Damn it Patty and Selma, you started this trend!
Dealing with the death of the heroes of games I have to say now MASSIVE SPOILERS are in this topic for games including but not limited to God Of War 3, Dead Space 3, Mass Effect 3, , Assassins Creed 3(NOTICE SOME THREE'S?) Bioshock 2(Okay so that ones a two) and Fallout 3(!)
Still here? Good. Because tonight I finished a game I was extremely excited for since the day it was announced. Dead Space 3. (Spoilers in case that last part didn't scare you off) What happens at the end? The same thing that happens in every trilogy ender. A big issue arises, you fight bravely against it (In this case, a necromorph in the size and shape of a god damn moon) and upon winning your final battle your character makes the heroic sacrifice that saves the universe but leaves them dead.....and then after a little montage or small scene showing how you won you get the after credits tease where *GASP* It's revealed your character IS STILL ALIVE.
You know what? I'm getting real sick of this. Is it so much to ask these days that your hero conquers the issue and comes out the other end a better person? The very same series Dead Space did this with the second installment, hell it was basically the entire theme of the game. But apparently story writers love to pull the sacrifice but not really card and it's beginning to piss me off. So I'm going to look at some good endings, some bad endings and some character deaths I think are simply moronic
Lets talk about some endings where a characters death is a justified thing. First I'd like to draw your attention to
Fallout 3: I think at this point most of us have completed this game, at the end The Lone Wanderer has the ultimate choice to show the colors you've given to him. Is he the son who learned the virtues of the father and sacrifices himself for the good of all living people he's met or are left on the radiation baked hell that was once earth? Or is he a man who has no issue with sending an ally and friend in to die so he can continue to be a terror to the wastes, only caring about his own power? Either way it was an effective ending to the game so focused on morality and choice, it was either the ultimate example of an irredeemable monster, or a man who would sacrifice everything for those he cares for and wants to live better lives.(I understand Broken Steel changed the ending, honestly I didn't like it at all)
God of War 3: Remember when I said the Lone Wanderer has the choice to be a monster or a good person? Yeah Kratos doesn't get that chance. Kratos is nothing but a man shaped ball of fury, vengeance and hatred molded by the gods to serve their purposes and were surprised when he comes knocking to kill the beings who have made his life a blood soaked living hell. Kratos ends up destroying the entire world in his selfish bloodlust, after killing Zeus he gazes upon what he's created, a world decimated by every kind of disaster known to man, and a species broken and hopeless without the gods that were lording over them providing them with what they needed. Kratos is given two options at this point, end his own life and release what little hope is left for mankind out to the people who need it now more than they ever will or hand it to one of the very same gods that betrayed and tormented him. Kratos in the end plunges the Blade of Olympus directly into his gut, granting hope to mankind and a final end to his own personal hell.
Bioshock 2: Subject Delta was a man who couldn't survive on the surface, not just because he was sealed into a diving suit, but because His little sister Eleanor was the only reason he had to live or really....was the only reason he WAS living. Delta sacrifices himself so that Eleanor(Who at this point in the story wasn't so little) could make it out the hell Rapture had been under the rule of her mother who was looking to transform her into the same monster she transformed a former scientist into. Subject Delta, strangely enough had no real connection to Eleanor, he was bonded to her and her to him as a part of the sick and twisted big daddy/little sister experiment. But even with the knowledge of the forced pairing in the back of your mind you get the sense that all this former man wants is to see the little girl he once cared for to get safely away from the hell he know's he can never leave and in the end he does just that(Although depending on the morals you displayed throughout the game this could go exactly as Delta wanted, or inadvertently turn Eleanor into a monster herself)
You see, those are endings in which the character dying is essential to the plot in a meaningful way. They don't just die because it's the cool thing to do for the end of your game....Which...is happening a lot.
Mass Effect 3: Oh this one is almost famous, now personally I do think the extended cut addressed a lot of the issues but one that stood out for me right off the bat was the death(Or fake out death) Of Commander Shepard. As a player, at this point you had spent 3 very long games battling the reapers, the robotic death machines looking to wipe the galaxy clean of life. So after a brutal third game in which you settle lifetime feuds between races, watch the galaxy burn and struggle to the very end to stop the rampant killing machines your given...what? A ghost child who reveals that despite all of your hard work you won't get to see the results of your struggle, you'll just get to make one of three choices that all pretty much lead to the galaxy being screwed over one way or another. And what little satisfaction you might get out Shepards ending sacrifice of killing the reapers if you so choose is the same crap games have been pulling forever. You sacrifice everything and you watch the galaxy rejoice at the death of the big bad monsters but the man who was struggling the hardest gets nothing but a grave. Except OH WAIT you get the tiny hint that he's alive(if you destroy them at least) so even if you took solace in the sacrifice Shepard makes you get nothing.
Assassins Creed 3: 5 games, through 5 games Desmond Miles did very little. For most of the story line he was simply a vessel through which we could explore the lives of his ancestors. However in each game, Desmond Miles would gain a little bit more importance. Eventually it would be revealed that the fate of the world rested in Desmonds hands but in the end, what happens?Despite all the build up, all the possibility's Desmond gets yelled at by someone who is trapped, and someone who is long dead. Then grabs an orb, releases an evil spirit and dies. So for five games we get the build up of some great purpose for Desmond and in the end all he gets to do is open a door and die. Just plain insulting, the player gets nothing for his investment in the character. And this isn't the first time this has happened to this series a major characters death was explained in a DLC add on through the use of poorly made puzzles. And of course, the series is heavily hinted at continuing, maybe staring a new person? Maybe bringing Desmond back from the dead with some poorly thought out retcon.
The same basic issues for these two both present themselves in Dead Space 3. I guess what I've been trying to get across is my increasingly angry views on these kinds of endings. Is it so wrong to let the player feel some sense of accomplishment? Every once and awhile I'd like to see the hero of the game pull through in his or her quest and take down the big bad. I don't need the main character to sacrifice their lives every time they want to wrap something up. I just want to save the day every once and awhile.
Woah that went on for a while....so I mostly wrote this topic for myself but by all means talk about this please, chime in with your views on it. Do you like the idea of a self sacrificing gesture by the main character? Or do you also just want the hero to have his good day every once and awhile?