Extra Punctuation: Manly Vs. Macho in Gears

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erttheking:

Akalabeth:
Personally I'd have to agree with Yahtzee by and large with regards to Gears 3 anyway.
Especially at the end when the queen is giving some empassioned speech about how they deserve the right to live too and no one seems to bat an eye. It's like why even go into that territory if you're not going to explore it.

It's like the main characters were in a different dialogue scene and didn't know what was going on.

Um, I can't help but remember that five minutes ago she was screeching "ACCEPT THAT YOUR SPECIES WILL DIE!" and she had spent the last 17-ish years trying to wipe out all of Humanity despite having made no attempts to cooperate with them...why I am I supposed to be sorry and not dancing for joy as she gets stabbed? I think no one is batting an eye because she's coming off as a massive hypocrite, I kept muttering that word under my breath as I played.

Well then she was poorly written/characterized and should have been one way or the other.
Even so, one can give a lot of premises for their refusal to co-operate. Namely if the pentagon wars soured the locust's impression of humanity they may have taken a specific course of action. There is also the fact that they're obviously very desperate.

The point is the ending didn't click with me. The story sounded grand but in the end it just didn't come together and a lot of things don't really make sense. Maybe I missed something from GoW for example, by why were the Locusts capturing and torturing people? Was there a purpose behind that? Or was it just to kill off dom's wife?

Where's the locust civilian cast? We've been in their castle. Is everyone a soldier? Where's the support structure? Etcetera. Even Half Life 2, which I'm not a huge fan of, had some zombie labourers in the alien buildings. So did Prey. So did a lot of games.

I like Gears of war but in terms of story it fell a bit flat.

Akalabeth:

erttheking:

Akalabeth:
Personally I'd have to agree with Yahtzee by and large with regards to Gears 3 anyway.
Especially at the end when the queen is giving some empassioned speech about how they deserve the right to live too and no one seems to bat an eye. It's like why even go into that territory if you're not going to explore it.

It's like the main characters were in a different dialogue scene and didn't know what was going on.

Um, I can't help but remember that five minutes ago she was screeching "ACCEPT THAT YOUR SPECIES WILL DIE!" and she had spent the last 17-ish years trying to wipe out all of Humanity despite having made no attempts to cooperate with them...why I am I supposed to be sorry and not dancing for joy as she gets stabbed? I think no one is batting an eye because she's coming off as a massive hypocrite, I kept muttering that word under my breath as I played.

Well then she was poorly written/characterized and should have been one way or the other.
Even so, one can give a lot of premises for their refusal to co-operate. Namely if the pentagon wars soured the locust's impression of humanity they may have taken a specific course of action. There is also the fact that they're obviously very desperate.

The point is the ending didn't click with me. The story sounded grand but in the end it just didn't come together and a lot of things don't really make sense. Maybe I missed something from GoW for example, by why were the Locusts capturing and torturing people? Was there a purpose behind that? Or was it just to kill off dom's wife?

Where's the locust civilian cast? We've been in their castle. Is everyone a soldier? Where's the support structure? Etcetera. Even Half Life 2, which I'm not a huge fan of, had some zombie labourers in the alien buildings. So did Prey. So did a lot of games.

I like Gears of war but in terms of story it fell a bit flat.

I think that the soldiers in the horde multitask, as in they fight and when they're not fighting they do manual labor, I can't help but remember Locust soldiers putting together ticker bombs in Gears 3. Not to mention the that Locust had an impression for Humanity was a real stupid choice for starting a war with them, and while we're on the subject, why the Hell would the want to fight a war on two fronts? What, the Lambent is supposed to be threatening to tear them apart but the still have enough soldiers to order the mass exception of a race that coats the planet.

OK for what has too be the hundredth time on these forums, I'm going to point at the Gears of War novels by Karen Travis and say that "If you want to realy see whats going on under the hood of some of the best known characters in video gaming, read these books."

It will explain why marcus has the mental capacities of a 12 year old.
It will explain why he is distant, even too those he loves most.

Hats of too Therumancer for sticking up for a good set of video games with logic and reasoning rather than just jumping on the "GRRRR I AM MARCUS FENIX AN ANGRY ROBOT!" bandwagon.

Quick question, did anyone see the final scene in Gears of War 3?
Seriously anyone?
You know that bit where it all hits Marcus and he takes off his armour for the first time (metaphorically and physically) since we knew him as a video game character and we realise just how deeply unwell he is a a person?
Nah just me then.

Or did you miss it in Gears of War 2 where he shows concern for the love of his life, the woman he hasn't made a move on because it would get in the way and just complicate things?

How many of you have realised that the ENTIRE point of Marcus Fenix is just plain and simple: you wont see much of him as a person, he raises his shields around himself so he doesn't get hurt, but when something hits home, when something realy hurts, you see it and you realise how hard he has to work to keep himself protected because he is so weak?

People don't seem to want to think about Gears, because the game hasn't asked them to.
When a beefcake Gear walks past a skinny Stranded you can either: complain that the artists only know how to design macho stereotypes, or you can wonder why the military people in this story are well fed steroided jocks, while the free people are starved wimps. I choose to give the game props for storytelling with more than just dialogue.

