Thursday, April 12, 2007

The Second Half of My Adventures with a Purple Prophecy

As promised, the second half of my impressions of Indigo Prophecy:

III. Game Play Issues

I feel I’m pretty close to beating the game. I got that things are wrapping up feeling from the tone of the story. With all my other work, I haven’t spent too much time with it, so I’m a little surprised. The formula is still keeping me interested, although I have to complain about the lame “action” scenes. All that they consist of is moving the analogue sticks in the right directions in the right order, a la Simon Says. At first I didn’t mind so much, but after the twentieth time I’ve done this now, it’s getting a little flat. The actions totally remove me from the experience. It feels tacked on, like the developers thought they had to have the players do something during the cut scenes. What has happened is that I can barely focus on the over the top action at all. I’m to worried about what direction the light is flashing. Though maybe it’s for the best, because the action scenes go on for way to long and the content of them just seems so out of place. Why does he need superpowers? Is that really how you validate your “movie game,” cloning the Matrix? My hopes for the game to be more mystery than action movie are fading fast. I guess I just have to wait to see how it all turns out.

IV. The Ending, Rife with Spoilers

Indigo Prophecy has easily the worst ending to a video game that I have ever played. The extent of the failure was accentuated by my enjoyment of the game up until my last post. The ending however was so terrible, it makes me question any positive feelings I have for the game. The first element of the game that fell through was the narrative. It became incohesive and introduced bizarre plot twists. The plot twists included, but were not limited to, a race of AI beings that existed on the internet that were trying to kill you. The whole superpower and sci-fi thing was getting out of hand, but by the end it overshadowed any interesting character developments that were formed previously. The end opted to focus on uncontrollable action scenes to finish out the story, instead of offering any real resolutions to the problems of the characters. The writer obviously did not go into this game with any real message, philosophy, or social plight he wanted to reveal or discuss. I wouldn’t mind this in Street Fighter, but in a game that was meant to redefine video game narratives it’s pretty sad. I just wonder why he didn’t just make a traditional action game. The fantastical elements seemed to be a gimmick, and reminded me of the reading that discussed immersion. The extent of the fantasy seemed out of place in the world that was presented through most of the game. At least, the parts that were more real world were much more interesting, so I identified with them. I felt alienated when the game shifted away from the detective story formula that I had grown attached to.

The worst part of the ending was the complete destruction of my favorite character in the game. Carla, the detective who was chasing Lucas, underwent a character shift that had no basis in what was previously understood about her character. As the world is being covered in an ice age, (which is never fully explained) she decides to sleep with the DEAD version of Lucas. Lucas died, and the AI internet people brought him back to life, but his body was still technically dead. Carla made multiple references about how cold his skin was, as if he was dead. Then she sleeps with him, and falls in love with him with no real motivation other than the fact that he is the main character of the game that I’m playing. This act does not match the character that was presented before hand. There was nothing suggesting her feelings for Lucas. Carla abandons her job and playability in the game as soon as she finds the right man to hide behind. She is demoted to nothing more than the love interest. The ending movie pushes her farther down the respectable character ladder by making her ultimate purpose in the grand scheme to give birth to Lucus’ super baby. No matter what ending you get, Carla is pregnant. This interesting, well developed character was turned into nothing more than a womb.

2 comments:

tekanji said...

You just summed up the major problems I had with that game.

Shions_Glasses said...

Thanks, I enjoyed your post on the subject as well. I hope my post wasn't redundant, but I thought I could get more use out of my assignment, and somehow justify the time I spent playing this game a bit more if I posted something on it.