Playing Favorites in Wolfenstein's Semi-Branching Story

Playing Favorites in Wolfenstein's Semi-Branching Story

Wolfenstein's kind-of-sort-of story branches don't pretend to change the overarching story, which is the right thing to do.

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Incidentally, this sounds like a quality moral choice: It's not, "Save the kitten from the tree" vs. "Burn down the orphanage for blind puppies"; it's a choice with no clear right or wrong, but with definite consequences.

I agree, though if I'll be honest I don't think that anything Wyatt can say will live up to the scene where Fergus discusses what relevance he and BJ will have once this is all over.

The ending needs re-doing, don't just do one tone and then make another in the credits.

Edit: Woo, Top 5 contender!

Thunderous Cacophony:
Incidentally, this sounds like a quality moral choice: It's not, "Save the kitten from the tree" vs. "Burn down the orphanage for blind puppies"; it's a choice with no clear right or wrong, but with definite consequences.

It's definitely a more mature moral choice. It's why of the Ancient Treaties plot quests in Dragon Age: Origins, I always found the Orzammar one the most interesting. All of them involve trying to recruit a faction against the Blight, discovering that they're currently in conflict with another faction, and having to resolve that conflict, whereupon you end up with allies from the faction you aided. But with the mages/templars quest, and elves/werewolves quest, there's a Third Option that appeases both of them. Not so the dwarves of Orzammar--you can either put Prince Bhelan on the throne, or Lord Harrowmount, but the other one always ends up dead.

Unlike the other quests, which determine whether you have mages, templars, elves, or werewolves as your allies for the final battle, the resolution of the Orzammar questline doesn't matter for gameplay purposes. You get dwarven warrior allies regardless of who you put on the throne. The difference comes up in the epilogue. You can put the noble and honest Harrowmount on the throne--but he's a hidebound traditionalist who will end up isolating the dwarves from the rest of the world, hastening the decline of their civilization. Or you can put treacherous Bhelan on the throne, who murdered his brother (and if you're the Dwarf Noble, tried to frame you, his sibling, for the deed) and conspired with organized crime--but he's progressive and forward-thinking and will introduce much-needed reform that could save the dwarven people. Now that's a moral dilemma.

I know Yahtzee was rather critical towards it, but personally I thought Dishonored handled the concept of multiple endings in a very interesting way. I loved how that triggering the "good" or "evil" endings in that game was the result of the way you've been playing the whole game as opposed to just a few select choices in certain situations.

Uriel_Hayabusa:
I know Yahtzee was rather critical towards it, but personally I thought Dishonored handled the concept of multiple endings in a very interesting way. I loved how that triggering the "good" or "evil" endings in that game was the result of the way you've been playing the whole game as opposed to just a few select choices in certain situations.

Problem is getting the good ending required you to play in an unfun manner over the entire game, paranoid about not killing people.

Thanatos2k:

Uriel_Hayabusa:
I know Yahtzee was rather critical towards it, but personally I thought Dishonored handled the concept of multiple endings in a very interesting way. I loved how that triggering the "good" or "evil" endings in that game was the result of the way you've been playing the whole game as opposed to just a few select choices in certain situations.

Problem is getting the good ending required you to play in an unfun manner over the entire game, paranoid about not killing people.

That sounds more like railroading you into playing IN ONE EXACT MANNER, combined with punishing you for being awesome.

Interesting article. Maybe Yahtzee should go try The Witcher 2 again. And give it a fair chance. Instead of playing to Act 1 and quitting. The game has two very different paths depending whether you side with Iorveth or Roche at the end of Act 1. I feel Mr.Croshaw critiques with blinders on and ignores games that do the things he's looking for.

speaking about multiple choices at the game's finale, what about Spec Ops: The Line?
Each of the endings depends on your final choice, but they are organic to the plot, each of them is firmly tied to the game's story and all of them feel equally valid.

Actually, squirty is better if your intent is to shit on something. You get better coverage, l Splatoon.

moral systems are fine but even in the good examples its still been mishandled. Rather than stopping the game every time and spelling out the choice out in pure good/evil (presumably for the drooling morons out there) all these choices and their consequences should happen behind the scenes. It should flow naturally based on how the player acts while normally playing and not based on some artificial binary choice roadblock. At the very least make the choices more...realistic...for lack of a better term. In real life you can't always know what is "good" and "evil" only make a choice based on your own personal needs/morals.

