Killing is Too Easy

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Part of the reason for the incredible number of demented tortures the human race has conjured up is because the threat of death really is not sufficient to deter a lot of people. Many of them believe in a sort of "life after death" for instance (ain't I just pretentious) and that helps them ignore their fear of it. Others just plain don't give a fuck, for reasons such as: conviction, insanity, thoroughly unfounded belief in self's immortality. But everybody, collectively, is afraid of bodily harm. This is also the reason why that one scene with a hypodermic needle in a place it really doesn't belong in Dead Space 2 was infinitely more effective than all the human deaths in all of the DS games combined.
Death really is cheap.

Wow, I don't think I've ever disagreed with Yahtzee this much. I mean, he's just flat out wrong here. And don't get me wrong, I do agree videogames have started take murder way too lightly, but this really doesn't apply for The Last of Us (I'd also argue it's acceptable in Uncharted due of the pulpy nature of the story). That being said, this is still a good article, unlike last week's review the writing was suitably elegant for the subject matter, your point about the death penalty is possibly the strongest argument against it I've ever read, remarkable considering it's a half paragraph side note to an article about a video game, and it does raise an interesting discussion on the acceptability of a morally questionable protagonist in an interactive medium.

Sheesh, I've never seen Yahtzee miss the point of a game so hard as he has with The Last of Us.

Animyr:

First of all, you keep saying "forced" but LOU isn't an exercise in player choice (though you can sneak past many enemy encounters) so I don't think it's fair to hold the lack thereof as an intrinsic fault in the story. It's not the sort of game where you do as you would do in the situation. It's a character study of Joel (and Ellie, but we're talking about Joel) and while people often sneer at linear games, LOU is linear for the right reason: so we can experience things as the character does, and do as he does.

I said forced once. As for LoU being an exercise in player choice, every game is. Sure those choices may not be integrated into the plot a la Mass Effect, but they still tend to give you choices as to how you play the game. You said you can sneak past many enemy encounters; that's a player choice and can color your view of a character even in cases you know it shouldn't. Though on the other hand, I am mainly an RPG player and I tend to avoid games like LoU (they're just not my cup of tea) so my views on this are pretty colored.

And you, it seems, have happily judged the game and its characters even though, by your own admission, you've only seen a few of the scenes and watched them out of order. I urge you to do yourself a favor and finish watching through the whole game, in sequence, before coming to a final conclusion, much less trying to persuade people. If you still think that Joel is an irredeemable monster at the end and you wish he died slowly, fine. That's a perfectly valid response. Unlike Uncharted, LOU leaves you entirely free to conclude that. As it is, it seems to me that you (and others) are trying to convince people who actually watched/played the whole game that you actually understand it better than they do 'cuz you read a Yahtzee column. A disingenuous column which, I think, has done the game a disservice.

Yes I have judged the game and it's characters from just the opening. That's called first impressions. Will mine be proven wrong further into the game? Maybe, but until then I'll stand by them. However, where did I try to tell you your ideas were wrong and mine were right? I was just giving my impressions from what I saw at the beginning. Nowhere in my response did I tell you I understood the game better than you did. All I said was I still agreed with Yahtzee that games use death as a short-hand for "this is a serious work guys" too much. It's, in my opinion, cheap and there are other ways to show the world is messed up. Is LoU a great example for this argument? Not really, but it has small moments that can be used to support the argument.

immortalfrieza:

K12:
Snip

And the reason you don't want to is because you were born and raised into a society where those things are harshly punished, if you didn't, you'd in all likelihood do so those things all the time, probably without even thinking about it. If you were suddenly thrown into a world where doing those things was necessary to survive, you'd do them. Reluctantly perhaps, but you'd do them eventually, or end up dead yourself.

This is a complete guess on your part. You seem to believe that you know how I would react in a given hypothetical situation better than I do myself, this is a very bizarre position for you to take. If I lived in a kill and steal or die society (I have no idea how rape would ever be necessary or even helpful to my survival) then I greatly doubt that I would ever actually want to do those activities even if chose to do them rather than placing myself in danger.