- people seem to overlook that Marcus is a genius rich kid. At first glance he's just a cliche grizzled beefcake grunt. But when you find out he's a genius rich kid - you instantly have an interesting character. If einstein's son showed up in armor, wouldn't you think "ok, interesting. What made him so gruff?" But I don't think most players ever stop to wonder about this.
Clearly he rebelled from his important politically connected father in order to get his hands dirty - yet we know Marcus eventually abandoned his post to save his father. i love it. I wondered whether Gears3 would ever try to explain what Marcus did to end up in jail in the first game - and was THRILLED to see that a dreamy/nightmare flashback of exactly this event was the opening of Gears3. I thought it was a very bold awesome way to start the game (for people who are actually thinking about the game's story).

- My favorite character has always been Baird (until this game), because he's such an asshole. Clearly he's a mechanical genius, but all he can do is insult everyone and complain about having to fight. He's like a brutalized little kid, but everyone tolerates him because he has demonstrable talent. The fact that he and Marcus aren't constantly high fiving shows that Marcus is not thinking all the negative bullshit Baird is vocalizing. Plus Baird's "look" reminds me of Iceman from TopGun (another "efficient" dude, who seemed angry he wasn't the most important person in the room). I found it interesting to wonder : why is he so close with Cole? Cole is so warm and funny. they're an odd couple. (but in this game, we had several moments where Baird is less of a jerk, and seems to be growing up. soo. bleh. I felt like they squandered him a little. Probably to keep focus on marcus's journey into hate.

- I hated Griffin. Marcus is out there trying to do something, and Griffin is just holed up behind his traps, hiding from the world. erttheking alrteady summed up why Griffin sucks very well.
I think most players just think of Griffin as "ice-t overacting" and never consider that maybe the character is MEANT to be a special sort of fast talking loser.

I think the whole Gears series has a fascinating way of inviting jocks (and now, rap music lovers) in, then shoving their face in the flaws of what they love.

- as for stabbing the queen - I was holding my breath at that moment. I was convinced she was going to be revealed as Marcus's long missing mother. so when he steps over the ashes of his father to stab her in the guts, I was stunned.
(however, true Gears lore nuts have pointed out that collectibles in Gears2 explained the Queen to be someone else. And that the books have stuck to the point that Marcus's mother was found dead in tunnels long before Eday.).

Soviet Heavy:

Zhukov:
That reminds me, why exactly were the Locusts in Gears deemed evil?

Sure, they didn't exactly treat their pets nicely, but beyond that, what gave them the "bad guy" label apart from being slightly uglier than the average human soldier?

I wonder this too. They are stated to be the bad guys, but every action they have taken in the series has been a direct response to the Human's aggression. The Pendulum Wars before the games were lasting for decades, and the Locust were perfectly content to let the top dwellers to rip themselves apart. It was only after the Immulsion drilling and subsequent dumping of fuel into their hollows that they got fed up and attacked. They are the native species, defending their planet from the destructive colonists.

The Immulsion dumping awoke the Krill, the flesh eating bat creatures. God knows how many locust were massacred by them. This forces them to live near the immulsion for illumination to keep the kryll away, putting them between being eaten alive and horrible mutations.

Yet being large, brutish looking thugs, they are declared evil.

Humans were around a long time before the locust, they weren't colonists. I'd say the biggest reason the locust were characterized as "the bad guys" in the series was mostly because of that whole thing where the locust tried to commit mass genocide against the human race preemptively. Seriously, that was in the first ten minutes of the first game they went over that.

erttheking:

I think that the soldiers in the horde multitask, as in they fight and when they're not fighting they do manual labor, I can't help but remember Locust soldiers putting together ticker bombs in Gears 3. Not to mention the that Locust had an impression for Humanity was a real stupid choice for starting a war with them, and while we're on the subject, why the Hell would the want to fight a war on two fronts? What, the Lambent is supposed to be threatening to tear them apart but the still have enough soldiers to order the mass exception of a race that coats the planet.

Well I think you're giving the story too much credit quite frankly.
The lambent weren't even so much as mentioned in the first game that I'm aware of, and I say this as someone who only played it a month or two back for the first time. They seem to be sort of making it up as they go along. Oh wait that's not entirely true, there were some lambent monkey things. But I dunno, I think they just built upon that they didn't intend to go this direction exactly. I don't think a lot of people plan to make 3 games, they make 1 and simply hope to make more. Then they do their best to tie things together but it doesn't necessarily work out in the end.

The problem with this game and the problem with many similar games is that there's no sense of loss. I mean yeah, a lot of people died, but who are they, why should I care? Why should I care about Dom's wife? I've never met or seen the broad. I cared a little bit about dom, but not much.

warrenEBB:
People don't seem to want to think about Gears, because the game hasn't asked them to.
snip

I know! You have no idea how much I've had to defend Gears 2 (haven't played 3 yet). Remember Act 3 of Gears when you were in the research station and the tone was pseudo-horror? Do you have any idea how many people I talked to who missed the point of that act entirely, Yahtzee included?

Christ, you barely even had to look under the surface to figure it out.

(incidentally, I always assumed that that facility was where the Locust were created and the Sires were a prototype of them, but I haven't played 3. Was I right?)

How about the Arbiter from the Halo series? Would he be manly, or macho? He has a character arc that could starts out Manly, but then it goes Macho and he just changes allegiances without any indication that he gave these choices any thought. And by Halo 3 he's just a background character, a mascot for the "Elites are Friends now" schtick.

