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Old 02-07-2011, 06:03 AM   #1
Li-Ion
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Protagonists in video games or: am I on the wrong team here?

Despite not being especially thrilled about Killzone 2 I found myself impulse-buying it used last Saturday since it was a fiver. I figured I could made worse mistakes that cost much more. Anyway: after popping in the disc I found myself surrounded by a cast of unlikeable characters and was seriously wondering why I am at this hellhole. Killzone 2 succeeded very much in making me feel being a part of a war I don't know much about apart from that the other guys are evil and we are good and there is no time for second guessing when bullets threaten to penetrate your skull.

So I was wondering if I'm at the right team here. After all I was the invader and I fully understand the Helghast who want to defend their home planet. Even I would feel the urge to take up arms if my planet would be attacked by an outside force, regardless of how much I might or might not like my government.

I was then thinking maybe I just missed the important part in previous games where the Helghast were eating babies and such. I looked up the wikipedia entry but didn't really see something that would really justify the invasion of the planet Helghan other than revenge. The only thing that makes them evil is the obvious Nazi-reference. If you want to keep them at bay it would be enough to have space lasers that shoot down their ships I assume. Why start a retaliation war that will cost the lives of millions of people?

It's not the first time I feel like on the wrong team in a FPS. I had this feeling also in Halo, where I played a genetically engineered supersoldier for a centralized militaristic complex. My enemies however were of various races and backgrounds, it was like attacking multiculturalism as a whole in the name of bloody bravado.

Any thoughts? Am I taking story in FPS simply too serious and should ignore aforementioned overtones?
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Old 02-07-2011, 09:11 AM   #2
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Re: Protagonists in video games or: am I on the wrong team here?

Never played either game, but it kind of annoys me that developers feel the need to justify who you are fighting against by making them comparable to Nazis. Seems ridiculous. I'd rather play a game where the land you are invading and the people you are fighting are obviously innocent; that would make you, at least, think.

I know what you mean though. In Dragon Age, I've yet to play through as a human, on the principle that they are mostly the oppressive bastards of the game (the Elven alienages spring to mind). I'd rather fight against that, gives me more inclination to carry on playing the game.
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Old 02-07-2011, 03:38 PM   #3
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Re: Protagonists in video games or: am I on the wrong team here?

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Originally Posted by Li-Ion View Post
I was then thinking maybe I just missed the important part in previous games where the Helghast were eating babies and such.


I love shooters with proper stories, eg Bioshock. In fact I'll forgive almost anything else for a strong narrative. I'm kinda interested in Singularity after RandomRob's review.



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Originally Posted by JLB1987 View Post
I'd rather play a game where the land you are invading and the people you are fighting are obviously innocent; that would make you, at least, think.
That'd be great.
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Old 02-08-2011, 03:40 PM   #4
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Re: Protagonists in video games or: am I on the wrong team here?

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Originally Posted by JLB1987 View Post
Never played either game, but it kind of annoys me that developers feel the need to justify who you are fighting against by making them comparable to Nazis. Seems ridiculous.
Even the badges of Helghast officers looks very similar to those of Nazi stormtroopers. I think they went a bit overboard with the iconography, after they "borrowed" the basic design of Helghast troopers from Jin-Roh. Even the way Scholar Visari delivers his speeches invoked some uneasy feelings in me.

However, since the Helghast don't do anything that is truly evil in the course of the game, Killzone takes its entire "we = good, they = evil"-mentality from the iconography alone. "Here, look! They must be evil, they look like Space Nazis!".

mild spoilers ahead

The most dubious moral choice is the bombing of their own capital with a nuclear weapon in order to stop the ISA advance. A very cynical move from the Helghast command, but as a nation on the brink of defeat understandable why they considered such a thing. But since I didn't see a single civilian in the whole city during the entire war, I assume that the civilians have either fled or been evacuated before the ISA troops marched against the capital.

mild spoilers end

The most annoying NPC in the whole game is Rico. A man-child who mistakes constant use of profanities with maturity. Like most ISA personnel in this game. Unlike the Helghast however, who are able to talk complete sentences without resorting to multiple use of four-letter words. Sunshine Rico runs around and kills so many Helghast that it can only be measured in metric tons. Yet he is displeased with the extend of his own genocide and want's to continually kill more of them. You see this quite a lot in FPS and it's something we seem to accept. Protagonists and their helpers as mass murderer in the name of "good".

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I'd rather play a game where the land you are invading and the people you are fighting are obviously innocent; that would make you, at least, think.
You mean like in Call of Duty: Black Ops with the invasion of Vietnam?

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Originally Posted by Pedro View Post
I love shooters with proper stories, eg Bioshock. In fact I'll forgive almost anything else for a strong narrative. I'm kinda interested in Singularity after RandomRob's review.
Oh I love Bioshock. The story really saved the game here, until the last fight which was a huge letdown for me. But there have been articles about how it should have ended, therefore I won't write much about that here
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Old 02-09-2011, 06:57 AM   #5
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Re: Protagonists in video games or: am I on the wrong team here?

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Originally Posted by Pedro View Post


I love shooters with proper stories, eg Bioshock. In fact I'll forgive almost anything else for a strong narrative. I'm kinda interested in Singularity after RandomRob's review.
I'm seeking that title out. Accompanied a friend shopping yesterday as they needed a lift, and I used the opportunity to try and find it second-hand, with no luck. Obviously it's so good, no one wants to part with their copy!

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Originally Posted by Li-Ion

You mean like in Call of Duty: Black Ops with the invasion of Vietnam?
Lol, I wasn't aware that was in Black Ops. I dread to think what your army buddies are saying out aloud during that mission!

I read the Killzone 3 review on destructoid yesterday, and Jim Sterling described this Rico guy as Killzone's equivalent of Scrappy Doo. Made me laugh, and by the sounds of it that's spot on.
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