Games that give me the choice and freedom to decide how I want my characters to act and respond are probably some of my favourite. Mass Effect, The Witcher, and all Telltale games to name a few. Now I know that a lot of the time this sense of control doesn’t always amount to much (Telltale particularly) but I think having the choice to make your character do the right thing or go bat-shit crazy just adds an extra bit of depth and immersion to the gameplay.
One of the joys of gaming is the ability experience things you either couldn’t or wouldn’t do in real life. Wanna lead an army? Sure! Save the world from an alien invasion? Why not! Build a house shaped like a ham and cheese sandwich? I’d be affronted if you didn’t! Creating characters that act or think differently from you is just an extra jammy layer to the gaming cake.
When given the choice I pretty much always pick the bad guy approach and I think this is for multiple reasons. Firstly, I consider myself to be a pretty upstanding citizen. I go to work, I pay my bills on time, and I’d help a little old lady cross the street if she needed it. So, picking the bad guy choices in games is a great outlet for the little voice inside me that wants to cut loose sometimes. Yes, we all have it, but no, we don’t act on it. Mostly…
Secondly, creating a character in a video game isn’t necessarily making one that would do or act as you would. The game designers are giving you the artistic license to make the character you want. So if you think Shepherd would punch that reporter in the face because that’s who they are, great! You’ve become the author of that character.
Lastly, I often think playing the bad guy is the more interesting and funny option. I’ve seen a million hero movies and being the good guy is overdone and samey. Not giving a damn what anyone thinks, playing by your own rules and still getting the results? It’s fun!
If given the choice, how do you like to play your characters? Does it just depend on your mood? Or do you pretty much favour the good guy or the bad guy? Let me know in the comments
In games like inFamous or the Knights of the Old Republic games, where your morality influences your tactical options, I tend to play a good character because I like the more defensive/precise play style that comes with it. Generally an evil play through of such games just gives you moves that deal as much damage as possible to as many people as possible – I like my ability options to be a bit more nuanced.
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I’ve played a little inFamous and I did enjoy the good/evil mechanics. Never played KotOR even though I’ve been told many times to. Maybe I’ll get round to it one day haha. If the game options are just reflected in whether you’re a good or bad person, do you still prefer to pick good?
I tend to veer more towards the evil side in games. That is usually my mindset but depending on the game sometimes I can’t follow through with that. I think it depends on the writing and choices.
In games where it’s more good of evil, black or white, I tend to be evil. Infamous 1 + 2 and Mass effect 1-3 I was evil. It seemed the more fun option in conversations in Mass Effect and in Infamous, I prefered the evil powers to the good. Also being an evil super hero is fun.
But games like Pillars of Eternity and Divinity: Original Sin, I can’t commit to the evil route. I start out with that mindset but then I find the dialogue more immersive. I tend to lean into the side of justice then. ‘You hurt your friend so a bear would catch him instead of you? Killing you doesn’t change that outcome. And I understand it was him or you. Go say you’re sorry to the family and let them decide your punishment.’ Those games have more of a grey area.
Not only that but games like Mass Effect, Bioshock and Infamous, they tend to lock the best powers or upgrades behind the max good or evil route. So you can’t dilly dally between the 2 as you won’t get the full upgrade tree or full reward. Kind of forces you to commit to a route which I don’t agree with but I understand the reasons why they do that.
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Its definitely true. Some games you just can’t help but be good. If you’re really attached to a person, or if you’ve created a character to act a certain way, I get that. Telltale games are killer for that. I don’t know if you’ve played Walking Dead but I just can’t be anything but nice to Clementine.
Being nice is nice, but being mean is so satisfying 😉
Exactly. I try to be nice or at least decent in life so being mean is very satisfying in games.
And yeah the Walking Dead season 1 specifically did a great job. Without spoiling, at the end of the 2nd episode I did an action that I thought logically made sense. I would stop bad deeds happening in the future by doing a bad deed. Greater good kind of thing. But then Clem hated that choice. Was pretty destroying haha. I actually thought of reloading the checkpoint but I stuck with my choice. Was tough though. She was not happy haha
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