Wednesday, June 29, 2011

A Throwaway Experience...

After completing the free-download inFAMOUS, I had no incentive to write about it. Being a fairly old game now, I assumed my problem with it would easily be echoed by others in a quick Google search and it didn't take long to find this passage (among many others) that resonated with how I felt on the game.
"I made a choice that I wasn’t entirely proud of, but it was MY choice. The game felt so much closer to me now, I had imprinted myself into it. It had let me imprint myself into it. Except that it had not. A cut-scene explained that I had not really saved my girlfriend, that I had been tricked because she was among the doctors. OK, I thought, I’ll replay the mission and save those guys then. Hmmm, well no, not really because this time you were not tricked, see? Basically, she was going to die either way.

And I must say that sucks. That moment right there threw every other choice I had made into the dumpster. For a moment, it felt as if all the small choices were in preparation for this big, truly meaningful choice. And when that moment shattered, so did all those other, small moments.

 When I reached the ending, I had very low expectations. The ending was surprising, tying the story in a cool, unexpected way. But again, it was identical regardless of any choice the player had made during the game. In the game’s defense I will say that it could be interpreted differently, but the words and the imagery are the same. The only reward, the only difference comes after the credits, when the character makes a final statement that sums up the player’s behavior and how it has affected the world.
Every choice made dies with the game, with the virtual world. When we power the game off, the choices made lose all meaning, they are turned off along with the game. We are never left to deal with the consequences of our actions, never allowed to really care about our choices. We are given the Illusion of Choice. And when the illusion breaks we see the game for the piece of plastic that it is, and go to bed so we may forget about it."
(via Intelligent Design)

I have no incentive to try the recently released sequel now because of how cheap the above situation laid out the game's experience. Admittedly, I was interested enough to spoil the entire thing for myself via the game's Wikia, but this only backed up my stance that I wasn't missing anything. inFAMOUS is certainly an enjoyable title, but without the comic-homage plot wrapped around it (which in some areas, wasn't half-bad), it's just another superhero simulator that's merely enjoyable to play (i.e. if I want to run around and blow shit up, games such as it are a dime a dozen).