SnakeoilSage:
How about the Arbiter from the Halo series? Would he be manly, or macho? He has a character arc that could starts out Manly, but then it goes Macho and he just changes allegiances without any indication that he gave these choices any thought. And by Halo 3 he's just a background character, a mascot for the "Elites are Friends now" schtick.

What do you mean "without indication"? That was basically the entire plot of Halo 2.

Avatar Roku:
...(incidentally, I always assumed that that facility was where the Locust were created and the Sires were a prototype of them, but I haven't played 3. Was I right?)

There were collectible items in Gears2 (I mention this to point out that it was IN THE GAME, and you don't have to read the books to find this) which explain how that New Hope facility was experimenting in mixing human DNA with creatures they were finding underground, in order to get around the Rust Lung problem. This mostly led to the "failures" called "sires." but one collectible notes there was a single success, named Ruth, who was an almost perfect humanoid female (who one day, we can infer, would change her name to queen myrrah).

it's well laid out, over in this forum post(s): http://www.gamefaqs.com/boards/991468-gears-of-war-3/60473916

Really irks me that Yahtzee is using gears as an example of "missed opportunity" in FPS storytelling, when it actually does some innovative awesomely subtle shit that he just overlooked.

Avatar Roku:

SnakeoilSage:
How about the Arbiter from the Halo series? Would he be manly, or macho? He has a character arc that could starts out Manly, but then it goes Macho and he just changes allegiances without any indication that he gave these choices any thought. And by Halo 3 he's just a background character, a mascot for the "Elites are Friends now" schtick.

What do you mean "without indication"? That was basically the entire plot of Halo 2.

It's poorly done; the Arbiter just kind of shrugs as those plot points come up. You didn't meet your "Kill all Humans" quota? Hey, it's no problem I'll take up the mantle of a suicidal warrior and avenge my honour. Rebel Elite says the Prophets lie? Whatever heretic, I'mma shiv you with my energy blade. Elites get pushed out of power? Hey's that's not cool... so what's my next suicide mission? Flood Gravemind calls him a ponce for following orders? "You make a great point I will instantly believe you and fight against the religion that has definied my life and species for centuries. But only for you, giant amorphous blob of biomass that talks in rhyme. Certainly not for the Master Chief, the guy I hate for killing my soldiers even though he's only defending a species I've helped to systematically wipe out for years now, burning away billions of lives because my bosses told me to, and I expect him to just accept me when I decide to change sides because this whole game is meant to make the Elites - who laugh when you die in the first Halo - into good guys by showing the player that we have sense of honour... but only when our superiors turn their giant douchebag powers on us, not when they're telling us to senselessly butcher an entire species because "the gods say so."

All of that just happens in Arbiter's head, or off-screen. Maybe it's 'cause I can't read "mandibles" but I didn't see him weigh the experiences of his life with the harsh truth's he's just discovered for longer than it takes to shift his head to the left.

The87Italians:

Soviet Heavy:

Zhukov:
That reminds me, why exactly were the Locusts in Gears deemed evil?

Sure, they didn't exactly treat their pets nicely, but beyond that, what gave them the "bad guy" label apart from being slightly uglier than the average human soldier?

I wonder this too. They are stated to be the bad guys, but every action they have taken in the series has been a direct response to the Human's aggression. The Pendulum Wars before the games were lasting for decades, and the Locust were perfectly content to let the top dwellers to rip themselves apart. It was only after the Immulsion drilling and subsequent dumping of fuel into their hollows that they got fed up and attacked. They are the native species, defending their planet from the destructive colonists.

The Immulsion dumping awoke the Krill, the flesh eating bat creatures. God knows how many locust were massacred by them. This forces them to live near the immulsion for illumination to keep the kryll away, putting them between being eaten alive and horrible mutations.

Yet being large, brutish looking thugs, they are declared evil.

Humans were around a long time before the locust, they weren't colonists. I'd say the biggest reason the locust were characterized as "the bad guys" in the series was mostly because of that whole thing where the locust tried to commit mass genocide against the human race preemptively. Seriously, that was in the first ten minutes of the first game they went over that.

How are the Locust "new" to Sera? They were only made common knowledge after they appeared during E-Day. Nobody knows how long they were living below ground before that. Gears 3 Reveals that the Adam Fenix was aware of the Locust presence, and was trying to broker a peace with Myrrah, who was pissed that the humans were dumping the lambent spawning immulsion into their hollows. Adam never told anyone about the impending attack, and the Locust surprised everyone.

Versuvius:
Ratchet and Clank had the billion guns/silent gameplay/voiced cutscenes before Half Life >.> just saying.

(Also a better game series)

Ratchet and Clank came out in 2002. Half Life came out in 1998. Now, I might have failed A-Level Maths, but I'm pretty sure that means Half-Life came first.

And Half Life doesn't have voiced cutscenes (or cutscenes at all, for that matter, although you can argue it on a technicality), which makes your little brackets piece seem to be an out-of-arse assumption instead of a "I have played both and I prefer this". And 3000 other games had the massive inventory system before either of those anyway, as well as silent protagonists.

ironlordthemad:
OK for what has too be the hundredth time on these forums, I'm going to point at the Gears of War novels by Karen Travis and say that "If you want to realy see whats going on under the hood of some of the best known characters in video gaming, read these books."

