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Spoilers for the chapter where Jodie sneaks off the base (or doesn’t) in Beyond: Two Souls

Butch:

You got stopped before you got out to go party, didn’t you? You didn’t do ANY of that, did you? You had five unplayed paths, didn’t you? You probably didn’t even get to dress all punk and wound up all conservative and never did any of that cuz you got spotted, didn’t you?

You did, didn’t you?

Feminina:

Yup. That’s exactly what I did.

Siiiigh.

Butch:

Well, you want to know what you missed?

You missed some stuff.

No wonder you’re a million miles ahead of me in this game. You’re only playing 27% of it.

Wait….did you dress different? Did you have blue hair and a midriff baring top and lace gloves and ripped fishnets?

Cuz I did.

Feminina:

Yeah, sure. I mean, I’m not going to go back and play it again. Probably.

I mean, I guess I could. What are we doing after this? If there’s nothing waiting in the wings…

Butch:

Life is Strange? I could do that. Especially as we have that free thingy already waiting–Captain Awesome.

I dunno, how far past me are you? Are you, like, done? Cuz even my timeline is pretty full.

So last chance: Spoil or no?

And how WERE you dressed?

Feminina:

Oh, yeah, Life is Strange. I could do that. And the free thing.

I think I just dressed normally to go out, because I was sneaking with the possessed Cole and trying to look casual. I only got as far as the security gate.

I did notice that when Dawkins was forbidding me to go out he said “remember whoever’s birthday party?!”

And I was like, “hey, I behaved really circumspectly at that party! Nothing happened!”

I mean, I guess I was sad, but it’s not like it was a huge disaster where I gave away a bunch of DPA secrets and burned a house down. Are you implying I can’t handle some sadness, Dawkins? Because that party was in no way a good reason to keep me in now!

I think that comment would have made more sense if I’d caused a bit of trouble at the party. But that’s me, just staying out of trouble, and then failing even when I TRY to get into trouble.

Butch:

LiS has been on the list for some time. Nice and low key.

Oh, DUDE I was a punk emo goth chick.

Wow, he didn’t say anything like that to me. I was just all “I want to be like other girls” and he shouted “YOU’LL NEVER BE LIKE OTHER GIRLS!” and I got all mad.

Weird.

(Hint: You had to have possessed Cole speak. Then the guard thought he was sick and backed away. Or, if that isn’t what you fucked up, hide in the trunk of the car.)

A lot happened in that chapter. Like, a lot.

Basically, either we talk about it now and I spoil everything, or we devolve into derailment.

But your call.

Feminina:

On reflection, probably I won’t actually play it again. I had the experience I had with it, and even though I’m curious about unplayed paths and alternative outcomes, I think I’ll just stay with what I did.

Butch:

In that case…..

(Avert your eyes if you want to just save this for a couple weeks. I’mm’a spoil:)

So you sneak out. You use possessed Cole to drive you to a place near a seedy bar. (Somehow, possessed Cole can still drive, which struck me as odd. Does Aiden know how to drive? Or is Cole still in there somewhere with his knowledge?) Then Jody asks Aiden to walk Cole into the woods and “make sure he’s safe.” Jody gets to the bar to find her friends aren’t there. She goes in anyway. The bartender doesn’t believe she’s 21, and she orders a lemonade. Two guys playing pool leave (I got “Didn’t listen to the customers. Damn.). You can a) leave or b) play pool. I decided I wanted to be cool, so I played. I guy asks to play, too, and, even though I KNOW this is a bad idea, I said ok. I played, and played well, cuz QTEs, and then, almost too predictably (more on this in a second) the sleaze playing pool with Jody tries to rape her. Aiden, of course, goes nuts and starts breaking all sorts of shit until the men start to run. At this point you can a) let them leave or b) choke one to death. At THAT point you can a) let the other two leave or b) possess the bartender, who then grabs a shotgun. You then HAVE to hit R1 to kill the first, and HAVE to hit R1 to kill “yourself.”

Then Dawkins and Cole and the guard rush in, Jody’s all “I’m sorry, I’m so sorry” and Dawkins, oddly, is all “It’s ok…It’s ok…I understand.” Not “DUDE THREE DEAD GUYS!” No. “It’s ok…” like a young child had spilled milk by accident.

