Moral highground

August 22, 2016 by Tim

No Man’s Sky has fizzled out for me now (and by now I mean last week sometime). While I spent some eight hours just exploring documenting my home planet, each successive planet captured my attention and imagination less and less as the seams of the engine running the game became more and more apparent. It is, no argument, a technological marvel, and an amazing proof of concept of what future games could hold. But it seems they forgot to put much of a game in there,

If Star Citizen ever reaches a released state (it’s been how long since I backed it?), I expect that will be the next step towards the space exploration game we all really want. Hell, if the Gamescom presentation is any indication, it will be the space game to end all space games.

In the meantime, I’ve started playing the latest Hitman game this past week. I know, I’m a bit late to the table with this one, but as it’s an episodic game, I chose to hold off on it for a while. I love the episodic release model, and I think it’s a great option for the right kind of game. But TellTale’s titles have taught me to wait for the entirety of a season before jumping in (I know the release of the Wolf Among Us episodes were an anomaly, but both my wife and I had forgotten what happened in episode 1 by the time episode 2 rolled around),

As it turns out, it’s not quite as big of an issue in Hitman because the story is only loosely threaded throughout the missions, but it’s still nice to jump in with a lot of content to chew on. And as I’ve always greatly enjoyed the Hitman franchise, I’ve been pleased to find the formula firing on all cylinders with the latest iteration.

Replayability is greatly encouraged through challenges, and I love seeing that there are so many different ways to go about completing a contract. It definitely beckons for more exploration even after a successfully silent run.

Also true to form, they continue to model Agent 47 as some sort of superhero, about which I was mildly disappointed as well as mildly amused. You would imagine a game whose entire premise revolves around accepting cash in return for murder would not get quite so hung up on the idea that you’re playing a good guy, yet every single mark I’ve been sent after falls somewhere on the scale between despicable asshole and batshit-crazy terrorist. They are so cartoonishly villified in their personal details so as to allow you to retain the moral highground even though you are there to end their life. “It’s okay, they deserve to die.”

I guess I understand the motivation behind maybe not wanting your player to feel like shit while they’re playing your game, but at the same time I can’t help but think throwing in the occasional contract where maybe the mark is an average joe would introduce some interesting moral questions on the part of the gamer. Maybe some guy wants his neighbor wacked because their dog keeps shitting on his lawn. Or are we to believe that we work for the only contract-killer-for-hire company with a conscience out there, who will happily take your money, so long as you only want a bad guy killed?

At any rate, the game is a blast, I’m just saying it would have been nice to see the other side of things, perhaps to go into a mission a little conflicted as I look for the most creatively violent “accident” to set into motion. 

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