And for the 100th time, people will tell you that saying, "oh, its just because you haven't read third-party media pieces X and Y" is not a valid excuse for poor writing or characterisation.

Woodsey:

ironlordthemad:
OK for what has too be the hundredth time on these forums, I'm going to point at the Gears of War novels by Karen Travis and say that "If you want to realy see whats going on under the hood of some of the best known characters in video gaming, read these books."

And for the 100th time, people will tell you that saying, "oh, its just because you haven't read third-party media pieces X and Y" is not a valid excuse for poor writing or characterisation.

QFT

Any game that needs it's plot to be better explained with additional 3rd party novels has failed.

It's very true that Capelli gets less time than he needed. I found that it was very annoying that the support characters wouldn't shut the hell up, and Joe just went along silently.

Therumancer:

Your point makes sense. It also is very possible to write a good story about a dehumanised soldier with petty grudges.

Gears of War, however, is not that - even if realism was any excuse for a shitty story.

Versuvius:
Ratchet and Clank had the billion guns/silent gameplay/voiced cutscenes before Half Life >.> just saying.

(Also a better game series)

Oh god I hope you're trolling. Not about being a better game series... cause I love them both but... oh sweet jesus I hope you're trolling.

Therumancer:
Sometimes it bugs me how often Yahtzee can give biting insights, and other times he can miss a huge amount of the point almost entirely. Sometimes I thing he's just sounding off for the sake of sounding off.

I'm not a huge "Gears Of War" fan, but understand that we're dealing with characters who are career military, and a protaganist who is a hardened veteran before the game even starts, and has also done a fairly notable stint in a military prison.

Military training by it's very nature is supposed to strip away most signs of emotion and individuality, the idea being to replace everything you are with something better... well better in the context of killing people and breaking things in pursuit of a goal someone else decides on. Soldiers who recognize the enemy as having valid points of view, or being regular people with lives and families are kind of useless in reality. All arguements about politics and morality, when your fighting to win soldiers who pause to contemplate the inhumanity of war and what they are doing to their enemy in the midst of a battle can't do the job. The last thing you need is for the guy standing there protecting you to pause and go "OMG, I can't kill this poor unfortunate" while that guy proceeds to kill him and then turns around and massacres you and your entire civilization.

We could sit here and argue about the morality of this entire thing, and the nessecity of it, but I doubt I could do a better job of explaining it and WHY it's needed anymore than say Heinlan's "Starship Troopers".

When looking at a game featuring the military, especially characters who are supposed to be experienced veterans... yes, they are going to be fairly uniform. That's actually good writing since this is what the system produces. Take one of those guys, toss him into a military prison where emotion is a weakness (prison can be very dehumanizing on people who want to survive it, especially military prison), and then toss him back out into an apocolyptic war... and yeah... Marcus Fenix is pretty much what your going to get. If he was any other way it would actually have been bad writing given the backround which ties into the entire thing.... and this is a defense being made by someone who doesn't paticularly like the game in question.

Simply put the whole "Macho" attitude we see here, is kind of realistic for the kinds of characters we tend to deal with. In general people have differant mechanisms for turning out that way. Joking about everything and becoming a sort of macabre clown who takes nothing seriously while doing their job with lethal precisian, or becoming the aloof "Marcus Fenix" type are both very typical ways of dealing with this kind of life.

As far as cutting down bad guys who have legitimate points of view and/or justifications for what they are doing, that's pretty much reality. In general nobody wakes up and decides "we're going to be really evil today just for the heck of it" everything happens for a reason. Of course the Locust/Chimera/Muslims/Whatever have legitimate reasons for doing what they are doing from their own perspective, some of which might even seem fairly reasonable to the other side, if they didn't there wouldn't be a massive scale war. This is incidently exactly WHY you dehumanize your soldiers and strip away a lot of their empathy. In the end pretty much all wars come down to "us or them", "my side, and their side", the bad guy and the good guy are all matters of point of view, and when it's come down to a war only one side is going to be left functioning, and that's the side that gets to record history.

A situation where a bad guy goes off about how legitimate their cause is and then gets cut down by some grunting soldier who might have a personal vendetta is pretty much a summary of war in a nutshell. In the end the point of view of the loser doesn't matter, it's all about who wins.... and in "Gears Of War" it is very much an "us or them" type situation no matter who might have the overall moral high ground when you scrape all the muck away.

Honestly from what I know of the series "Gears Of War" set out to make a sort of commentary on the nature of war, and really from the plot points I've seen it's done a fairly good job of making the points it set out to do. Marcus Fenix might be stereotypical to some extent, but I suspect that's kind of the point, as is the simple point that once a war breaks out
the reasons behind it no longer matter, with it being the job of a soldier to end the war favorably for their side or die trying.

But then again, the realities of war have never really sat well with the left wing regardless of what name it uses in a given country.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, but you see what you doing here is justifying WHY Marcus is a really boring macho twat...but you'r not DENYING that he's a really boring macho twat. Congratulations.

