Extra Punctuation: Manly Vs. Macho in Gears

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I think Marcus Fenix (Phoenix? Can't remember) would have benefited greatly from being a much deeper character. Additionally, I think it does military personnel an injustice that he is so one-dimensional, because as anyone who has served, or knows closely people who have served, will tell you: There are many, many reasons people join the military, above and beyond just "I'm a badass", military personnel follow orders but that doesn't mean they don't have different and nuanced opinions about what they ought to be doing or how to go about doing it, and they also have interests and feelings about things that lie outside of the military and war and what-have-you. Anyone who has ever read an autobiography or memoir of someone who has fought in a war knows this, and these should be required reading for game developers - and everyone, really...

hermes200:
I get your point and I agree with you (although I think R&C is slightly better in that regard), but that was not my point.
My point is, the game feels like a lot of the content was left on the editing floor... I had the feeling that entire maps (with their introductory cutscenes) were cut clean and lots of things were left unanswered (or even worst, untouched). I get that many times developers have to cut stuff to make to deadlines, but for the sake of storytelling some things should be left uncut (or, at least, moved somewhere else). One moment we are running for our dear life and the next we are at the heart of the Chimeran invasion, with nothing in between. Maybe some of the things Yatzhee mentions in the article,

were to be expanded on the lost levels, but we may never know... If anything, we have to take the character at face value.

We do know! If you go to IGN and listen to the Resistance 3 Spoilercast, Marcus Smith (iirc) the creative director talks about how they had numerous places they had in mind but had to amalgamate some, cut others. Which explains that sense of deleted scenes.

Game writing is still a fairly new art and there doesn't seem to be any correlation of standard between budget & writing. A small indie game could be driven by the writing, like Bastion, where they make sure the writing/universe/dialogue matches up with the gameplay. Then there's big budget AAA games like Resistance 3 where the writing seems to have been given less priority and therefore feels more tacked on, or incongruous. Like forgetting to have in-game dialogue to support cut-scene dialogue. Uncharted does this well, Nathan Drake speaks the same in-game, and in cut-scenes. Consistency and continuity are hard to achieve but obvious when done wrong.

to be honest, unless a game can pull off a good story, i'd rather it was left out completly than a b-movie plot stuck in for the sake of it.
in that respect its a lot like pr0n with a plot; i'd rather just cut to the action

I know others have said that if a game 'forces' you to read extra books in order to flesh out the background then it fails in telling it's story, and to an extent I can agree with that, but in the case of gears of war reading the karen traviss novels is actually a very good idea to anyone who wants to fully understand the gears history.

Not only are they good books in their own right, but the full history of the pendulum wars, the locust and all that happened to the main characters after e-day is expanded upon incredibly in these novels.

We learn a hell of a lot about marcus and why he is the way he is. For those of you who haven't read the books but one day might, please be aware of spoilers below.

It is clearly described during the flashback scenes of the novels (aspho fields in particular) that marcus' mum was rarely around while he was growing up and he did not have a close relationship with his dad. He spent more time at dom's (and his brother carlos who marcus was best friends with) house than he did at his own place.

After carlos was killed during the battle for aspho fields (mentioned in the first gears game by anthony carmine trivia fans!) marcus became much closer friends with dom and took it upon himself to look after him, especially after e-day when dom's wife and kids were lost.

So, I think marcus is the way he is in the games not only because he is a veteran soldier who has been through two hellish wars back to back and also spent time in a military prison which as we saw in gears 1 was no paradise, but also because almost everything he knows and loves has been taken from him and he is trying to desperately hang on to what is left.

I think he has also had to learn to depend on himself and his friends as he grew up and that has instilled a certain aloofness in him. I think a combination of everything that has happened to marcus in the games and books would make a lot of people act the way he does.

Also, as another poster said, we only see him in the games when he is on duty and therefore his military mindset is in effect. Who knows what he would be like as a person when his guard is down?

GonzoGamer:

hansari:
How have so many people failed to realize that Gears of War is a comedy???

They should've stuck with their original idea of having a laugh-track like on a sitcom.

