Backtracking through complex worlds to get all the secrets often ruins the illusion, says Toby.
By Toby McCasker on July 3, 2013 at 12:18 pm
I’m just playing Dishonored now. I’m late to the party not because I’m a cool guy with loads of bitches (I’m really not, I sometimes read the dictionary on Saturday night). I’m late on this one ‘cos Dishonored was one of those “hype” games.
Hype games, I think, are really hard to see clearly when they first come out, ostensibly because the smoke belching from the hype train does its best to obscure any and all of those flaws that tend to become apparent much later when nobody cares anymore. I always wait (it’s also cheaper), just so I can experience this blown-up million-dollar thing with an unfettered gamer’s eye and judge it true.
Dishonored reminds me a lot of the time Tim and myself and just about all of fairest Game Sonnet were plums-deep in Deus Ex: Human Revolution. After slamming through this game for weeks, I remember Timbo saying, “Man, this thing is just so ultimately empty. I killed every last person in Detroit. Deserted streets for miles, and nobody at my workplace even seemed to notice. I remain a god to them, those fools.” (Seems legit. –Ed)
He’d gone everywhere and done everything – reprehensible things, bless him – and come up empty. At the end of each one of Corvo’s killing sprees, a tally of all the cool things you found – basically how much you’d gone everywhere and done everything – pops up. I’m not much for sticking my beakage into every nook and fanny. I like to just roll with it and whatever happens, happens. That’s the misadventure.
So the first time this end-of-level tally got up in my mixed grill and pretty much said, “OMG you are $%@# at this game, bro, you have found like basically nothing hey,” my pride got to me and I spent the next mish obsessively going everywhere and doing everything. It dawned on me that, much like Human Revolution, what seems a dense and wide open world ripe with possibilities is not designed to be “tallied.”
There are so many different ways you can get where you’re going, but to go everywhere and do everything and feel good about your numbers at the end of the day means taking every one of those routes. It means making it to your objective through thick and thin, and then backtracking through all that creatively wrought carnage (or lack of it) to repeat your A to B in a different fashion.
It feels ridiculous and ultimately hollow, and strips this world and its wonderments down to a series of challenge maps: Guards here in this area, deal with it. Guards there in that area, now deal with that. Find all the stuff.
I don’t wanna see that reality. I’m Cypher here, man, put me back in the Matrix. I live for the world, and you only live once. Games of this ilk are totally #YOLO. Nothing blows the sheer joy of doing the – and I hate this term, it’s such a corporate buzzword and it’s gross – moment to moment thing than seeing every available outcome of that moment.
So I’m back into it. I’ve killed a lot of people and tripped alarms and possessed a prostitute by accident fumbling for my crossbow and I haven’t found nuttin’. My score is balls – and this is awesome, because I’m wondering just what’s going down in my wake and I’ll never know. Good.