The worst is the "pick your own ending" like in Deus Ex and ME 3 because it not only smacks of laziness and/or rushed development, but it can make everything you did up till then feel meaningless. I suppose a good or evil character can have a change of heart but even still it strikes me a more than a little schizophrenic when you can be (or example) a perfect paragon of selfless heroics...only to do a 180 at the last second and skull fuck the world for your own selfish desires. Multiple endings aren't necessarily a bad thing but I'd rather have one cohesive end that wraps everything up nicely than a bunch of half assed ones shoehorned in just for the sake of it.

I figured it was a meta-commentary on "There are no right choices in war", given you get shit on no matter who you save.

It did seem like they could've at least done a mission later for each NPC, to give it a teensy bit more value. Or even rewarding you with more background for either character on how they ended up in the resistance.

gridsleep:
Actually, squirty is better if your intent is to shit on something. You get better coverage, l Splatoon.

And firm is better to shit into something. I was going to call Yahtzee on that.

Choosing a character to die or live isn't just a moral issue but it is also a choice on which you prefer and the preference usually calls the outcome more than a moral choice system consequences. I think keeping it limited to just preference even if it is just minor changes in the story far outweighs an arbitrary moral choice that doesn't make a difference.

Choice in games has become like modern military shooters, everywhere, and for no reason. Other than money. Not saying I don't like choice, but I think it suits some games and doesn't suit others. Basically, if the game was made with choice in mind, go for it. If not, leave it the fuck alone. If your game is linear, keep it linear and focus on a good story or whatever. Don't throw in choice just so the back of the box says 'WE'VE GOT CHOICES' or 'YOU DECIDE THIS SHIT' or some other marketing BS. I'm referring to dialogue choices or choose the path the story goes kinda stuff, not game play choices, like do I want to sneak or shoot everything. I think most all games (especially FPS games) can benefit from the latter.

Dead Century:
Interesting article. Maybe Yahtzee should go try The Witcher 2 again. And give it a fair chance. Instead of playing to Act 1 and quitting. The game has two very different paths depending whether you side with Iorveth or Roche at the end of Act 1. I feel Mr.Croshaw critiques with blinders on and ignores games that do the things he's looking for.

Either that, or he - like me - got too bored with the core of the game (fighting) and didn't expect it to get any better.

I got precisely as far as Yahtzee did, to the big squid monster fight. That fight was so annoying that I simply didn't care what the rest of the game was like. Which is a shame, because fantasy RPGs are my favorite genre.

Thanatos2k:

Uriel_Hayabusa:
I know Yahtzee was rather critical towards it, but personally I thought Dishonored handled the concept of multiple endings in a very interesting way. I loved how that triggering the "good" or "evil" endings in that game was the result of the way you've been playing the whole game as opposed to just a few select choices in certain situations.

Problem is getting the good ending required you to play in an unfun manner over the entire game, paranoid about not killing people.

You can still get the good ending while killing people here and there.

The thing I liked about the two branches is a) it's functionally pointless so there's no real reason to do it and b) it provides a bit of novelty if you do decide to play the game a second time (useful if you do the collectible hunt).

I especially liked how each character chastised you for not sacrificing them, because they thought the dead guy was who the resistance needed. The truth being they were fucked either way. There was a surprising maturity to the game... most of the time.

Sidmen:

Dead Century:
Interesting article. Maybe Yahtzee should go try The Witcher 2 again. And give it a fair chance. Instead of playing to Act 1 and quitting. The game has two very different paths depending whether you side with Iorveth or Roche at the end of Act 1. I feel Mr.Croshaw critiques with blinders on and ignores games that do the things he's looking for.

Either that, or he - like me - got too bored with the core of the game (fighting) and didn't expect it to get any better.

I got precisely as far as Yahtzee did, to the big squid monster fight. That fight was so annoying that I simply didn't care what the rest of the game was like. Which is a shame, because fantasy RPGs are my favorite genre.

