• Welcome to the Angry Joe Show Army!

    Join our community of gamers passionate about our community and our hobby! Whether it's playing, discussing, or watching games, regardless of platform, genre, or location, we have a place for you, always!

  • PS4 Forum

    The AJSA Playstation 4 Division: Game Nights and More!

    The AJSA is on Playstation 4! Join us for weekly Game Nights with a selection of the best games the PS4 has to offer!

  • XBO Forum

    The AJSA Xbox One Division: We Got You Covered!

    The AJSA Xbox One Division is ready to connect with you on XBox Live with a ton of events for the best Xbox games!

  • News Archive

    The Best News from the Best Sites, Every Week.

    The AJSA News Collection Team is hard at work condensing a week's worth of news into one giant-sze digest for you to chew on and discuss! Links to source articles are always provided!

  • More Info

    The AJSA Expeditionary Force: Deploying to Play the Best PC Games!

    The elite vanguard of the AJSA, the Expeditionary Force (EF) chooses a new PC game every week! Join us for weekly events and help decide if the game has a future in the AJSA.

  • The Team

    Streaming Now: The AJSA Stream Team

    Joe can't stream every game, but our talented AJSA Stream Team covers a wide variety of games and personalities! Check them out, and show them some AJSA Love!

  • The Tube

    The AJSA Community YouTube Channel

    Featuring news, gameplay clips, and more from the community! The Community is a chance to showcase the best moments in AJSA Gaming!

Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
Kamaro

Morality and Personality: Can Both Co-Exist in a Video Game?

13 posts in this topic

(If this is in the wrong place, please let me know and I will gladly remove it)

 

To give a little context, I recently started playing Mass Effect 1 (looking to play the whole series, regardless of opinions on the last game). So far, I have a goody-goody Paragon Shepard who would gladly stick his arm in a fire to save a basket full of orphan kittens.

 

In most respects, I love the game. Bioware always seems to rub me the right way with its games and storylines, and this one was no exception. One of my only problems with it though, was Shepard himself. While I'm grateful that he actually has spoken lines, most of them seem to be delivered so flat and without real character. Even though the Paragon side of him is a stalwart hero who stands up for the weak and innocent, he sounds more like a bored office worker reading off notecards for a business presentation to me.

 

I'm not saying it's the voice actor's fault. I mean, yeah, he could've added more personality and zest to the lines, but then that causes a problem of creating an inconsistent Shepard. His Paragon lines might sound completely optimistic and friendly, while his Renegade lines might then sound like he wants to rip out your tongue and shove it where the sun don't shine. You get a little bit of that with how the lines are delivered in the game, but it's not enough to really sell it. However, if the guy reading the lines did try to sell it, that would just make Shepard seem bipolar unless you always followed the good or always followed the evil dialogue options.

 

So why am I bringing all this up? Because it makes me feel like you can't have a morality system in a game without sacrificing the main character's personality, and that giving the player the "freedom" to choose a character's conversation options just turns his or her character into a grey muddle of slightly good and evil thoughts and expressions.

 

Now I'm not saying that I hate having the option to choose between good and evil altogether. I do find that system interesting, and it's cool to think that you can drive a story down one way or the other. But then the problem is that, if you really make your own decisions in the game and have some good and some evil decisions, you don't get those little rewards from being all-good or all-evil; there's no real reason to take things halfway or neutrally without sacrificing bonuses and other story options. I remember one video game critic (whose name I can't remember at the moment) that wished that those kind of games just gave you a good or evil path to begin with and stick to those paths, and honestly, I'd love for a game to do that. I'd be fine with playing a game where the decisions are made for me if it meant that the character could have a little more personality.

 

TL;DR: I hate it when a game gives you a morality system with an utterly boring character, and I feel like (for the most part) you can't have a morality system without sacrificing the personality (and vice versa). You want a character with personality? Gotta take the moral choices away from the player. Want to have the player choose the character's morals? Gotta get rid of their character's personality.

