on Aug 4, 2011
I’ve done Honest Hearts twice now, and the rain thing is kind of odd. Originally, I saw it began raining, was impressed, looked up, saw a clear starry sky, laughed, and didn’t look up again. I was actually surprised to see the clouds forming in Josh’s game. I watched it more closely on my second play-through. It seems like it begins raining from a clear sky, and then the cloud layer slowly thickens. I think having those two things happen in the reverse order would be less ridiculous.
I also hadn’t noticed the raindrop thing. In case you couldn’t follow Josh’s demonstration:
- Just like my own particle system, it puts an emitter over your head (over the camera, really) that begins dropping raindrop particles on you. Assuming you’re looking forward, the particles will be tall vertical streaks to give a sense of motion.
- If you tilt your head upwards, it shuts off / removes the original emitter and starts another. Now it’s dropping tiny dots on you instead of vertical streaks.
- There’s a slight gap between the time when the first emitter is shut off and the time when the particles from the second one actually begin hitting you in the face. From the player’s point of view, it’s like it stopped raining for a half second.
I don’t understand why things were done this way. I’ve made this exact same effect in the past, and I can tell you that looking up into vertical streaks does not look bad at all. With foreshortening, they usually end up looking like dots anyway. I suppose the artist was worried about the player seeing one of those vertical panels edge-on? I don’t know. That’s actually not a problem at all. (Such moments are blink-and-you’ll-miss-it.) It’s certainly less distracting that having it stop raining for half a second when your head tilt crosses the 45° threshold.
It’s a very small issue either way, and doesn’t really detract from the fact that the rain is a refreshing change. It’s just interesting because it looks like someone went to a bit of extra work for very little (perhaps even negative) benefit.
Having done both endings for Honest Hearts, I can say that you only fight slightly more bad guys when wiping out the White Legs, compared to running away from them. I would say it’s less than double. The big difference between the two is that you have to fight Salt-Upon-Wounds, leader of the White Legs. You murder your way into their camp, and then you find that Joshua Graham is about to execute the guy. You are presented with this choice:
Wha? How about a third option, “What are you waiting for, Josh? Shoot this clown and let’s go grab some beers.”
I can’t believe Obsidian would leave out an obvious option like that. It would be fine if you missed out on some nice chunk of XP or loot if you let Joshua do all the heavy lifting, but this is some annoying railroading. Both of these options have you being a jerk to Joshua. You came here for the express purpose of executing this genocidal monster, and “go through with it” seems like a pretty obvious choice.
I can’t imagine why it was left out. You wouldn’t even need any additional voice acting. Just boom, headshot, and cut to Joshua Graham’s wrap-up conversation.
Also I hate when games have the local Hitler beg for mercy and it doesn’t give you a chance to say something appropriate to the guy. Maybe point out that he’s butchered / tortured / raped / cannibalized his way through a bunch of civilians without ever giving any of them mercy? Maybe just give him an abridged version of his crimes, so he understands you aren’t just here for laughs? No, your only choices are:
- Aw. Sorry for not losing to you. I totally believe in your abrupt repentance at gunpoint. Here is a hug. Off you go now.
- BLARG IMA BADASS LETS FITE!
This problem goes way beyond Obsidian. (In fact, I’m really surprised to see Obsidian taking this route.) I’d also insist that developers should let the player get the last word in, not their darling villain. I mean, the guy pulling the trigger should be able to decide when the conversation is over, so those last-minute digs from the condemned always strike me as the author’s agenda getting in the way of a satisfying end.