I’ve murdered a lot of people in my gaming career, but I can’t for the life of me remember why. There was probably a man in a suit shooting at me, so I returned fire without haste; or perhaps the soviets are trying to end the world, so we better kill them all.
I’m not surprised that I can’t remember why I was murdering thousands of people in games last year. I have a rubbish memory as it is, and with so many new games coming across my desk, every FPS merges into an incoherent blur. I’m forever confusing the one where you kill lots of people with the other one where you kill many soldiers.
Now it’s gone beyond that. I went back to Uncharted 3 last night. Apparently I haven’t finished it, and only got up to Chapter 7 (whatever). After figuring out why I was dangling mid-building, some men starting firing at me, so I promptly returned the welcome around the genital region. It wasn’t where I intended to aim, I just needed to reaffirm myself with the precision of the controls.
After a rather lengthy cut-scene and some more pointless slaughtering, I thought I was finally about to solve a puzzle. Only, solve turned out to be the wrong word.
”Start” a puzzle would be a better way to put it, as I was going to have to kill a great many more clones before getting anywhere near the solution. As soon as Drake made any semblance of forward progress, a group of like-minded lackeys conveniently stumbled upon his location and the bodies of hundreds of their fallen comrades. Luckily, they had somehow concealed sniper-riffles and rocket-launchers in their pristine Armani jackets, so there was no chance of easy escape.
This continued for quite some time, intervened only by the advancement of the story through cut-scene. Although, it still hasn’t explained why all these Barney Stinsons are trying to kill me. I haven’t played since December, I can’t remember, and for such a strong narrative, it hasn’t done a very good job of explaining why Nathan Drake is a coldblooded killer.
I’m going to finish it tonight, but I already have a massive case of murder fatigue. I just want to finish some of these puzzles and get to the bottom of a once gripping story. The action is fun, but I’ve reached a point in gaming where I want to do something other than pointlessly shoot minions. There’s almost no reward and even less satisfaction for shooting people, and I rarely feel like the serial killer I am.
Run into Max Payne? You know you dead.
Every protagonist is a serial killer these days. Even Link in his cute little green hat kills hundreds of adversaries without as much as second thought.
I can’t wait to get started on Max Payne 3, especially after claims of the best story ever told in a shooter. However, achievements like “1000 kills” put me off a little. Aside from mindlessly killing too many people over the years, unrealistic murdering will be to the detriment of strong narratives in video games. Engrossing story lines can only go so far before we wake up thinking, “wait a minute, perhaps the realism with which my average protagonist just slaughtered 1500 bad guys isn’t that realistic at all”.
I’m not saying that video games should have a realistic body count. A total of three in an eight hour experience wouldn’t be all that much fun. I’m just tired of killing hundreds of enemies because I can, with little reason as to why.
By Ben Salter - Bio