Week 2 Questions – Good Guy Chris

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  1. 1. How far would you say you try and inhabit the ‘character’ you’re ‘playing’?

No matter what game I’m playing I have a fixed way of playing the character, a way that feels right. When it comes to role playing games I am always the good guy, more so on games that reflect player choices, in a shooter I’m a bold leader and in beat ‘em ups the relentless button masher. With LA Noire you are instantly told that Phelps is supposed to be a good guy, flawed, but still a justice seeking detective. This led me to drive carefully, listen to everything my partners said and try to solve what I could without violence. This however did make the game even more linear than it already was, pushing me to follow a single line of inquiry throughout the entire game, never deviating until all the cases had been completed to the highest rank.

2. How far do you try and see the world through their eyes?

The problem with third person games is that you never truly get to see out of the character’s eyes and view the world from their perspective. Vehicles that should fill their vision are smaller, you are able to see straight over cover sometimes and see the person hiding from you eliminating the anxious curiosity, whereas from a first person perspective you would be careful, unaware if the hostiles had stayed put or moved, being both curious and wary enhances the thrill in the same way as a twist in a story throws you off guard.

I did try to see the world through Phelp’s eyes, and the story, development and art teams did a great job of making the environments period perfect. This was made even more compelling by the interesting way in which Phelp’s story unfolds. However, the biggest draw to the game, the authentic speech and facial movements, was both its best part and worst part in way of integrating me with the character and the world. Everyone I encountered felt real, but too real, especially where some actors I recognised from other shows/movies leading me to be drawn away from their in-game persona.

As a side note: The initial impression was that of great immersion, I felt I knew the characters and wanted to help everyone, this was diminished due to my tendency to hoard Gamerscore (Xbox gamer) and my need to replay sections in ways I never would have done, sometimes completing missions in a way that felt wrong for the characters themselves (see achievement/trophy for tailing someone without taking cover). However this would not have occurred if it was given as an assignment or as something to just play from the start to the finish of the storyline.

3. Does the character you’re playing shape your behaviour or attitudes towards to other characters you encounter in the game?

Completely, my actions are almost entirely decided by the first few pieces of information that I am given about my character, and my understanding of their past and present. If my character is shown to be just and kind, I will help everyone I see, even to the detriment of my main goal to fulfil what I believe to be the ‘true’ objective. Yet on a game where my character is hostile to everything around me I will attack everything in sight as if they have personally wronged me.

This attitude however is far more difficult to adapt to games such as LA Noire, as though I could loosely do this by simply being understanding and helpful, there was a good chance that the person was lying (for those who have completed the game you know the very few instances where people actually tell the complete truth).

4. Would you say your ‘game identity’ is all you, partly made-up of you and the character you’re ‘playing’ or as much as possible, is it entirely the character you’re ‘playing’?

Though my overall gaming identity is typically very similar across games, but it will change to accommodate the character and environment. For example if it is available I will always take the good/angelic route but will at the same time have no qualms about shooting someone who has irritated me with boring dialogue. However that being said, yes my gaming identity is typically dictated by what information I have been given about my character.

My main change of character and karmic balance on games however is the move towards completion, where generally you have to go back and do something that you would have missed being good/bad or where you must achieve 5 star on all cases (this, once completed made me hate all pedestrians and motorists which led to a killing frenzy in a garbage truck, completely against my typical karmic alignment).

Final Note: As I have explained throughout this set of questions, my character is generally a good guy and this will only change when the background dictates it, either that or my inner ‘Gamerscore Hunter’ side takes over.

Chris Dunning

GT:Live4Doom

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Comments

  1. ClockworKei / Mar 24th, 2012 12:21 Quote

    I have to agree with everything you’ve said; they are my exact sentiments too. I agree that being banded with an ambiguously moral character helps to stamp yourself onto the character, and I generally steer my character down the ‘good’ path too but being told from the outset that Cole was a good guy made me feel like I could control less and less about him and his actions, especially as no matter how the questioning went, the outcome would always seem to be the same (Except with a lower rating at the end, which meant a replay, which like you say, isn’t fun for a Gamerscore collector).

  2. Thomas / Mar 25th, 2012 16:41 Quote

    I think that morally ambigous characters in games are a good balance – playing a sboth too evil or too good can become dull, and is unrealistic. In reality, there’s good and bad in everyone, and I like LA Noire tried to show this. I agree that the third person view made things a little harder, but I’m not sure how a ffirst person view would work in an open world sandbox game like this one.