I've been playing games too long to expect a good story out of a game. Back in the day, games didn't have a story; at least not one that required more than a paragraph at the beginning of the manual. In fact (besides the old RPGs) the fact that most games actually have a story is still pretty novel to me.
That said, most game stories (even the ones that people rave about like Heavy Rain & Mass Effect) are really pedestrian as if they're plagiarizing fan-fiction. Like R*, every time I get the feeling that they want me to get weepy over a plot point, it usually just makes me laugh.
What I'm saying is, of all the things to put resources into for a game, the story doesn't really need much of a priority. Besides, when it is given the priority, it doesn't ever seem to be worth it.
In fact I'm surprised the devs haven't made it a contest or something: get the fans to write in their ideas for the story. It can't turn out much worse. Besides, it's a less important than beta testing which is given away as a prize now.

By R*, I assume you mean shorthand for Rockstar?

In which case, I agree. The best game Rockstar has ever produced in fact has to be San Andreas. Rather then go for a serious tone, they went for something so inane and over the top...its the reason it is so brilliant!

OutrageousEmu:

hansari:
How have so many people failed to realize that Gears of War is a comedy???

That argument stopped being valid the minute they made that pretentious "Mad World" trailer.

No! That was just to throw you off. Some sleight of hand, like with the Assassin Creed trailers, prior to the gameplay leaks, where the game was looking to be about some Arab Assassin in times of the Crusades. But it was really about some grand conspiracy and the quest for the megaweapon led by the whiny pitiful descendant of the awesome assassin!!

Akalabeth:

hansari:
How have so many people failed to realize that Gears of War is a comedy???

No, Bulletstorm is a comedy.
Gears of War is trying to be serious.

Are you sure Bulletstorm isn't a greek tragedy?

Mr Ink 5000:
to be honest, unless a game can pull off a good story, i'd rather it was left out completly than a b-movie plot stuck in for the sake of it.
in that respect its a lot like pr0n with a plot; i'd rather just cut to the action

Action without justification is a waste of time.

Anyone ever take a look at Gamesradar articles? One in particular goes a fair bit into just why the Locust are trying to kill humanity. http://www.gamesradar.com/why-youre-actually-playing-as-the-bad-guys-in-gears-of-war/

To sum it up, why wouldn't they be trying to kill everyone?

Is it just me, or did anyone else find Resistance 3's characterization of Capelli a bit too sappy? I mean, the guy leaps from a VTOL after a mitten, an act that ultimately gets his partner killed and forces him to walk to New York. It's one thing to be sentimental and keep your child's mitten on hand, it's another to seriously compromise your mission to save the world over it.

I don't expect my shooter protagonists to be Gears-style emotionless supermen, but I do expect to be convinced that they're hard enough to do what they're doing. Wife and kids? Great! Reluctant to leave them? Also great! Carries around a memento of his child? Super! We're got a shooter character who's a legitimate family man for once. But, jumps out of a helicopter for his kid's mitten? He's either a completely sad sack or has serious priority issues. Suddenly I'm not convinced Malikov couldn't've gotten any other schlub fighting for the resistance to go with him. It's not as if Capelli's a Sentinel anymore or anything.

To me, I think the right mix of "has emotions other than badass" but "surely is a badass" are the MW characters. They carry tokens and get sentimental (Soap carrying Price's gun around for five years and returning to him with palpable emotion), they gripe, they crack jokes, they get scared and even freak out sometimes (like Dunn in Second Sun), they even fail in their missions, but at no point do they give you reason to doubt that they're as legitimately badass as a real human being can be. Reznov's flashback about losing Dimitri in Black Ops was one of the most affecting scenes I've ever seen in a video game, but there's no question that Reznov is certifiably hardcore and you would not want to mess with him.

Just saying, I think a middle ground between grr arrrgh Fenix and ~~~my chillllld~~ Capelli is where it's at.

Normandyfoxtrot:

Mr Ink 5000:
to be honest, unless a game can pull off a good story, i'd rather it was left out completly than a b-movie plot stuck in for the sake of it.
in that respect its a lot like pr0n with a plot; i'd rather just cut to the action

Action without justification is a waste of time.

why is it? alot of people i know skip passed the plot in pron and skip the cut scenes in games and still have as much fun as i do

hansari:

By R*, I assume you mean shorthand for Rockstar?