 

What do you guys think? Agree, disagree? Do you think there are games that disprove what I'm arguing?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If i remember correctly, the voice acting gets better in ME2 and 3 in that respect with paragon lines being more lighthearted and optimistic while renegade sounds more serious

Abedsbrother likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If i remember correctly, the voice acting gets better in ME2 and 3 in that respect with paragon lines being more lighthearted and optimistic while renegade sounds more serious

Truth.

Also, the writing in ME 2 and 3 improved (the person-to-person scenes, not talking about story arcs or plot-lines!), allowing the voice actors to be more effective.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The way that Mass Effect forces you to pick one side and stick to it (and to never pick any option on the neutral side) hurts the personality of Shepard more than anything else.

 

"I want to play mostly paragon but I want to pick renegade in these situations, but I can't because then I won't build up enough points to be able to make important decisions."

 

I'm not saying it's the voice actor's fault. I mean, yeah, he could've added more personality and zest to the lines,

Seems to be why people prefer the female Shepard, although I didn't really think either one did a poor or great job.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think bioware should ditch morality "points" in the next ME and have the player decide what is right. Sacrifice a few to save many? That could be viewed as a good choice as could killing someone in cold blood to eliminate the threat they pose to innocents. I like how the witcher does it and lets the player decide what feels good/evil.

Dane2hip48 likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

^ agree. I didn't even know that there was a morality system in ME1 until halfway in. I just choose what I thought was right. in ME2 it turned more into "pick renegade or paragon for the duration of this game because if you change anything up we will punish you by taking away the opportunity to persuade or make a decision.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think it's the problem with the illusion of choice or morality in a video game. Each response is scripted, and usually doesn't account for your previous decisions. So you might save puppies from a fire in one line, and then you're a mustache-twirling, baby-eating, reporter-punching psychopath in another line. 

You can't have an "organic" character unless you manufacture the character to have a set personality.

A bit ironic, isn't it? The only illusion of personality comes from conforming totally to the direction and writing of the game's story. And by choosing freedom, you're trapping yourself in one extreme vs. the other extreme with no middleground.

Kamaro likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

-snip-

This right here. In fact, you put it a bit more eloquently than I did XD

 

Granted, I don't necessarily mind being put on a specific path as long as the story and characterization are good. But don't make it seem like there's an actual choice! who's going to want to take the middle ground if you get less from it than adhering to good or evil?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You should really play or look into The Stanley Parable. It's a very simple game that's a powerful statement on game development, and how games may seem to be engaging your but are essentially either stringing you along or making you think you have a choice when the reality is that everything is pre-ordained by the writers. Because... yeah, it is.

And in fact they might've done the "Press F to Mourn" as a joke before CoD actually did it. So they're also psychic. :0c

Or just very perceptive. But yeah, check it out.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Personally I think its a moot point because I think the whole nailed-in morality choices games have are total crap.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't care. As long as the villains are not doing evil for the sake of doing evil. Every villain that does harm onto others and has absolutely nothing to gain from it is annoying.

I think Saints Row IV and Far Cry 4 both did this.

There isn't really a morality choice there. It's only 'kill this guy cause he's gonna kill everyone'. You have no reason to empathize with anyone in the game. There are no 2 different ideologies, only the one who doesn't kill and the one who kills.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't care. As long as the villains are not doing evil for the sake of doing evil. Every villain that does harm onto others and has absolutely nothing to gain from it is annoying.

I think Saints Row IV and Far Cry 4 both did this.

There isn't really a morality choice there. It's only 'kill this guy cause he's gonna kill everyone'. You have no reason to empathize with anyone in the game. There are no 2 different ideologies, only the one who doesn't kill and the one who kills.

Granted, Saint's Row 4 hardly takes itself seriously. You're fighting aliens in a virtual reality as the president of the US, after all :P

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Granted, Saint's Row 4 hardly takes itself seriously. You're fighting aliens in a virtual reality as the president of the US, after all :P

Yea but he's kinda a cliche.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0