This is the first time I’ve ever felt the impotent frustration of being a viewer. When Josh walked away from Campbell I found myself shouting, “The book, Josh! Pick up the book!” at my monitor. Spoiler warning:
It didn’t help.
Josh is actually incorrect when he says that the demonstrated path is the only way to reveal yourself to Curnow without having to fight him. However, I can’t really blame Josh. There are many ways for this to play out, and his method was completely new to me.
Since I wasn’t around for this recording, let me do all the nitpicking I’d planned to do for this quest.
The non-lethal path for dealing with the High Overseer is ludicrous. You zonk him, strap him to a chair, and brand him, marking him as a heretic. And everyone just accepts this?
Vatican Guard Allen: Hey Bob, did you hear the Pope was excommunicated?
Vatican Guard Bob: For what?
Allen: I dunno. There was just this letter on the Pope’s desk that said “The Pope is excommunicated.” So we grabbed him and kicked him out of the Vatican.
Bob: Harsh. So who excommunicated him?
Allen: I have no idea. The letter didn’t say. I mean, I came in this morning and found every single guard in the building had been knocked out and stacked in the kitchen, and all the valuables had been stolen. Once I woke everybody up, we went upstairs and found the letter.
Bob: Sounds legit. I guess he deserved it, then.
I understand that these guys are NOT the Catholic Church, but I hope you can see the absurd logic gap here. The most powerful man in the organization is branded in the middle of the night, without being accused or having any accusers, and without anyone in the organization performing the brand. And all of this took place on the night of violence, theft, and possibly murder. There is no way all of them could be this stupid.
And I don’t want to hear about some letter or audio log that tries to justify this. Explanations for world-shattering stupidity on the part of large groups of people need to be offered just as obviously as the stupidity itself.
Having said all this, I agree with the rest of the cast: This is a really great section of the game, gameplay-wise. There are lots and lots of different paths in and out of the place, lots of side-activities, plenty of vertical transitions to keep things from feeling too flat, rich and varied visuals between the dirty streets and the opulent Overseer’s Office, lots of little side-areas to explore, and a solid mission that gives us a worthy short-term goal while also advancing the long term goal. There are lots of different ways of dealing with Campbell and lots of ways of dealing with Curnow, and the two options are interconnected in ways that give diverging dialog and different levels of challenge in helping Curnow to escape. (Or not.)
It’s an excellent mission, and probably the closest the game comes to evoking the “Thief” feel that I’m so fond of.
Quakecon 2012 Annotated
An interesting but technically dense talk about gaming technology. I translate it for the non-coders.
Mass Effect Retrospective
A novel-sized analysis of the Mass Effect series that explains where it all went wrong. Spoiler: It was long before the ending.
A stream-of-gameplay review of Dead Island. This game is a cavalcade of bugs and bad design choices.
So what happens when a SOFTWARE engineer tries to review hardware? This. This happens.
Could Have Been Great
Here are four games that could have been much better with just a little more work.