All About zhenyu21
Warning: This article contains HEAVY spoilers about GTA4.
Morality in gaming. What used to be a general killfest in gaming now has plot, characters that you cared about, didn't want to kill. They have their own back-story, their own agenda, own morals.
Now, every game has a story. Even games that don't require a story has one, games like the upcoming Ninja Gaiden 2 has a story that literally wraps your mind if you try to understand it. It got great scores from reviewers, not from the story, but from the visceral combat that it provides.
Note to developers: You don't need a story to justify killing of ninjas/monsters/people. That stuff is just cool on its own.
Though, those who aim to provide good story have pretty good ones to boot. RPGs have often told a great stories, but they often offer no choice as to how good and bad you want to be. GTA IV changed my view on story in games forever.
First "Choice": Mikhail Faustin
Lets start from the first thing I regretted doing. Mikhail Faustin. Not exactly a choice, but a very influential character(at least for me). For his character, I almost think Rockstar was cheating me from start to finish. The way he was introduced, the way he treated Dimitri (Oh I'll get to him), the way he treated his wife. How he would kill anyone who doesn't agree with him, ignoring Dimitri's pleas to stop the killing. When the order came down to kill him, I did it unquestioningly, I wouldn't let that scum live would I. While in that mission, Mikhail told me that Dimitri wasn't any good either, I didn't believe him, thought he was just saying that to let him live/escape.
Oh man, I was sooo wrong.
Dimitri turned out to be an ASS. He said Niko was weak and couldn't ally himself with such weak people. He found Bulgarin and killed him. At that point, I was pissed, like ME, I couldn't believe that he would do this to me. At that point, I swore to kill him. The **** that he did to Roman afterwards makes me just go "Oh you are so dead."
Second Choice: Playboy X or Dwayne
Now, I don't think Playboy is a bad guy. But I did see it coming, the moment Dwayne is introduced I knew I had to kill one or the other.
Playboy X - living the life, not at the bottom, will pay handsomely
Dwayne - just got out of prison, at rock bottom, almost suicidal
Who did you pick? I'm assuming that most of you guys did both. I didn't know the aftereffects then, so I did go for Playboy X. Not because I didn't want the money, but I felt that Playboy was backstabbing ass. Then again, I don't know if Dwayne was saying all that before just to get Niko to side with him. When I did the playthrough for Dwayne, my decision was justified. Playboy is a backstabbing SOB.
Third Choice: Derrick or Francis
I actually did a poll on the GT forums about this. Most of them replied to say that they killed Francis. A lot of people gave the reason that "He blackmailed me, so I killed him". This was a surprise to me. That people actually response to the character, some even knew the benefits prior to killing Derrick and yet still went for Francis cause "he's a prick That was a sign that story in games are working, they are eliciting a response from the player.
The bearings of killing either one doesn't matter much to the story in general. The general consensus was that the McReary's hated Francis (cause he was a cop), and pitied Derrick (that Niko was "putting out of his drugged misery"). Kate still liked you, no matter what.
Fourth "Choice": Darko Bevic
Oddly enough, the one that Niko wanted to find for so long, the man that killed all his friends, "changed his life", was the man that I had NO idea what to do. Do you kill him? or do you spare him? From all the missions and the way that Niko talks about him, the life before he came to Liberty City, I didn't feel a definite need to kill OR spare him. He did sell out his friends for a thousand dollars to buy some drugs. But he did say that Goran (one of the friends) killed his neighbours.
In the end, I killed him, not because of any particular reason, but because Niko wanted him dead so badly (and the cinematic confirmed that, a very well acted scene too) you could just see his hate and rage coming out in that scene.
Last Choice: Revenge/Kate or Deal/Roman
Which would you choose? To me, both are heart breaking choices. Though I have to say, both gets Dimitri killed, which was my objective. What drove me towards Revenge/Kate ending was because of Kate's words, her call. Though on the way to the tanker, Roman's text message, how he thinks about the money disgusts me (I mean Dimitri SHOT him in the stomach for Christ's sake).
Though I have to say, the ending for Deal/Roman felt more satisfying to me. Seeing Pegorino get shot by Dimitri, and then the chase to catch Dimitri is one of the better moments in any game I've played.
Niko VS YOU
During the course of playing this game, after killing Mikhail, I felt a strong need to exact revenge on Dimitri. I need to kill him for what he said to me, I needed to get my revenge. However, it seemed to me that Niko wasn't feeling that strongly about that. In his phone calls with Dimitri he would be visibly angry. But when talking about Florian and later Darko he would be on the verge of exploding. Last mission, Niko told Pegorino that him and Dimitri had "history", and he seemed more annoyed than angry. His anger only exploded during Deal/Roman ending (of course then, who wouldn't be when they killed your cousin).
Niko wants Florian/Darko killed, I felt indifferent.
Niko is pissed off at Dimitri, I wanted to FINISH him.
Thinking about it makes me feel that I'm detached from Niko, that I was playing a game, when the agenda's of the player controlled character and the player is different, it was a small annoyance. I was hoping Niko hated Dimitri's guts more than Darko.
In the end, I wonder how many people found out about the additional perks that Dwayne/Francis offered and chose to kill Playboy/Derrick even though they wanted to kill Dwayne/Francis. The boards are just filled with questions "What do I get when I kill XXX instead of XXX".
Still, I look at Darko as a example of pure morality in question, there are no repercussions, no additional content, just how you feel at the end, if you pull the trigger, or not. To me, that is great story telling. The same is with Kate/Roman, no perks, just your own feelings at the end of the game.
Now think about this, if the game lets you choose who to kill and then somehow doesn't allow you to go back and reverse the decision (be it starting a new game or something). Would you feel regret that you've killed the "wrong" person? To me, that's something probably no game could ever achieve. It is a game after all, but it would be pretty cool (aside from people getting pissed off and turning off the game).
This game is, summarized in one word, EPIC.
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