That boss fight is annoying but there's nothing else like it in the game really. Not that I minded too much. If the combat in general bored you though, maybe consider starting a new playthrough with the reblanace mod http://redkit.cdprojektred.com/?c=mod&m=show&p=77 , I tend to not justify games with their mods but when a dev actually makes it and hosts it on the game's site I can make an exception.

Uriel_Hayabusa:

Thanatos2k:

Uriel_Hayabusa:
I know Yahtzee was rather critical towards it, but personally I thought Dishonored handled the concept of multiple endings in a very interesting way. I loved how that triggering the "good" or "evil" endings in that game was the result of the way you've been playing the whole game as opposed to just a few select choices in certain situations.

Problem is getting the good ending required you to play in an unfun manner over the entire game, paranoid about not killing people.

You can still get the good ending while killing people here and there.

which is silly in itself.
I was thinking about it while I was playing infamous you have a cumulative meter for your characters morality which meant I could play a very callous person who didn't really care about the innocent bystanders who get blown up in the crossfire and still get labelled as heroic because I stopped to heal the people I maimed after the fact

Falseprophet:
Unlike the other quests, which determine whether you have mages, templars, elves, or werewolves as your allies for the final battle, the resolution of the Orzammar questline doesn't matter for gameplay purposes. You get dwarven warrior allies regardless of who you put on the throne. The difference comes up in the epilogue. You can put the noble and honest Harrowmount on the throne--but he's a hidebound traditionalist who will end up isolating the dwarves from the rest of the world, hastening the decline of their civilization. Or you can put treacherous Bhelan on the throne, who murdered his brother (and if you're the Dwarf Noble, tried to frame you, his sibling, for the deed) and conspired with organized crime--but he's progressive and forward-thinking and will introduce much-needed reform that could save the dwarven people. Now that's a moral dilemma.

I'm actually quite happy that there's someone besides me that appreciated the Orzammar arc of Origins. As my first playthrough was, more or less, a blind "Good Guy" run, I ended up putting Harrowmount on the throne and I was less than pleased with the results, only ending up looking up some of the lore and looking a bit closer at what happened in Orzammar and then proceeding to smash my head against the wall.

imo, some of BioWare's best writing was with Origins. I do hope that the next Dragon Age manages to capture that same quality.

On topic, I actually don't get irked by moral choice systems as much as everyone else, but I'm not one to shied away from "grey morality" choices in an industry where the writing used to be pretty simplistic and two-dimensional. Do hope this becomes a trend in future ga--ahahahahahhahahahahhahahahhahahahhahahahaha yeah... I don't trust writers to believe we're that mature.

Well ... yahtzee compliments the story of witcher there at the end. So he finaly gave it a chance then?

I won't mince words: Witcher 1 dragged alot and was clunky, but by the end it tied everything toghether and made your choices matter. Witcher 2 took that to the next level with it's story and how everything changes based on only 2 choices, one in Act 1 and the second in Act 3. Plus the overall grey murky morals of the world of witcher and how there was no right answer to anything.

I honestly don't get why people complain about the combat in witcher 2 ... it's functional. It does it's job nicely. The story is what matters in witcher, not the combat. But hey: Witcher 3 promises a better combat system and actual unique fights at the end of monster hunts. So ... maybe witcher 3 is the one Yahtzee final gives a positive review for?

The best "morality" system I ever found was Alpha Protocol. That was a good game well and truly fucked by development restrictions, namely Obsidian landing the big money Fallout 3 New Vegas contract and abandoning it.

Get past the generic first act of prolonged tutorial and dodgey MGS/Splinter Cell section in Afghanistan and the game completely changes (sadly the game mechanics felt as old as the original Syphon Filter, funtional, and sometimes fun but a bit ridiculous).

Back on point. That had 3 dialogue types, the 3 JBs; James Bond Suave, Jason Bourne Professional, or Jack Bauer violent nutcase. The thing is, it wasn't the case that you stuck with one personality type, it was contextual to who you were talking to, and even then depending on the question. Each NPC had a 0-10 scale of liking you or disliking you. That's one variable.