Soviet Heavy:

The87Italians:

Soviet Heavy:

I wonder this too. They are stated to be the bad guys, but every action they have taken in the series has been a direct response to the Human's aggression. The Pendulum Wars before the games were lasting for decades, and the Locust were perfectly content to let the top dwellers to rip themselves apart. It was only after the Immulsion drilling and subsequent dumping of fuel into their hollows that they got fed up and attacked. They are the native species, defending their planet from the destructive colonists.

The Immulsion dumping awoke the Krill, the flesh eating bat creatures. God knows how many locust were massacred by them. This forces them to live near the immulsion for illumination to keep the kryll away, putting them between being eaten alive and horrible mutations.

Yet being large, brutish looking thugs, they are declared evil.

Humans were around a long time before the locust, they weren't colonists. I'd say the biggest reason the locust were characterized as "the bad guys" in the series was mostly because of that whole thing where the locust tried to commit mass genocide against the human race preemptively. Seriously, that was in the first ten minutes of the first game they went over that.

How are the Locust "new" to Sera? They were only made common knowledge after they appeared during E-Day. Nobody knows how long they were living below ground before that. Gears 3 Reveals that the Adam Fenix was aware of the Locust presence, and was trying to broker a peace with Myrrah, who was pissed that the humans were dumping the lambent spawning immulsion into their hollows. Adam never told anyone about the impending attack, and the Locust surprised everyone.

I never said they were new to Sera, I said that the humans were around a long time before the locust were. Was it possible that the locust had been underground for thousands of years prior to human existance on Sera? Yeah sure, maybe. Apparently there was a collectible that said something about miners infected with immulsion created the sires whose children were the original locust, but I never found it. The gears wiki pretty much says the same thing here.

Also, humans hadn't been dumping immulsion underground, it just evolved again and started created the lambent creatures (Adam even said something about that in the game). The only reason the locust attacked the surface was because they wanted to get the hell out of the hollow where the lambent were running rampant. It just got to the point where Adam ran out of time to create a cure for the lambency, so they decided to commit genocide against humans on the surface.

SnakeoilSage:
snip for space

It isn't really that Arbiter makes a choice, not until the very end. Up until that point, Arby is mainly interested in getting out alive and taking revenge on the Brutes, the Humans don't even enter the picture. It's only AFTER Arby knows what the Halos do that he decides to team up with Humans, and even then only out of sheer necessity.

I admit, I'm biased to like the Arbiter, both because he's more interesting than Master Chief and because he is voiced by Keith David. But that aside, he really isn't as bad as you say.

Avatar Roku:

SnakeoilSage:
snip for space

It isn't really that Arbiter makes a choice, not until the very end. Up until that point, Arby is mainly interested in getting out alive and taking revenge on the Brutes, the Humans don't even enter the picture. It's only AFTER Arby knows what the Halos do that he decides to team up with Humans, and even then only out of sheer necessity.

I admit, I'm biased to like the Arbiter, both because he's more interesting than Master Chief and because he is voiced by Keith David. But that aside, he really isn't as bad as you say.

No dude, I hear you, and I like the Arbiter too. I just think they didn't do him much justice. When Halo 2 came out, I was disappointed for two reasons. One, Bungie lied about fighting for earth and that is epic Spoony levels of Betrayal! Second, the Arbiter should have gotten his own spin-off game.

And now that you've said Arby I'm hungry for a beef n' cheddar...

I think the phenomenon you are seeing, Yahtzee, is not really a "manly" versus "machismo" problem but rather a fundamental problem of some game developers not being able to think as holistically as they need to about a game's design and implementation. They see the parts that go into a game, but they don't see the interactions between the parts that go into forming the holistic, identifying structure of the game. Essentially, they miss the forest cause they are counting the atoms in the leaves.

It is a skill to be able to have that 1000-feet-up view and see how the different elements work together to create a singular, coherent structure whose overall behavior is an emergent phenomenon that does not exist within any of the particular parts. This ability is what separates the artists and craftsmen from everybody else.

Here's an exercise to understand what I'm talking about regarding the differences in thinking and perspective. The next time you take a flight, look out the window and pay attention, not to the individual things you see on the ground, but to the total patterns that are inscribed on the ground. Look at the pattern of flows of vegetations, of soil(yes, the soil has lots of patterns caused by water run-off and human activity), and of the building and house of cities you pass over. Look at the pattern of the clouds and see the flows of the atmosphere in their arrangements(can you pick out the large-scale clusterings of air masses?). You can not see these patterns in the individual objects; it is only in the collective structure formed from the interactions of the objects that you can see these patterns.

Every part of a game is important to convey the total identity of the game. If the parts don't work together, then the game just becomes a collection of random things to keep you busy, every bit as pointless as a child's Busy Center toy.

Or, maybe I'm just making shit up. Who knows; who cares.

SnakeoilSage:

Avatar Roku:

SnakeoilSage:
snip for space

It isn't really that Arbiter makes a choice, not until the very end. Up until that point, Arby is mainly interested in getting out alive and taking revenge on the Brutes, the Humans don't even enter the picture. It's only AFTER Arby knows what the Halos do that he decides to team up with Humans, and even then only out of sheer necessity.

I admit, I'm biased to like the Arbiter, both because he's more interesting than Master Chief and because he is voiced by Keith David. But that aside, he really isn't as bad as you say.