In which case, I agree. The best game Rockstar has ever produced in fact has to be San Andreas. Rather then go for a serious tone, they went for something so inane and over the top...its the reason it is so brilliant!

You assumed correct sir.
Actually San Andreas is one of my all time favorite games and the story for that was completely absurd.
GTA4 did have a slightly better story but only in the sense that your average CSI episode (usually) has better writing than your average Saturday morning cartoon...at least the ones made only to sell toys. It wasn't a good enough story to make up for missing gun stash unlocks, rampages, RC minigames, and all those other weird unexpected things you used to find in a gta game. I really missed the pimp missions.
If a game was a meal, I would think of all those things as cool appetizers while I only really think of the story as a garnish. The real Meat & Potatoes (for a gta) is of course running/driving around blasting 'foos' and thankfully they didn't ruin that...but I don't think everyone agrees with me on that regard.
Another favorite is Burnout Revenge and I don't think that had any sort of story at all.

hansari:

Akalabeth:

hansari:
How have so many people failed to realize that Gears of War is a comedy???

No, Bulletstorm is a comedy.
Gears of War is trying to be serious.

Are you sure Bulletstorm isn't a greek tragedy?

My understanding of greek tragedy is a hero who falls from grace, ala Anakin Skywalker *barf* but I'm not familiar with the subject. That being said, Bulletstorm despite the seriousness of what's going on always has a light hearted tone. The dialogue is through and through quite ridiculous, there's maybe a bit of "I feel bad" stuff here and there but, not to the same extent as GoW. Overall I just find the tone a bit more consistent.

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?

because with out any warning or attempt at communication they started killing every man woman and child they could find with the end goal of total genocide. seems rather evil to me

OT: I will say that story is not the strong point of gears but I take issue with the reasons in this article. first off the colony attack the people who died were not Griffin's "family" they were his bitter murderous underlings and his rage at their death was more "you broke my toys" than "you are responsible for the loss of life" . and second the scene at the end with the locust queen she isn't justifying anything, she is mocking the death of Adam Fenix and condemning Marcus never mind that she was screaming "YOUR SPECIES WILL DIE" a second ago and any sympathy you had for the fact that her people had to die goes away when you consider that if ANY effort had been made to make an alince with humanity with the locust providing the muscle and the humans working on the cure a massive genocidal planet wrecking war could have (possibly) been avoided
EDIT: additional point that occurs to me I don't understand the people who say that the series has failed because they needed book to expand the universe and add depth to the cast, name for me games that have been under 1o hours in length that had well developed narratives and a cast a large as the one in gears. the way I see it a games do not often have the time to have a deep universe or cast so there is a need for ways to flesh out the story like:
1. being long, like JRPG long
2. have tons of cutscenes (Xenosaga) or tons of expository dialog (metal gear solid)
3. in optional in game reading (the codex in mass effect or the log book in Metroid prime)
4. non game content (the GOW books).
and out of those I prefer the books because the lead to the most development and the least frustration but i suspect that the real issue with the books is that no one wants to spend any amount of time looking at something that doesn't have a screen and buttons

Pyramid Head:
Wait... wait... he lures an entire swarm of Locusts to a town and causes a massacre? I'm sorry, but isn't Fenix supposed to be a professional? HE NEVER LEARNED TO CHECK HIS FUCKING TAIL?! NO ONE ELSE ON THE TEAM KNEW TO MAKE SURE THEY WEREN'T BEING FOLLOWED?!
Suddenly i'm very glad i didn't bother with Gears 3 and am holding out for the new Batman and Saint's Row titles to review. But still, sometimes you look at this bullshit and are tempted to try and make a game yourself only to realize you don't have the money or resources to do so. Then you get real depressed, and then your neighbors go missing and you've got a two day gap in your memory.

The time that she attacks the tower and the last time that you see her in game is actually a couple of days time. They also wipe out all locusts that have been tailing them and haven't run into any for at least a day and a half. I mean just before reaching the city and tower all they have fought are Lambent even in the city all they fight are lambent. They are always surprised that she shows up until then when they realize that she has been following them since that is the first time the queen shows up with her war beetle to wreck destruction.

Ariseishirou:
Just saying, I think a middle ground between grr arrrgh Fenix and ~~~my chillllld~~ Capelli is where it's at.