I agree that having legally enacted repercussions for certain actions is a good thing but I completely reject your insistence that I (as in me personally) would not have any qualms in performing these same actions if these repercussions were absent. It may be true for some (although I think it would still be a minority, though even a minority could have a devastating effect) but I don't believe it's true that I would and I don't think I'm being arrogant or "holier than thou" for saying so. People are capable of empathy, compassion and guilt without needing a government telling them to do so.

The value of a legal system also doesn't defend the death penalty as an effective system of punishment. It certainly prevents that one guy/gal from killing again but it makes murder rates increase across the population and surely that is the important thing when you're talking about protecting the populace.

Aiddon:
TloU is a game that wants to have its cake and eat it. It really wants you to identify with Joel and sympathize with him, ultimately he's really just a douchebag lunatic no better than the people he's killing. And before anyone says "that's the point" I'm just gonna say this: NO. Anyone with ANY writing experience will tell you that most of the time when a protagonist comes off as more of an asshole than the people he's against then it's mostly because someone screwed up. Instead of getting a complex protagonist we really just get an incongruous one. The "it's supposed to be like that" argument is one used as a last resort by people who realize that they've made an asshole protagonist

Actually Joel is a dick bag, that your not supposed to like. Did you respect the 'protagonist' of Spec Ops? If yes, your either an asshole, or you using a different context for the word like. If what your saying is true than Spec Ops is shit writing, when Yahtzee called the most interesting narrative development in years, and many others agreed. The reason people will call you out and say that's the point is because, THAT'S THE FUCKING POINT!! Ellie even calls out Joel as a murderer of innocents shortly after the highway ambush:
Ellie: How did you know about the ambush?
Joel: I've been on both sides.
Ellie: So you killed a bunch of innocent people?
Joel: uhh....
Ellie: I'll take that as a yes.
Joel: You take that however you want.
HE IS A DUCHEBAG LUNATIC!

On a different note am I the only one who got through the hospital scene and only had to kill the one guy who burst through the door? (not counting Ethan or the 'doctor')Cause on hard it's pretty easy to get through with only one kill; but very difficult to not get detected.

kael013:
As for LoU being an exercise in player choice, every game is.

Not in terms of morality. Most linear stories with linear gameplay- many shooters, for instance--don't give you much of a choice on your actions. I just pointed out about the sneaking option in response to your extended rant about how the game made you kill people. Even if you manage to sneak the whole game though, Joel still clearly has an established character that is rooted in violence and who doesn't hesitate to consider violent solutions, regardless of the players actions.

I know that player choice is one of the mediums most unique powers, but not every game has to be about that, you know. Instead, it could (ideally) be about you acting out the role of an established character, about you stepping into their shoes through gameplay. In that case, giving you a choice wouldn't make sense.

kael013:
However, where did I try to tell you your ideas were wrong and mine were right?

You were explaining why you are standing by your position, thus reaffirming it and implicitly rejecting all contrary positions, at least provisionally. That is why you posted, correct? You admitted here that--

kael013:
Yes I have judged the game and its characters from just the opening. That's called first impressions. Will mine be proven wrong further into the game? Maybe, but until then I'll stand by them.

Clearly, despite the fact that you've only seen small parts of the game, you still felt confident enough to declare agreement for Yahtzee's judgment of the entire thing, and to rise to his defense against rebuttals from other people who also went through the whole game and think Yahtzee is completely off the mark(as you did in the first post I responded to). All that based on what you freely admit are first impressions? I think that's inappropriate and unfair, especially if you aren't going to move further into the game.

Also, my first impression of the game was of a struggling single father having his world turned upside down before having his daughter die in his arms. Now from what I gather, your first impression of the game was of him brutalizing people, and then of an internet critic harping on the subject. You viewed events out of order and I'm wondering if it's affected your perceptions of the game a little.

kael013:
All I said was I still agreed with Yahtzee that games use death as a short-hand for "this is a serious work guys" too much. It's, in my opinion, cheap and there are other ways to show the world is messed up. Is LoU a great example for this argument? Not really, but it has small moments that can be used to support the argument.