So that was one thing.

Another is that her friends never show up, so it’s unclear as to whether she was just early or her “friends” set her up to embarrass/risk herself.

It was telling that, once you possessed the bartender, you didn’t have a choice BUT to kill the living guy and “yourself.” And you HAD to hit R1 to do both. Gruesome. And that option only came about AFTER you killed the first guy.

But…..

The whole “young girl goes place young girl should not be and gets assaulted” trope bugged me. You could see it coming from eight miles away. I was hoping that there’d be a twist to it, like, Jody gets to fight some, or something, and it wouldn’t devolve into “damsel in distress, save her” but it went STRAIGHT to that. Jody didn’t get a single QTE of her own. Just boom, assault, on table, save her Aiden! This is exacerbated by the fact I’m thinking of Aiden as male for some reason, so it felt REALLY tropey and cheap.

But it did do the trick of having me, the player, want to kill the living fuck out of everyone, which I did, despite the multiple chances not to.

But what’s really odd is that you could see this coming from eight miles away and it still didn’t occur to me to leave. Like, Jody would have done this (would she have?) so I did. Is that ME being all tropey? Did this TRICK me into a trope or was it just a lazy use of trope?

And it wasn’t just me. Like, everyone picked the same things I did. Stay, fight, kill, kill again. Kill kill kill. Like, 91% of everyone who got there. Which…when you had that many chances NOT to kill kill kill……

So I can’t decide if it was lazy/tropey/annoying, or good game “So why did you do that, hmmmmmmm?” game design. Can it be both?

See what you’re missing, here?

Feminina:

Hm. I do see what I’m missing. More chances to be destructive. Once again, a lot of people are probably a lot happier because I failed to get out and wreck stuff.

Hm.

But yeah, I see what you’re meaning about the trope. What would have been a cool twist on the young-girl-shouldn’t-be-there-gets-assaulted trope, would be if the guy just congratulated her on her awesome pool skills and left her alone.

Can you even imagine? And, yeah, that doesn’t fit into the larger narrative as well, because “I snuck out and everything turned out great” is a less interesting story than “I snuck out and disastrous stuff happened.”

I mean, disaster just IS a more exciting story than “everything is fine.” But that would actually have been interesting, because you’d be seeing the trope coming from eight miles away, you’d be all keyed up and anxious the entire time, and then nothing would happen, and it would be an interesting counterpart to the garage earlier where you’re all tense and anxious just waiting for something to happen, and…it does, or doesn’t, it’s hard to say, but in any case the terror is more in the anticipation than the reality.

And, to go back to giving them credit, maybe they intended this to be a counterpart, like, “entities are scary but it turns out they’re not as scary as HUMAN EVIL” (see also: the guys beating up Stan and setting the building on fire in the Homeless chapter).

Hm.

Oh, and dude, you don’t think of Aiden as male “for some reason,” you think of him as male because that’s how Jodie thinks of and refers to him. She’s called him “him” from the beginning.

I did wonder how she knows that, whether she just assigned him a gender, if he’s the ghost of someone who was in fact male, etc., but calling Aiden “him” is thoroughly supported in the text.

Butch:

Oh is it? I can only remember her saying “Aiden.”

Ok, I don’t feel so bad.

And well, certainly people were more alive in your game. But these were “bad guys,” not just poor Kevins.

But…something. Let her fight them off. Have Aiden get angry BEFORE anything happened. Something! Have one of them try to help but have Aiden kill him anyway. Something! But, as it was, there was an extended sequence with you as Aiden fighting away while Jody just curled up on the table and cried. Which… isn’t a twist.

And there were such parallels with the garage scene! Cuz so much of it started mundane. You open the door. You walk to a table. You sit. You drink a lemonade. All things you had to do with dots and stuff. Mundane. But then the end was predictable.

And one SERIOUS mistake they made was showing the “monsters” in this scene early. In the garage, you don’t see anything. In this, as soon as she walks into the bar, these two dudes (soon to be dead dudes) leer at her, and you’re all “Yup. And there are the dudes that are going to be sleazy then dead.” Really raising tension relies on the unknown, not knowing exactly what’s coming. This? “Oh, yeah. There’s the guys.”