A writer might imagine what the cost of war might be to Marcus Fenix's psyche that would make him an emotionless killing machine. A writer might also sentimentalize Capelli's attachment to his family and how the "home front" motivates him to go on. But a good writer might also do some research and try to find examples from the real world to flesh out and inform their writing and give it some authenticity and humanity.

I'm talking about soldier's memoirs, which are plentiful. Since Thucydides there have always been combat vets eager to tell their stories. For example, there's a site full of interviews with Soviet Red Army vets from World War II. Citizens of a brutal, oppressive dictatorship subjected to intense propaganda and indoctrination forced to fight for their nation's--and probably their own--survival against a brutal, genocidal tyrannical invader. It's probably one of the best examples in living memory of an apocalyptic conflict with existence at stake. And yet the full range of humanity of the soldiers is on display. Some examples below:

Now, bearing in mind that Fenix should have been well aware that the Locust were following him since he'd encountered them many times up to this point, the settlement's leader quite justifiably chews him out. Fenix responds by changing the subject and whining like a fucking child: "I JUST LOST MY BROTHER!! DO YOU UNDERSTAND?!!" Yes, Marcus, I'm pretty sure he does understand, because you just killed his entire family and everyone he knew. You cunt.

i genuinely lol'd after reading that. Its moments like that that completely make me despise a character to no end.

I had a similar moment of intense anger when i watched any movie with Ziyi Zhang in it. They always make her play an insufferable cunt! i.e. House of Flying Daggers, Hero, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon. (She probably has played likeable characters but every movie i've seen her in has made be rage!)

Wow he really didn't like the plot of Gears 3.
I would be the first to admit the deliberate mystery they kept around for the first two games meant that I did at least want to see where it all ended, would also be the first to admit that anyone who came to me and said the plot was a work of Shakespeare I would think that they may want to check for other signs of a stroke.

Now Marcus, I personally think they stumbled upon a fun character concept, most stories of this ilk have the silent broody tough guy, you all know him and he is always loved but by and large he's there for the odd defining moment of awesome where he rips the bad guys no2 henchman's head off or some such, but otherwise that's him (In a movie he will be played by that guy, you know the one who always plays that part oh what's his name again you know the guy who was just in that film with Jason Statham)... What they did here however is make this pillar of background characters the front man, complete with all the woes and attempted development plot turns etc small wonder he didn't know what to make of it all... bless him its hard to fight typecast...

But I will say one thing the Locust were the bad guys plain and simple Daddy Marcus that is 1 man 1 single scientist could not meet the deadline so they went straight to 'us or them' Genocide full stop no plan B or anything else attempted. Good grief the ones they didn't slaughter they put into labour camps and worked to death, im surprised Myrrah didn't just cut the pretence grew a Charley Chaplin Moustache scream about Lebensraum and surround herself with Goose stepping Kantus.

Oh don't go defending Griffin Yahtzee. He didn't care about any of those people. He was just mad that he didn't get to be king anymore.

Also, yeah the Locust were just trying to protect themselves. But they were doing it at the expense of the humans, which means that they had to die. For those who don't know, its not really a secret in the Gears universe that the COG is a fascist government. The Gears games are aware of their own...brutal utilitarianism maybe? Just look at the man in charge, Prescott. He oozed something along those lines.

But yeah, Marcus shouldn't have stabbed the Queen so fast. Because we still don't know WHAT THE FUCK A HUMAN IS DOING LEADING THE LOCUST.

Joshimodo:

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.

Adam Fenix was the only human that knew about the Locust. The Locust didn't announce themselves simply because they didn't want to share the space with the humans. That's why they were the bad guys.

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.

I think someone said that the experiment was aimed at making humans immune to Rust-lung.

internetzealot1:

Adam Fenix was the only human that knew about the Locust. The Locust didn't announce themselves simply because they didn't want to share the space with the humans. That's why they were the bad guys.

Yeah, but he later told the government. Point is, only a select few were in any contact/knowledge. Why? Seems daft.

As for the Locust being unwilling to share, where does it explicitly state that? Obviously, I know they're a warlike species etc., but it seems illogical to both start a war on both fronts AND to attack the species that contains the person who can save your own.

internetzealot1:

I think someone said that the experiment was aimed at making humans immune to Rust-lung.