That's not all you said, but I do agree with the general sentiment. I already wrote a bit how I do think that LOU was hurt by excessive combat. Certainty there is room for improvement, for LOU and in general. But to reiterate on what you just admitted there are far, far better examples of this, and if anything I'd say that LOU is a significant step in the right direction were videogame violence is concerned. The violence the characters witness and are forced to commit (including in gameplay) leaves deep psychological scars. They become withdrawn, suicidal, or calloused and desensitized. But Yahtzee not only does not acknowledge this, but actually holds LOU up as some sort of smug posterchild for easy-going brutality. I think that's wildly inappropriate, and does a disservice to both the game and to Yahtzee's position.

Amen. Amen, amen, amen! I was just thinking along these lines the other day...I struggled with Tomb Raider and Bioshock Infinite because of the relentless killing of people, both preemptive and in response to attack. (I have not played The Last of Us, so I can't speak for it.) Faceless goons, as it were, but I couldn't stop placing myself in the situation, imagining it if it were in the real world...and I knew I wouldn't even pick up a gun, let alone use it to slaughter dozens of individuals I didn't know in the slightest. I found myself wishing for a nonlethal option, like in Dishonored.

I was morally troubled, but I think it also has to do with suspension of disbelief. Believability. "Serious" material treats suffering seriously. Well, usually. Because like Yahtzee said, in real life suffering is serious--a pretty big deal. It's very hard for a work to put a low price on death and suffering and succeed in saying something meaningful beyond "Oh look how cheaply they treat human life and isn't it terrible?"

Games are evolving far enough to be entering a tricky period in which they have to weigh entertainment and depth, fun and meaning. How will you make a profound FPS? How will you create a character for the ages in a puzzle game? It will take some thinking.

BAM!! This article nails it on the head! You chose your words carefully sir, but you did the subject matter justice :D And no, I don't believe you're overly-serious and condescending about the subject matter.

jackinmydaniels:
Sheesh, I've never seen Yahtzee miss the point of a game so hard as he has with The Last of Us.

Im guessing the entire point of the game was "Look, people! MURDER THEM" and then you shoot them.

sounds like a fun game, I love murdering things.

Just finished reading Watchmen. Hearing Yahtzee ask about why such cheap killing sells so well made me picture the Comedian... And he was laughing.

Animyr:

kael013:
As for LoU being an exercise in player choice, every game is.

Not in terms of morality. Most linear stories with linear gameplay - many shooters, for instance -don't give you much of a choice on your actions. I just pointed out about the sneaking option in response to your extended rant about how the game made you kill people. Even if you manage to sneak the whole game though, Joel still clearly has an established character that is rooted in violence and who doesn't hesitate to consider violent solutions, regardless of the players actions.

This is true and I never said otherwise. However, you cut out the part that was most important to the point I was trying to make here:

You said you can sneak past many enemy encounters; that's a player choice and can color your view of a character even in cases you know it shouldn't.

Joel has an established characterization of a man "rooted in violence and who doesn't hesitate to consider violent solutions", to use your words. However, that characterization can be undermined by the gameplay. My friend played LoU as a stealth game, trying to sneak past as many guards as possible. This reflects on Joel's personality: the cutscenes say that Joel is a violent person, my friend's way of playing says Joel is a person who doesn't hurt others unless he has no choice. This creates a story-gameplay segregation where the gameplay undermines the story. If you disagree with this, that cool, but please don't respond to this; it's not an important point of discussion to me.

kael013:
However, where did I try to tell you your ideas were wrong and mine were right?

You were explaining why you are standing by your position, thus reaffirming it and implicitly rejecting all contrary positions, at least provisionally. That is why you posted, correct? You admitted here that--

kael013:
Yes I have judged the game and its characters from just the opening. That's called first impressions. Will mine be proven wrong further into the game? Maybe, but until then I'll stand by them.

