Rutskarn is right. This only looks silly because the world looks so real. Older stealth games had mechanics that were just as ridiculous, but we understood them to be representative. They were a metaphor, as part of the language of a simplified cartoon world. But now we’ve got this thing that looks “real”, and we’re throwing a bottle directly through a guy’s field of vision without them noticing. And strangling a grown man to death in a quiet space while his friend stands just two meters away, oblivious? Looks like everyone decided to put on their silly pants today.
Also strange is the way the game is still so video-gamey about the guards. Those nameless, clueless, powerless rubes you gun down on your way to Robert. In real life, I’d be extremely worried about that trail of bodies. At least one of those guys had a mother who loved him very much, and who probably had other sons. At least one of those guys was married and took care of a family. At least one of those guys had a brother about the same age. If I was Joel I’d be paranoid that tomorrow the buzz would be all over town: Who shot all those guys? It’s not like they didn’t conspicuously pass multiple people on their way to Robert. Word would get around. Somewhere out there would be someone (probably a group of someones, maybe even a posse of someones) who would work just as hard to solve these murders ad Joel and Tess did to recover their guns.
Of course, that not how the game works. Those guys didn’t have names of histories or families. They were mooks to be killed because this is a shooter. It’s just that as games get more and more visual fidelity, stuff like this looks increasingly strange to me. And to be honest, I don’t know what the solution is. You could lower the body count, but only at the expense of having less shooting. So we can either have a game with little shooting (Walking Dead) cartoony graphics (not gonna happen in the gritty AAA game space) or we end up playing a casual mass-murderer. I suppose you can also set the game in a world with lots of foes that can be killed guilt-free (aliens and Nazis) but that does tyend to narrow your options with regards to what kinds of stories you can tell.
Despite my bellyaching, I really wish I’d played this game. I’m dumping on the shooting from a narrative / tonal sense, but it looks fun.
Could Have Been Great
Here are four games that could have been much better with just a little more work.
What is this silly word, why did some people get so irritated by it, and why did it fall out of use?
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.
Why Google sucks, and what made me switch to crowdfunding for this site.
This Scene Breaks a Character
Small changes to the animations can have a huge impact on how the audience interprets a scene.