The also had gameplay effecting story, did you kill "innocent" Americans in two embassy missions? And you could choose handlers. The efficient, but enigmatic german with quality gear, or the ridiculous Russian Bridget Nielsen character with bigger guns (metaphorically as well). Also, the order in which areas and missions you tackled.

Depending on all these factors, whole storylines could be missed (a love interest turns out to be the assassin you chased in one area and I didn't have a clue until the second playthrough). Characters lived or died as a consequence, missions changed, some not even being available, depending on your actions. And dialogue changed dramatically in sections.

The dialogue and acting was typically dull, or ridiculous. The plot was a Tom Clancy rip-off. The gameplay was fine but some parts made it ridiculous (you could go invisible for 5 seconds and work right up to someone and kill them and no one would notice??), but I've never played a game with better, and more varied branching narrative or continuity. It's clear a lot of effort (& money) went into the game from some people but wasn't followed through so it bombed and hid the real gem. If it had done better Mass Effect might have had a contender and thought better of their cop-out method "Here's a moral choice! It makes zero difference to gameplay, or levels, but puts a different colour on the story".

I want to Alpha Protocol again, excuse me...

"If you're going to shit on something, better to be firm than squirty." Oh God, I'm gonna have to remember that one.

Uriel_Hayabusa:

Thanatos2k:

Uriel_Hayabusa:
I know Yahtzee was rather critical towards it, but personally I thought Dishonored handled the concept of multiple endings in a very interesting way. I loved how that triggering the "good" or "evil" endings in that game was the result of the way you've been playing the whole game as opposed to just a few select choices in certain situations.

Problem is getting the good ending required you to play in an unfun manner over the entire game, paranoid about not killing people.

You can still get the good ending while killing people here and there.

Did you know that while going through the game the first time? The game explicitly tells you killing people is bad and accrues a resource that makes bad things happen. So without out-of-game knowledge about how much leeway you have, you are paranoid about killing anyone.

Thanatos2k:

Uriel_Hayabusa:

Thanatos2k:

Problem is getting the good ending required you to play in an unfun manner over the entire game, paranoid about not killing people.

You can still get the good ending while killing people here and there.

Did you know that while going through the game the first time? The game explicitly tells you killing people is bad and accrues a resource that makes bad things happen. So without out-of-game knowledge about how much leeway you have, you are paranoid about killing anyone.

That's still you taking the game too seriously. I never killed anyone until i met with Daud's gang (and i killed all of them)and i still got the good ending. Not that it was a great ending or anything (really meh to be honest). Nevertheless, it was fun to play the non-lethal way for the most part of the game.

Darth_Payn:

Thanatos2k:

Uriel_Hayabusa:
I know Yahtzee was rather critical towards it, but personally I thought Dishonored handled the concept of multiple endings in a very interesting way. I loved how that triggering the "good" or "evil" endings in that game was the result of the way you've been playing the whole game as opposed to just a few select choices in certain situations.

Problem is getting the good ending required you to play in an unfun manner over the entire game, paranoid about not killing people.

That sounds more like railroading you into playing IN ONE EXACT MANNER, combined with punishing you for being awesome.

You pissant.

How the fuck is a fucking storm at the end punishment? (If you haven't tried a high chaos run, do it. Seriously.)

Tomstonemale:

Thanatos2k:

Uriel_Hayabusa:

You can still get the good ending while killing people here and there.

Did you know that while going through the game the first time? The game explicitly tells you killing people is bad and accrues a resource that makes bad things happen. So without out-of-game knowledge about how much leeway you have, you are paranoid about killing anyone.

That's still you taking the game too seriously. I never killed anyone until i met with Daud's gang (and i killed all of them)and i still got the good ending. Not that it was a great ending or anything (really meh to be honest). Nevertheless, it was fun to play the non-lethal way for the most part of the game.

Yes, I know you have leeway. But you don't know how much you have and the game makes vague threats about what will happen if you kill. When you threaten that you won't get the best ending that sends a strong message to the player.

Coincidentally I too went "Fuck it!" and killing people about the time you got to Daud's gang. My enjoyment of the game skyrocketed once I no longer had to slowly choke everyone.

 

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