Clearly, despite the fact that you've only seen small parts of the game, you still felt confident enough to declare agreement for Yahtzee's judgment of the entire thing, and to rise to his defense against rebuttals from other people who also went through the whole game and think Yahtzee is completely off the mark(as you did in the first post I responded to). All that based on what you freely admit are first impressions? I think that's inappropriate and unfair, especially if you aren't going to move further into the game.

First of all, I agreed with Yahtzee's view that games treat death a little too lightly. I never said I agreed with Yahtzee's view of the game. From my first post:

Now that I think about it it's kind of amazing how many games give us a choice as to how we play, then force us to kill when in a fight.

(really it's not, but I never thought about it before) This is pretty much my entire point. All my "ranting" before was focused on this. Let's move away from LoU since that was just an example (and a poor one at that): How many games give you the option of talking your way out of every fight? How many games allow you to incapacitate or cripple enemies in a fight, then let them live? I can think of one and a genre respectively. Planescape: Torment lets you talk your way through the whole game without ever having to kill someone (well, besides yourself). The stealth genre came about as an anti-thesis for the whole "murder everything in front of you" way games were (and still are). However, that's old stealth games. New stealth games now give you the option of murdering everything in front of you as well. For every game I've ever played that wasn't Planescape: Torment or a stealth game if you got into a fight it was kill or be killed. What is the most common method character drama games use to show it's set in a brutal world? Not forced prostitution, slavery, drug addiction, or corruption. It's killing. There are worse things than death, but apparently not in videogames.

Second of all, my first post was on how a game needs to create a connection between the player and the protagonist at the beginning before disconnecting. At the time I wrote that I believed that the beginning of the game was hunting Robert. You pointed out that was incorrect and I admitted that I was wrong in that instance. I then say my view on the main point (as described in the paragraph above) hasn't changed because no one has provided a counter-argument to it. You argued about the player-protagonist disconnect part, but didn't argue the rest until after I reaffirmed it. And you say that's being close-minded? It's hard to take an opposing argument into consideration when you've never heard it.

Third of all, I am moving further into the game. I've been watching a game walkthrough and intend to see it through to the end. Then, I will determine whether Yahtzee's view of this game was accurate. However, that's just my view of this game, not the point Yahtzee was making with the article about death.

Now from what I gather, your first impression of the game was of him brutalizing people, and then of an internet critic harping on the subject. You viewed events out of order and I'm wondering if it's affected your perceptions of the game a little.

Really? I had no idea. /sarcasm Of course it affected my judgement. If the first time you see someone is when they're covered in blood, holding a bloody knife and grinning like a kid in a candy store you're gonna think they have a few issues. Context at that point doesn't matter, you've pinned them as a maniac. However, if you learn later they're a butcher then you must re-evaluate. And as I said above, I am.

kael013:
All I said was I still agreed with Yahtzee that games use death as a short-hand for "this is a serious work guys" too much. It's, in my opinion, cheap and there are other ways to show the world is messed up. Is LoU a great example for this argument? Not really, but it has small moments that can be used to support the argument.

That's not all you said, but I do agree with the general sentiment. I already wrote a bit how I do think that LOU was hurt by excessive combat. Certainty there is room for improvement, for LOU and in general. But to reiterate on what you just admitted there are far, far better examples of this.

I feel that is all I've said - aside from the player-protagonist disconnect thing that I admitted was wrong. I used parts of LoU as examples of where death was used to cement it was a brutal world when it wasn't the best time to cement that fact. I talked about how player choice can affect your perception of the story (ludonarrative disconnect I believe is the pretentious term). Everything else was about my argument's shortcomings because I was using incomplete knowledge and first impressions. So to me, I never talked about anything else but the death topic.

I think there are two big factors heavily influencing the industry-wide focus on violence.

