Monday 6 October, 2008
Played Twice Yesterday, Will separate the play-times.
In short, I started doing errands for my old "friends" on grove street. And needless to say various hijinks ensued. But this assignment is not about the "plot" of my gameplay.
To construct a more complete notion of the "lose - lose " situation i mentioned before, I have to explain how this game comes across to players. When gamers sit down to play a GTA game, they think "open world, do whatever you want or do the story". However doing whatever you want leads to unshakable police, at least in my limited experience you can't shake anything above a 2-star and that is really hard to get rid of, and death. These two mechanics almost force you to go through the storyline and practice your way into free-roaming. This is not very open. Therefore we are "stuck" with the story (in the beginning). There are, honestly, very few ethical choices to make. I call it lose-lose because you can't really decide what you do, in order to progress. So does this lead to a lot of ethical dilemmas for the player? No, it leads to the player "choosing" to do that the storyline tells him/her to in order to play more of the game. You can't choose to make the situation for your character better.
I decided, based on my last play, to only try freeroaming for this play. And it turned out...interesting. My point about the lose-lose situation i feel still holds. When freeroaming you can't choose anything that will improve your characters standing (like, get a better house or help his neighborhood by not being a gangster). to start off, I steal a car. Immediately there are cops on me because, well I guess I missed them when I checked for cops. So i end up dying because when i turned the car around i ran over one of the cops, got a two star and couldn't shake it. Starting over from the last save point, i thought I would be trixxy. I run/Swim/Bike all the way to the docks, which by the way have ridiculously heavy traffic and check for cops. None....good. I jack a car and BAM, one star. This I manage to evade by driving out into the countryside. And, because I was freeroaming, then decide to give myself the "Professional" weapon pack. Sweet, I have satchel charges. so, in the middle of the country with tractors rolling by i start putting satchel charges on the road. The next car to come over the hill is a police SUV, followed by a lot more. I realize I have a 4-star wanted level. I started to get the impression that the game only wanted me to do cool stuff during the storyline, and didn't want me to make my own decisions about what I can and can't do. I therefore shut off the game in frustration.
GTA has always been seen as a game where players could make their own choices and do their own thing, but this simply, from my mind, is not true. Sure, you can make your own choices, as long as they are illegal, and you can do your own thing, as long as that is the storyline. Where is the ethical dilemma in that? It is nothing more than following orders. If you want ethical choices, go see Bioshock. K THX BAI.
I think you made a good point about how the player has the choice of free roaming but the choices the player has are limited to illegal activities and are quite narrow. Also, that you cannot make the situation better through your actions and that in the game you blindly take orders. However, in your second portion you get off focus, because you want to discuss ethics, but your start reviewing the game play instead.
Sunday 19 October, 2008 by mtisdale