Pretty much all of the info we have is speculation, based on the collectible's information. This is pretty accurate, but that's a very small fraction of information for such an enigmatic chunk of the story.

Maybe I'm the only person on earth who thinks this, but I actually don't hate Marcus Fenix. Yahtzee's rhetoric in this article shows Marcus as nothing as growling and impotent, but telling the same story, but with different rhetoric shows a completely different character

I see Marcus as being a tragic figure reduced to joyless rage by constant exposure to nothing but violence. He has seen so many people mutilated, so many awful things, he has had no choice but to harden his mind to any emotion. However, the death of Dom proved to be a catalyst for him, and all the work he had done to completely desensitize himself to death, to disavow the effect of violence on his soul, all of it means nothing. His spirit is broken by the death of his friend to the point where nothing else matters but vengeance, but since violence and rage are all he knows, that is the only way he can respond.

Many of you likely feel I'm reading way to far into this, and I probably am, but I did this to prove a point. With enough analysis, you can do this with (almost) any character. So any character can be compelling, given sufficient analysis.

Darkong:

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 were the non-human party, because as well all know, humans are always the bastions of good and righteousness.

Its called perspective. Regardles sof which if either side is bad, if you played as Locusts, you would see the humans as evil.

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.

The games haven't failed to portray their characters, people have just failed to pick up on what the character are.

Just because your jaded by 17 years of war doesn't mean you aren't a character.

ironlordthemad:

The games haven't failed to portray their characters, people have just failed to pick up on what the character are.

Just because your jaded by 17 years of war doesn't mean you aren't a character.

Yeah, he is a character. A shitty one.

It's slightly ridiculous to claim that Marcus Fenix's hypermasculine attitude is the result of him being 'jaded' by constant war. Jaded people are normally characterised as pessimists or at the very least, cynical realists. Fenix makes absolutely no sense because he is snarky to his superiors and carries out their orders with disdain, but he reacts to everything else with the same psychotic machoism that people drill into elite soldiers to make them unthinking killing machines. The two are completely incongruous.

This is not rocket science: people have been creating very evocative soldier characters for years, especially ones who are 'jaded'. Captain Willard from Apocalypse Now is a better example of 'jaded'. Elias from Platoon is a better example of 'jaded'. Heck, even Arnie's character in Predator is a better example of 'jaded'. Marcus Fenix can only be described as a parody that takes itself seriously; completely and thoroughly oxymoronical.

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.

All that may be true to a extent. People can break under pressure or become jaded or dysfunctional. War does more or less boil down to us or them, not right or wrong. And soldiers can probably act exactly like Marcus Fenix in that situation. But that still doesn't make him a good character or the story a good story. A character who fails to grow or have any redeeming qualities is a bad character. Having a huge grey on grey morality war staring absolutely no one who can be sympathized with is bad writing. A attempt at commentary on something that offers both nothing we haven't seen before a million times, and no outside viewpoint that we might be expected to sympathize, is a bad commentary (if it even is a commentary at all, which I am doubtful).

Furthermore, this is all a worse case scenario situation engineered from the start to provide as much drama as possible while at the same time failing to actually address any problems. Most wars are not fought by two genocidal enemies who's only goal or choice is the complete annihilation of the other. Most soldiers in command are not put through military prison and years of combat until they turn into macho retards, and those that are often end up too unstable to be trusted. And the story offers no salutation to any of the problems it has brought up. Yeah, yeah, war is hell. Duh. So? What can we do about it? What is the cause of it? Does this, or Starship Troopers, or any other over-glorified story of macho pissing contests with random aliens for vaguely explained reasons, try to offer anything other then an excuse for a story where people commit acts of violence?

And really, I don't say this because I refuse to accept "the realities of war", I say this because "the realities of war" are just not interesting to me. A lot of the strategy and logistics are interesting, a lot of the human drama of those effected by it is interesting, and people struggling for what they believe in is interesting. But emotionally jaded soldiers fighting for no reason then because there is an enemy in front of them isn't. Maybe it's sort of realistic, but it's not any more interesting then watching a bored office worker type up a word document. It's just a guy doing his job, only with more guns.

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