Number one: games are an escape from reality. If you want to play basketball, it is possible to actually play basketball. Talk up a girl, have kids, raise a family, run a business, etc. - these are things you can work towards in real life. Further, when you put in that real life work, there's a much greater potential for in-the-moment pleasure as well as tangible, lasting rewards. But blowing away a bunch of people? Committing dangerous crimes and stunts? Flagrantly breaking the social contract left and right? You can't do these things in real life without deservedly suffering horrendous consequences. It makes sense that such activities would dominate our virtual experiences.

Number two: games are currently saddled to both ancient user interfaces and safe repetition brought on by economic imperatives. Notice that the lion's share of the violence in gaming is also fairly simplistic and binary in nature. Aim + shoot/stab. Complete QTE to unlock cinematic. Steer car into people. The mechanisms for control (controller or mouse/keyboard) aren't sophisticated enough to capture more nuanced activity. Even if you assume, as I do, that we could be making more good-faith efforts to expand our range of action with standard user interfaces, the market hasn't shown a strong willingness to support such risks.

Any way you slice it, violence in gaming is an enormous issue with a lot of possible causes and nebulous impact. Sorta like the death penalty, actually; it's not something that can be definitively solved in a few clever quips on a gaming website.

samwd:

jackinmydaniels:
Sheesh, I've never seen Yahtzee miss the point of a game so hard as he has with The Last of Us.

Im guessing the entire point of the game was "Look, people! MURDER THEM" and then you shoot them.

sounds like a fun game, I love murdering things.

Ow! The false sense of... moral superiority... ack it hurts me!

Have you even played it? Watches some gameplay maybe? Do you know how the story goes or how it plays out?

I just played through Human Revolutions with this in mind. I tried very hard not to kill anyone, and use non-lethals only. I talked my way out of situations and snuck around like a boss, just to preserve the lives of the security guards, cops, and even gang members. At one point did I pull out my Sniper Rifle, and that was to avenge a fallen comrade against those who willingly and knowingly did harm. It was a hard decision, and it should have been. Killing in games isn't even a challenge any more. For me, it's about not having to kill.

Games are games, if I kill a guy, I kill a guy. If he is possibly harmful and is in my way, I kill him. The goal of a game is to get to the end, to beat it. Unless the game is built around a mechanic where I get penalized for killing people, I'm going to take the easiest path, and that is usually the path of killing everybody that gets in my way. It is a game, a fantasy world, it means nothing by real world standards.

I consider the other side of this "killing" argument as silly as the Scrubs Janitor's comments in this scene, at 46 seconds in.

I do agree that killing is growing more and more strange and disgusting with each year. I guess it comes with age - today I can't just kill thousand of creeps without feeling like a serial killer. If it's not addressed in the game itself (they are brainless clones, they are already dead, etc.) killing actual human beings is kinda scary. You know that moment when you kill a grunt in Halo, and another grunt cries: "YOU KILLED MY BROTHER!" and you suddenly feel cold sweat on you forehead? Thanks a lot, Austin Powers! :)

It has to do with the change of tone too. Today games try to be more realistic, and not without great success. But how can one be a killing machine in a game close to real life? In real life, murder is not a laughing matter. It's a horrible horrible thing. And that's one murder. So when you have to kill five hundred dudes in Tomb Raider, it feels weird and completely destroys this wonderful air of realism.

Traditional gameplay basics are beginning to contradict the tone and structure of games. Whichever way this dissonance will go, it will be really interesting to see whether games will evolve or stagnate, and how will they do it.

I had often thought about that "killing in stealth games" thing in my Chaos Theory playthroughs. And there, killing is not only too easy, it's also unnecessary. Because when you already close enough to an enemy as to stab/slash/break his neck, you may as well just put him in a stranglehold, or one-punch-K.O. him. Considering that killing also produces more noise for some reason, murder is just not worth it.

Sonic Doctor:
Games are games, if I kill a guy, I kill a guy. If he is possibly harmful and is in my way, I kill him. The goal of a game is to get to the end, to beat it. Unless the game is built around a mechanic where I get penalized for killing people, I'm going to take the easiest path, and that is usually the path of killing everybody that gets in my way. It is a game, a fantasy world, it means nothing by real world standards.

