dimensional military characters while just before that, showing the entire line-up of American created marvel super heroes. Somebody needs to stop eating lead paint.

Oh may gawd halo anime pewpewpew !
So yeah watched it , have to agree with Bob on this one , the dbz'esque one was pretty cool , all in all it was a nice transition from US to JP keep em' coming :D

I must say... I love Japan lol. Taking the piss out of Halo fanboys is a worthy cause by anyone.

MovieBob:
Halo Legends

This week MovieBob takes a look at the animated Halo Legends.

For more from MovieBob, check out Intermission.

Watch Video

Hmmmm super-powered teen heroes with a pet dinosaur huh...

image

If you know bob a bit longer from his game overthinker series on Youtube you'd know that he really likes the Japanese culture and retro gaming in particular. I am not stating that I know good ol' Bob better than anyone else around these parts but this is a clear consistency I noticed which was not so clear in earlier escapist review. Hence you should take his reviews and opinions with a spoonful of salt. Like everyone's else.

I personally think that many people glorify anime and manga in general and do not watch and/or read their western counterparts. if you dwell long enough in the realms of japanese pop culture you can clearly see that the average anime and manga stories are as repetitive as their western equivalent.
I guess anime and manga is hailed the way it is because it brought something fresh and new to the western mainstream. But it can become equally as stale.

Crazy_Bird:
If you know bob a bit longer from his game overthinker series on Youtube you'd know that he really likes the Japanese culture and retro gaming in particular. I am not stating that I know good ol' Bob better than anyone else around these parts but this is a clear consistency I noticed which was not so clear in earlier escapist review. Hence you should take his reviews and opinions with a spoonful of salt. Like everyone's else.

I personally think that many people glorify anime and manga in general and do not watch and/or read their western counterparts. if you dwell long enough in the realms of japanese pop culture you can clearly see that the average anime and manga stories are as repetitive as their western equivalent.
I guess anime and manga is hailed the way it is because it brought something fresh and new to the western mainstream. But it can become equally as stale.

From a good chunk of his game over thinker videos, he's criticized Japanese culture a plenty, the most recurring one being the weird fetishes.

While I may disagree with a good few view points on the matter in defense of the West, I know he's not a Japanophile.

Stabby Joe:
[quote="Crazy_Bird" post="6.177289.5155520"]
From a good chunk of his game over thinker videos, he's criticized Japanese culture a plenty, the most recurring one being the weird fetishes.

While I may disagree with a good few view points on the matter in defense of the West, I know he's not a Japanophile.

I have to agree with you and of course the truth is in between. While he is not the classic japanophile I always get the feeling he thinks of Japanese culture as superior in many aspects (often rightfully so) but then again he sometimes overdoes his (equally rightful) critique of contemporary western game and story design.
Hence I think of him as slanted towards Japanese culture. Yet he does reflect on this and states clearly his preferences. in some reviews (like this one) he starts to ramble and fitting criticism 0borderlines on bashing the other alternative.

No I dont believe it is nitpicky with the complaints you have. We all like to see things adapted faithfully but with a degree that they wont become stale. What struck me as the most annoying aspect was the claiming of culture through the animation. When the Anime kids stereotypes and their silent teenage girl spartan (who by the way looked like she had only seen battle via GI:JOE Videos) came across the ancient ruins that were unidentified by ship scanner why on EARTH (note earth) were they Asuka & nara based? I dont mean to whine but the research was very badly done in this department.

Just like the aforementioned Samurai feel. Honestly even the Elite was wearing a Conical Hat.

Spartan Pizza Cats more like :/

The problems continue. The voice acting is surprisingly bad for what is probably a high budget project. The Master Chief's voice is downright horrendous and I honestly could say the character voice acting is better in The Power Rangers. Scripts are awful and whoever wrote the dialogue clearly has no clue what they are doing; when the 12 year old DOA eyed female soldier is dying she asks her commander what she was to him and he replies "What do you mean? Your a soldier. A good soldier. *pause* Soldier" seriously...its that fucking bad.

The Spartans are actually depicted as quite pathetic creatures more than the Spartans of old they are based on. its ironic that they show King Leonidas and his Spartans looking terrifying and blood drunk before bringing us back to look at these sniveling, pathetic and utterly unconvincing "warriors". Some of the dialogue in the "Origins" episode section likes to hint at the children being augmented and trained in the methods of war but the whole thing holds water as well as a sieve does.

Now I dont hate Anime as I have seen some brilliant stuff of that familer style but it must be used correctly in reference to the source material. This is an example of it all being thrown out of the window.

Also I liked the first Halo, Halo 2 was laughable and the 3rd I didnt bother with so I dont really consider myself a fan of the series but I do like it when things remain a "little" faithful to the source material. Maybe the way it was build up in other media is that the Spartans being the MOST POWERFUL MILITARY ELITE TROOPER ULTRA DELTA TOP SECRET unit about would not basically act like little emo kids who cry when hearing someones voice but rather a game format version of Kurt Russel from SOLDIER (Crappy film but interesting idea) and or JCVD and Dolph Lundgren from Universal Soldier.

Just think the animation was stock and devoid of any type of smooth framerate, characterization was badly implemented and the overabundance of 12 year old kids was rather an eyesore.

P.S

Here right at the start of this clip is HOW (based on the source material and lore) the Spartans more or less would be trained and depicts how they would turn out. Obviously the Spartans would be MASSIVELY more aggressive and soldier like with the training in 500 years time. So no "ghey" Spartans please.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VyMht6Xmh7c

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