No dude, I hear you, and I like the Arbiter too. I just think they didn't do him much justice. When Halo 2 came out, I was disappointed for two reasons. One, Bungie lied about fighting for earth and that is epic Spoony levels of Betrayal! Second, the Arbiter should have gotten his own spin-off game.

And now that you've said Arby I'm hungry for a beef n' cheddar...

Ah, cool. I agree, Arby didn't get what he deserved: he was, to me, the best part of the game. I just still don't really think he was treated as badly as you said.

SnakeoilSage:
How about the Arbiter from the Halo series? Would he be manly, or macho? He has a character arc that could starts out Manly, but then it goes Macho and he just changes allegiances without any indication that he gave these choices any thought. And by Halo 3 he's just a background character, a mascot for the "Elites are Friends now" schtick.

He didn't have to give his changing of allegiance any thought, there was a civil war on which was based off of racial and class tensions. He happened to be of the type of person that could be labelled a rebel. Even if he hadn't chosen his position in the dispute, that position he took would of been forced upon him.

Zhukov:
That reminds me, why exactly were the Locusts in Gears deemed evil?

Sure, they didn't exactly treat their pets nicely, but beyond that, what gave them the "bad guy" label apart from being slightly uglier than the average human soldier?

They are slightly uglier than the average human soldier.

I've recognized that Fenix was a lousy character since game 1. The reason the guy was in prison in the first place was because he went AWOL to rescue his dad, an action that both got his unit killed and failed to accomplish what he set out to do in the first place. And yet for some inconceivable reason, the COGs decide to put him in a command position instead of someone who has a more reliable track record.

Then in game 2, in spite of the fact that he points out that he recognizes that this was a huge mistake, he still goes along with Dom to help him potentially make the same mistake and put the future of all humanity in unnecessary danger instead of arguing that if they die trying to save his wive, it won't matter if she's alive or not. Oh, yeah, and lest we forget, they weren't able to save her anyway (you know, just like what happened when Fenix tried to save his dad). Which means they put their mission at risk for nothing.

Frankly, as fun as the games are to play, I thought the writing itself was lousy. If you ask me, the reason that humanity was loosing so badly was on account of the COGs having terrible leadership as much or moreso than anything else.

The Manly vs. Macho was always my favorite EP. I wish there had been more of a similar analysis in this.

ironlordthemad:
OK for what has too be the hundredth time on these forums, I'm going to point at the Gears of War novels by Karen Travis and say that "If you want to realy see whats going on under the hood of some of the best known characters in video gaming, read these books."

It will explain why marcus has the mental capacities of a 12 year old.
It will explain why he is distant, even too those he loves most.

Hats of too Therumancer for sticking up for a good set of video games with logic and reasoning rather than just jumping on the "GRRRR I AM MARCUS FENIX AN ANGRY ROBOT!" bandwagon.

Quick question, did anyone see the final scene in Gears of War 3?
Seriously anyone?
You know that bit where it all hits Marcus and he takes off his armour for the first time (metaphorically and physically) since we knew him as a video game character and we realise just how deeply unwell he is a a person?
Nah just me then.

Or did you miss it in Gears of War 2 where he shows concern for the love of his life, the woman he hasn't made a move on because it would get in the way and just complicate things?

How many of you have realised that the ENTIRE point of Marcus Fenix is just plain and simple: you wont see much of him as a person, he raises his shields around himself so he doesn't get hurt, but when something hits home, when something realy hurts, you see it and you realise how hard he has to work to keep himself protected because he is so weak?

"Read the books" is never an excuse for the game failing to characterise him properly. That excuse would not slide in a movie, a play, or any other form of medium.

Shamanic Rhythm:

ironlordthemad:
OK for what has too be the hundredth time on these forums, I'm going to point at the Gears of War novels by Karen Travis and say that "If you want to realy see whats going on under the hood of some of the best known characters in video gaming, read these books."

It will explain why marcus has the mental capacities of a 12 year old.
It will explain why he is distant, even too those he loves most.

Hats of too Therumancer for sticking up for a good set of video games with logic and reasoning rather than just jumping on the "GRRRR I AM MARCUS FENIX AN ANGRY ROBOT!" bandwagon.

Quick question, did anyone see the final scene in Gears of War 3?
Seriously anyone?
You know that bit where it all hits Marcus and he takes off his armour for the first time (metaphorically and physically) since we knew him as a video game character and we realise just how deeply unwell he is a a person?
Nah just me then.

Or did you miss it in Gears of War 2 where he shows concern for the love of his life, the woman he hasn't made a move on because it would get in the way and just complicate things?

How many of you have realised that the ENTIRE point of Marcus Fenix is just plain and simple: you wont see much of him as a person, he raises his shields around himself so he doesn't get hurt, but when something hits home, when something realy hurts, you see it and you realise how hard he has to work to keep himself protected because he is so weak?

"Read the books" is never an excuse for the game failing to characterise him properly. That excuse would not slide in a movie, a play, or any other form of medium.

Amen. I've seen people tell interesting stories with games (and nothing but the game! Sometimes just one game even!). A few, but they're there. If you need someone else to write a few books just to get your point across sufficiently, it's just goddamned laziness.