I don't know if that holds up i mean as he says that if you're in a camp silly game like deadpool or uncharted it's fine.
I mean killing people in games is no different from killing than them being killed in books or films, yeah there not real
but excessive violence can still be unpleasant, doubly when the game/film acts like the violence is justified or somehow enjoyable when it's not.

While your approach of seeing guards as inhuman because "it's a game" is fine. When a game tries to be serious consider a pure escapist fantasy.

Serious mean judged by real world standards.

so when a serious game has you killing people left right and centre it comes off a little wrong.

If people were born as a guy who murdered another guy, then yes, Capital Punishment would motivate them to kill more people.

But since we live in reality where you have to choose if you want to kill a guy, Capital Punishment ALSO works as a great way to motivate people to not kill people in the first place.

I haven't played an FPS for a long time, except for Spec Ops to see what all the hype was about, and I definitely felt the disconnect about all the killing there. But for me, personally, I've almost always had this kind of feeling to some degree in games where we are killing people who aren't necessarily villains. I can't think of any specific FPS examples, though I remember vaguely playing games where I've just been expected to gun down the innocent police force/other 'good guys' or even morally-grey characters simply because they're the next obstacle to what my character wants to do, despite myself being able to see the less murderous alternatives.

As I play RTSs a lot more often, an example that immediately jumped out at me when I read this article was Warcraft 3, when Arthas starts killing everyone in his way on the way to the evil sword. I know he was basically possessed at the time, but his allies just went along with it with only a few grumbled complaints. I think some ended up leaving, but they would still go along with all the killing up until then.

It's kinda common in RTS story modes that I get to a point where I'm thinking, "The justification for me killing all my own faction in this mission is kinda flimsy and probably didn't need to involve all this violence to resolve."

Sorry for the belated reply; I've been away for the week.

kael013:
However, that characterization can be undermined by the gameplay.

That's not really relevant to my point, but you said you weren't interested so what ever.

kael013:
I never said I agreed with Yahtzee's view of the game.

You implicitly did so by trying to rebut a detractor, and explicitly here.

kael013:
(I actually wanted to kill Tess myself long before that to be honest. She was a pain). Then when our protagonists where threatened with death I was supposed to care? They killed people for just getting in their way(!) so I saw it as just deserts... Plus, the world is presented as a place where "kill or be killed" was the top law, so why should I care when the nature of the world temporarily turned against the protagonists? In a serious character drama when you hate every side it just doesn't work.

Most of that is closely paraphrased from the article, as I recall. So yes, I assumed that you either agreed with or accepted most of the rest of Yahtzee's stance too, at least in regard to the characters. I thought it a fair assumption.

kael013:
I then say my view on the main point (as described in the paragraph above) hasn't changed because no one has provided a counter-argument to it.

Nor have I attempted to. I respect Yahtzee's point about cheap death, and agree to a large extent. I already explained this. My problem is whether or not LOU is a good example of this. I happen to think, as you now seem to agree, that it is a poor example of the phenomenon in general, and a bafflingly bad choice to base the discussion around in particular. I also think that Yahtzee misrepresents the game, intentionally or not, to make it seem like a better example for his argument it actually is (especially in his assertion that Joel is an "everydude" hero). If that was truly unclear before, I apologize.

Not to say that LOU is perfect. Maybe it will look sloppy compared to more nuanced games of the future. But compared to its contemporaries, I have no idea why it is being singled out.

kael013:
So to me, I never talked about anything else but the death topic.

Actually, both you and Yahtzee talked about two topics; violence cheapening death, and violence making characters unlikable. You guys have been using them kind of interchangeably, but I'd argue that they are not only distinct points, but mutually exclusive in a sense. If the violence is presented in a way that it can affect your perception of the characters for the worse or to question the character's morality (as in Spec Ops), aren't the killings by definition worth at least something, story and characterwise? Isn't the whole problem with Uncharted or Cod that the nature of the players' extensively violent actions in gameplay has no impact or weight at all in the story and characters?

