This game eventually employs one of my most hated plot contrivances: A moment of indecision where the heroes conclude that If we stop the bad guy we will be getting revenge, and revenge is pointless!
I’ve been seeing this one since I was a child. The idea permeates anime, videogames, and superhero cartoons. There are characters that can’t tell the difference between base revenge and stopping a belligerent foe who is bent on causing further harm. Killing him won’t bring our loved ones back! Yes, yes, but killing him will certainly prevent him from killing anyone else’s loved ones you unthinking cardboard moralizer. Get him cornered and disarmed, and then you can agonize all you want.
So the story reached a climactic moment where one of the characters had to make the Big Decision, and I endured it with much sighing and eye rolling. I can understand that Lady Ashe might agonize over the use of Nethecite. That fits and makes sense. But the way they framed the conversation at the top of the tower at Ridorana Cataract, she was agonizing over whether or not to take action against the villain, not what methods she should employ. Vayne is set on starting a massive war that will further obliterate her homeland, and she’s worried about moving against him out of revenge. Aside from the fact that this sort of indecision makes no sense, it fails to add tension to the plot. We know the heroes aren’t going to pack it up and go home. Either they will pull themselves together and come up with more pleasing justifications for killing the bad guy, or he will force their hand by attacking them directly.
It’s like a little mini-game: The challenge is to endure the scene without quitting the game. It helps if I have someone with me so we can take turns giving the game a sort of MST3K treatment. Sometimes I blurt out “YOU JUST DON’T UNDERSTAND ME!” in an angsty teenager voice. Sometimes I make a “wha-whu-waa whaa wuh” sound like all of the adults do in Charlie Brown cartoons. Sometimes I say, “You know, I can see the characters talking, but all I hear is a fapping sound.” I’m curious what techniques other people use to get through this sort of stuff.
This game is hardly the worst offender in the regard (there are other games which are far, far worse) but I notice that each time I encounter something like this I have less and less patience for it. The only thing worse than a senseless plot device is a senseless plot device which is mercilessly over-used.
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