Akalabeth:
Well I think you're giving the story too much credit quite frankly.
The lambent weren't even so much as mentioned in the first game that I'm aware of, and I say this as someone who only played it a month or two back for the first time. They seem to be sort of making it up as they go along. Oh wait that's not entirely true, there were some lambent monkey things. But I dunno, I think they just built upon that they didn't intend to go this direction exactly. I don't think a lot of people plan to make 3 games, they make 1 and simply hope to make more. Then they do their best to tie things together but it doesn't necessarily work out in the end.

The problem with this game and the problem with many similar games is that there's no sense of loss. I mean yeah, a lot of people died, but who are they, why should I care? Why should I care about Dom's wife? I've never met or seen the broad. I cared a little bit about dom, but not much.

Actually, there's a fair bit of mention of the Lambent, or at least hints. The Lambent Wretches are clearly shown as different, and the game states that long term exposure to Imulsion causes this disease/affliction.

The other major point is that the queen speaks at the end, mentioning that the humans don't know why the Locust are waging the war, and why they can't stop. They're being driven out from the very start of the series.

Anyway, other arguments aside, the 2 things that really irked me in the Gears series is this:

If the Locust and humans had contact prior to E-Day, why didn't they announce themselves and peacefully surface, explaining the reason and why they should combat it? Yes, Adam Fenix basically betrayed them, but that wasn't the reason.

What was the point of the Sires? Apart from theory and speculation in the aforementioned thread, there is little explanation of what they were beyond experiments.

Yahtzee stop trying to prove Resistance is copying everything from Half-Life, do you know what other games have silent protagonists during gameplay, over half the dam market. Every thing that you say Resistance is taking from Half-Life is in hundreds of other games, it's not copying Half-Life it's using genre standards, much like Half-Life has done. Other then that good article, I don't need the troubled tough guy archetype, either one you mentioned, until they started appearing in every game.

mjc0961:

Zhukov:
That reminds me, why exactly were the Locusts in Gears deemed evil?

Sure, they didn't exactly treat their pets nicely, but beyond that, what gave them the "bad guy" label apart from being slightly uglier than the average human soldier?

You know, actually playing the games would really help with clearing that up.

Oh ho ho ho, well, aren't you so very witty.

I've played all three games. None of them explained exactly why the Locust were evil. The intro to the first game just has them sort of showing up with that 'Emergence Day' shenanigans. And some of the dialogue seemed to suggest that they only came up from underground because humans were drilling into their tunnels.

Joshimodo:

Akalabeth:
Well I think you're giving the story too much credit quite frankly.
The lambent weren't even so much as mentioned in the first game that I'm aware of, and I say this as someone who only played it a month or two back for the first time. They seem to be sort of making it up as they go along. Oh wait that's not entirely true, there were some lambent monkey things. But I dunno, I think they just built upon that they didn't intend to go this direction exactly. I don't think a lot of people plan to make 3 games, they make 1 and simply hope to make more. Then they do their best to tie things together but it doesn't necessarily work out in the end.

The problem with this game and the problem with many similar games is that there's no sense of loss. I mean yeah, a lot of people died, but who are they, why should I care? Why should I care about Dom's wife? I've never met or seen the broad. I cared a little bit about dom, but not much.

Actually, there's a fair bit of mention of the Lambent, or at least hints. The Lambent Wretches are clearly shown as different, and the game states that long term exposure to Imulsion causes this disease/affliction.

The other major point is that the queen speaks at the end, mentioning that the humans don't know why the Locust are waging the war, and why they can't stop. They're being driven out from the very start of the series.

Anyway, other arguments aside, the 2 things that really irked me in the Gears series is this:

If the Locust and humans had contact prior to E-Day, why didn't they announce themselves and peacefully surface, explaining the reason and why they should combat it? Yes, Adam Fenix basically betrayed them, but that wasn't the reason.

What was the point of the Sires? Apart from theory and speculation in the aforementioned thread, there is little explanation of what they were beyond experiments.

the Siers were noting but a science gone wrong. Niles though he could be God but in in the end he was wrong. The Locust attack the Humans because the Locust ran out of time and they were getting their asses whopped by the Lambent and Humans barely had any time to recover from the Pendulum War that just ended. So both sides we're both fucked up but Humans got rocked on E-day Humans had no clue on WTF to do and they were slaughter in the millions. Only Adam knew of their existences and he knew the Imlusion was a living organism

Stoneface:

Therumancer:
Sometimes it bugs me how often Yahtzee can give biting insights, and other times he can miss a huge amount of the point almost entirely. Sometimes I thing he's just sounding off for the sake of sounding off.

I'm not a huge "Gears Of War" fan, but understand that we're dealing with characters who are career military, and a protaganist who is a hardened veteran before the game even starts, and has also done a fairly notable stint in a military prison.

Military training by it's very nature is supposed to strip away most signs of emotion and individuality, the idea being to replace everything you are with something better... well better in the context of killing people and breaking things in pursuit of a goal someone else decides on. Soldiers who recognize the enemy as having valid points of view, or being regular people with lives and families are kind of useless in reality. All arguements about politics and morality, when your fighting to win soldiers who pause to contemplate the inhumanity of war and what they are doing to their enemy in the midst of a battle can't do the job. The last thing you need is for the guy standing there protecting you to pause and go "OMG, I can't kill this poor unfortunate" while that guy proceeds to kill him and then turns around and massacres you and your entire civilization.