Mind you, that doesn't mean that violence isn't overused in LOU (I already agreed with that), but I'd also argue that meaningless violence and overused violence, while often overlapping, are not the same thing. Most games have both; I think LOU only has the second.

This leaves us with the issue of protagonist not being likable, which the conversation has sometimes strayed to. Again, just I don't accept the premises that they strictly need to be, nor that the player needs to be told how to feel about them, as Yahtzee implied (though ironically he does think that's true here too; in his review, he shows Joel holding a sign that says "like me"). There are plenty of great stories in other mediums with such protagonists, and I don't see why games can't do it either. But I think we both agree that they at least tried to give Joel sympathetic traits to offset the rest.

I was very surprised at Yahtzee's opinions of this game. I remember playing it and thinking "well Yahtzee like Spec Ops for it's take on violence so he's bound to like this one too" but that wasn't how it worked out. I really can't help feeling like he has missed something about the game that made it work for me. I liked the game in the first place because it handles the violence so seriously. Killing in the game is usually not very pragmatic or fun at all (especially since ammo is fairly rare and stealth kills are agonisingly slow) and there are plenty of occasions when it's a lot easier to sneak by without harming anybody. I also liked the fact that the game does draw attention to the fact that you really aren't any better than your enemies (by the end it shows that you are in fact, worse).

The killing you actually do is pretty consistently shocking and unenjoyable. You see your enemies struggling desperately for their lives when you strangle them and even things like hearing how upset other enemies are at finding their friends' bodies is somewhat distressing. The body count is still higher than I would have personally liked but it's a hell of a lot lower than most AAA games and packs of human enemies usually don't come in groups bigger than 4 or 5 unless you're at their homebase.

Also, it's rather annoying to see the number of people criticising the game despite clearly never having played it. Saying things "I'm loving all the fanboy rage" (especially since I still haven't found a rage post in the thread but feel free to quote one for me), "oh great, more zombie apocalypses" or "I'm glad Yahtzee has put this game [that I haven't and won't ever play] into its place" don't contribute anything. If you haven't played the full game, don't think that you have a valid opinion on its plot, characters or depiction of violence.

IronMit:
Yes I agree. So Scarface, American Psycho, spec ops: the line are rubbish. Oh wait no...they're actually quite good and everyone is a bit of a douche in them

Not to mention things that are often considered amongst the pinnacle of their media like The Godfather or Breaking Bad or (for a totally different tone) Arrested Development.

Clive Howlitzer:
The 'Last of Us' sure has a lot of defenders that come out of the wood work every which way when someone speaks ill of their game.

Gee, imagine that, a lot of people like X and then defend X in discussions criticizing X. That's just so unusual.

kael013:
In order to disconnect from something you have to connect to it in the first place. Showing the protagonist as Joel is shown from the very start doesn't allow for a disconnect - it just shows them as an unrepentant sociopathic killer, a mindset most of us can't get into. Now if they had shown us Joel acting as a normal person would have been acting at the beginning, then giving us a situation so bad that Joel accepts that being a ruthless killer is really the only way to survive would have been better. In that case we get to relate to him, only to have that relationship disconnected - which is what Yahtzee means in that quote. Both Kratos and Walker are shown as normal(ish) people at the beginning of their stories; Joel isn't.

So a single dad who clearly loves his daughter isn't in any way likeable to you?

Also, Kratos is never likeable. The start of the first God of War has him in bed with two unknown women and straight away you're put onto a boat in a storm where you can mercilessly kill the crew members without any consequence. He's killed his wife and daughter already at this point. Sure you can say he was sort of "tricked" into doing it but he was only tricked because he thought he was killing someone else's family. There is no shred of likeability in Kratos at all.

EXos:

The walking dead was better.

Now prove me wrong.

Are you deliberately using troll logic or do you genuinely think somebody can objectively "prove" on game is better than another?

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