Author Topic: Thoughts on KOTOR2  (Read 4193 times)

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Offline Mr. Vega

  • Your Node Is Mine
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  • The ticket to the future is always blank
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And, again, I felt like I was being beaten over the head with Kian's naivete. From that point on it was flagrantly obvious where Kian's character was going and so there was no drama there for me. Perhaps that is what jarred for me more than the character's motives - Kian felt flat and puppet-like, and my first instinct was to attack his motivations.
True, but the drama was never if he was going to change or not. The question was, what was he going to do when he turned? And that has yet to be answered.

And I've been trying to explain the conversation on more and more specific levels but I see I'm going to have to go through it line by line for you to see what I'm saying.

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I don't think Avellone shies away from the 'emotional gut-punch' at all. On the contrary, I felt more for the Nameless One's various companions than I did for any character in Dreamfall. The story is full of tragedy. But perhaps that's not what you meant.
Really? I felt quite detached from Torment's proceeding and the only character I really felt anything for was Ravel, and maybe Morte. There were a lot of things I found moving, but nothing really moved me, so to speak. Compare that the death of the White (although on the third playthrough I noticed a flapping of wings as the screen goes black, which may be Crow or it may be the White escaping) and April's "death", which the first time I saw I became so emotionally upset that I felt nauseous (I swear to god if April really is dead I'm gonna fly to Norway and kill Ragnar for that). The ending left me nearly sobbing, and I never even get remotely watery-eyed, for anything. It's easy to be intellectually intriguing if the writer is intelligent enough and he/she spends enough time thinking about the issues. What's hard is preventing the reader or player from detaching themselves from the drama and fear and suspense and make them really worry what's going to happen to characters they care for in the next five minutes, and the next five minutes after that. Tornquist can do that; Avellone for the most part can't.

And regardless of what you think of the game you've gotta admit sneaking inside the Victory Hotel was as creepy as hell.

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I haven't seen Angel, so I can't comment on that. But no, I don't like it when something is preachy. I feel like the job of the author isn't to tell people how things are but to give them something new to think about. A different perspective on things. I like authors that leave room for interpretation and trust their audience enough to make up their own mind. Perhaps you're right that it's easier. But I don't agree that it's inferior.
Except that Torment was, or should have been, about the ending of the journey. The vast majority of the Nameless's one's travels and experiences had already taken place before the beginning of the game. It was the game's chapter's job to bring the questions that were repeatedly asked throughout countless reincarnations of the Nameless One to their answers. To tell the story of the journey that ended all journeys. If all Avellone wanted to do was ask questions, then he should have begun the game earlier, as the Nameless One was going through his reincarnations, and had the player try to figure out what was happening to him, even if he didn't know, and whether there was any constants in his character through each incarnation (which would help to answer the key question, what can change the nature of a man, come the ending). He picked the wrong point in the story to be screwing around.
« Last Edit: May 15, 2009, 04:09:05 pm by Mr. Vega »
Words ought to be a little wild, for they are the assaults of thoughts on the unthinking.
-John Maynard Keynes

 

Offline Ransom

  • M. Night Russel
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And I've been trying to explain the conversation on more and more specific levels but I see I'm going to have to go through it line by line for you to see what I'm saying.
There's some kind of disconnect here. You're explaining the character's motivations and the reasons for why the scene played out like it did, yes? That's not what I'm disagreeing with, exactly. All that certainly does fit fine, and I don't have a problem with the event being a catalyst for Kian's later choices. What I disliked was not the scene itself, it was the writing of it. The execution, as I've been saying.

Simply put, I think the dialogue was poorly written. It made sense, yes! That's not enough. I don't know what else to say - I was not convinced by that exchange and many others. I believe there were less heavy-handed ways to handle that scene. By and large I felt that the writing did not trust the audience to work anything out for themselves, making the events seem more simplistic than perhaps they were.

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Tornquist can do that; Avellone for the most part can't.
Hmm. Well, now you're basically just saying 'I'm right and you're wrong, because this moved me and that didn't.' I can't really respond to this with anything other than I disagree. Dreamfall had none of the effect on me it had for you. I did not care that April was potentially dead. I found Zoe forgettable (and I mean that literally - I remember next to nothing about her, which is a bad sign). And we've covered my disinterest in Kian's character. I was not invested in the characters.

I'm not dismissing the effect Dreamfall clearly had on you. But I think it's important to remember things like emotional resonance in fiction tend to be frustratingly subjective. People are moved by different things. Fiction has to be examined on a more technical level than how a given person reacted to it or any discussion becomes useless.

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Except that Torment was, or should have been, about the ending of the journey. The vast majority of the Nameless's one's travels and experiences had already taken place before the beginning of the game. It was the game's chapter's job to bring the questions that were repeatedly asked throughout countless reincarnations of the Nameless One to their answers. To tell the story of the journey that ended all journeys. If all Avellone wanted to do was ask questions, then he should have begun the game earlier, as the Nameless One was going through his reincarnations, and had the player try to figure out what was happening to him, even if he didn't know, and whether there was any constants in his character through each incarnation (which would help to answer the key question, what can change the nature of a man, come the ending). He picked the wrong point in the story to be screwing around.
At this point I'm not sure this part of the discussion can go anywhere. I agree with just about everything you say here. The disagreement isn't whether Torment had or should have had a strong ending, it's whether the lack of one invalidates the entire narrative. You say yes, it does, because Torment was about the journey's end and therefore its failure to succeed there makes the whole affair a waste of time.

Did Torment fail to realise its potential? Perhaps. Does that make it a failure altogether? I do not think so. It is a grandly ambitious experiment. It tells a story unlike any other in the gaming industry. It's well-written, the world it adapts is fascinating, and the quandaries it explores are uniformly thought-provoking even if the primary question raised is never adequately answered. And if nothing else, it has some of the most original and compelling role-playing in the genre.

But it aimed high and missed. Well, never mind then.