We could sit here and argue about the morality of this entire thing, and the nessecity of it, but I doubt I could do a better job of explaining it and WHY it's needed anymore than say Heinlan's "Starship Troopers".

When looking at a game featuring the military, especially characters who are supposed to be experienced veterans... yes, they are going to be fairly uniform. That's actually good writing since this is what the system produces. Take one of those guys, toss him into a military prison where emotion is a weakness (prison can be very dehumanizing on people who want to survive it, especially military prison), and then toss him back out into an apocolyptic war... and yeah... Marcus Fenix is pretty much what your going to get. If he was any other way it would actually have been bad writing given the backround which ties into the entire thing.... and this is a defense being made by someone who doesn't paticularly like the game in question.

Simply put the whole "Macho" attitude we see here, is kind of realistic for the kinds of characters we tend to deal with. In general people have differant mechanisms for turning out that way. Joking about everything and becoming a sort of macabre clown who takes nothing seriously while doing their job with lethal precisian, or becoming the aloof "Marcus Fenix" type are both very typical ways of dealing with this kind of life.

As far as cutting down bad guys who have legitimate points of view and/or justifications for what they are doing, that's pretty much reality. In general nobody wakes up and decides "we're going to be really evil today just for the heck of it" everything happens for a reason. Of course the Locust/Chimera/Muslims/Whatever have legitimate reasons for doing what they are doing from their own perspective, some of which might even seem fairly reasonable to the other side, if they didn't there wouldn't be a massive scale war. This is incidently exactly WHY you dehumanize your soldiers and strip away a lot of their empathy. In the end pretty much all wars come down to "us or them", "my side, and their side", the bad guy and the good guy are all matters of point of view, and when it's come down to a war only one side is going to be left functioning, and that's the side that gets to record history.

A situation where a bad guy goes off about how legitimate their cause is and then gets cut down by some grunting soldier who might have a personal vendetta is pretty much a summary of war in a nutshell. In the end the point of view of the loser doesn't matter, it's all about who wins.... and in "Gears Of War" it is very much an "us or them" type situation no matter who might have the overall moral high ground when you scrape all the muck away.

Honestly from what I know of the series "Gears Of War" set out to make a sort of commentary on the nature of war, and really from the plot points I've seen it's done a fairly good job of making the points it set out to do. Marcus Fenix might be stereotypical to some extent, but I suspect that's kind of the point, as is the simple point that once a war breaks out
the reasons behind it no longer matter, with it being the job of a soldier to end the war favorably for their side or die trying.

But then again, the realities of war have never really sat well with the left wing regardless of what name it uses in a given country.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, but you see what you doing here is justifying WHY Marcus is a really boring macho twat...but you'r not DENYING that he's a really boring macho twat. Congratulations.

Ugh, somehow messed up this posting and got my actual message cut out so I am now editing it in. :P

The point I was making is that he's really not a "twat" so much as he's a pretty solid example of the kind of character he's supposed to be. Granted the whole military perspective on things is not to everyone's liking, but this is a war story about the military, with the protaganist being a hardened soldier.

To a lot of people, especially those on the left wing of the spectrum, there is a lot to dislike about the military mentality, but when your looking at a game based around the military, which is trying to be fairly realistic about it's perspective and the nature of war, this is pretty much what your going to find. If Marcus was a more sensitive, caring soul, with more three dimensional expression he wouldn't really be a good example of what the military instills.

Part of what I was also trying to say is that I believe as a work, "Gears Of War" is more about war than about the characters in paticular, it's about the situation. That's kind of the point of some of the messed up things that happen, and why despite the enemy having a valid point of view, it doesn't matter in the end since in war there is no real right or wrong, it's all about us or them.

It's sort of like how when you watch a TV show about an ex-soldier turned cop or whatever when they reflect on their military backround they talk about how in the military they were someone else, and might even say "you wouldn't have liked that person very much". That's what the military instills in people, some people are never able to turn it off and go back to being normal and following any kind of moral code or compass. In this case however we're dealing with soldiers when they are "on", and that's the entire point.

When it comes to military fiction, including games, one of the reasons why one "Marine" or amoral special forces killer is much like another is because the military engrains a sense of uniformity in the way people think, act, and react. On a lot of levels it's not the person, but the training.

Surely though there would be ways to instill a little more colour, even if that is just a shade or two of grey, into the character. Military training instills all you have mentioned but it doesn't totally strip away the whole of the person: I mean jesus James Blunt was in the British army (apparantly he drove tanks, and strapped his guitar to the side of the turret) but he still had a part of his personality that made him unique among his fellows. Saving Private Ryan is also a good example of this thinking, to me anyway.

Although this is probably why I prefer (largely) my games to revolve around larger than life style heroes: more room to allow for a personality to be interested in. Less Agent Coulson and Black Widow, more Thor and Odin for me.

Me personally I didn't enjoy Gears of War cos I found most of the other idiots unbearable: Marcus may have been stoic and dull for me, but he was pretty par for the course.

I really hope this whole "Insomniac ripping off Half-Life 2" thing is a joke, Insomniac Games have had this kind of gameplay since Ratchet and Clank.

It wouldn't be much of a problem (well, it would but that isn't the point) if Yahtzee would say Half-Life 1, but he is saying HL2, which makes no sense.

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