And see also the player. Those unplayed paths were basically “Stayed in the bar/unplayed.” “Choked an assailant to death/unplayed.” “Killed all assailants/unplayed.”

So SOME of the human evil was the fact that I pretty much chose to kill the fuck out of everyone. And yes, bad guys, all that, but they were RUNNING when I chased them down and killed the hell out of them. It had serious overtones of the doctors at the end of the last of us. Killing dudes who may have been bad, but who weren’t a threat and were begging.

Ooo! On that! One of the guys, when terrified, says “It’s a spirit COME TO PUNISH US FOR OUR SINS” (emphasis mine.) Hm.

Hm, indeed. I really can’t decide if this chapter was great or terrible.

Feminina:

It is very interesting that you had a lot of opportunities to leave, and chose not to, and that’s why everyone is dead.

Although this also becomes a bit victim-blamey, doesn’t it? Why is it on her to prevent violence by not being in a place she “shouldn’t have been” (i.e., a public place some sleazy guys happened to be)?

I guess we could argue she knows Aiden tends to get violent and so she’s responsible for keeping HIM under control, which works (-ish) if we assume he’s like a dog and not morally responsible for his actions, but is problematic if we assume he has human or near-human intelligence, because if that’s the case, it was HIS choice to kill, not hers.

It’s especially odd, as you say, that you-as-Aiden had no choice about that…that kind of leans me towards the “Aiden is like a big dangerous dog” theory. Once his fighting instinct kicks in, he literally cannot control himself.

Which, if true, means that it IS kind of her fault for taking him out in situations where that fighting instinct will be roused, though you have to feel for her, just wanting to be ‘normal’ for 20 minutes.

On which, the chapter title, Like Other Girls or whatever it was, is also interesting here. Because…it’s just what all normal girls do, getting assaulted in bars, right? Way to normalize rape culture, game. Ha.

Anyway. I guess I’ll stick with my non-traumatic failed escape. And let some sleazy guys continue to walk the streets and attack other girls! Yay!

There’s not a good call here.

Butch:

Well, only one chance to leave before the badness. You could’ve just not played pool. But you DID have a lot of chances to leave without killing folks AFTER the badness happened. You could have easily have scared off her attackers, let then run away, then ended the chapter. You had multiple opportunities for that. So it isn’t just “You could have left many times, and you didn’t.” It was “Ok, you could have left, but even after you didn’t you got and stayed bloodthirsty.” And so did over 90% of everyone else.

Well…..Aiden didn’t get “violent” per se. The whole first part, once the attack happens, is Aiden just chucking tables around and tearing down dart boards and spilling drinks. It’s only after the bad guys RUN that you get a chance to get really violent, which is an interesting twist. So yes, you didn’t have a choice, as Aiden, to just sit there, but you COULD have just spilled some drinks and broken a radio and knocked over a vending machine and let them run away. He COULD control himself, or we, the player, could control him. I chose not to. I could have hit triangle and watched the baddies run away.

So who’s fault is all that? Mostly mine, not Jody’s or Aiden’s.

I think the title was being rather..ironic. In that hipster way.

Because she obviously had no earthly idea what she was doing. Indeed, the whole vibe is that she didn’t want to be there at all. She was uncomfortable, she was scared, etc. She was only doing it because she wanted to be with her “friends” who said it would be “fun.” And it’s left very open as to whether her “friends” knew full well that it would NOT be fun, that she would be uncomfortable or worse, and that they’re continuing to laugh at the naive freak like they did at the party.

So when Dawkins is all “You’ll never be like other girls,” sure, it’s cuz she has Aiden, but also it may well mean that she’s better. That she’s not the kind of person that would mock people, or stick them under the stairs, or tell them to go to a seedy bar so they’d either make a fool out themselves or get raped all for their own cruel amusement.

Cuz the whole “I’m sorry….” “It’s ok…” dynamic at the end…could be awful “I’m sorry I incited all this by daring to be female” ickiness, but it could be “I’m sorry I tried to be like them because they’re so awful.”

But then again, is a story where there’s exactly one likable woman progressive?

Of course, there’s exactly one likable person….

Still can’t tell how I feel about this chapter.

But my sleazy guys are very, very dead.

Feminina:

Ah, I see. So it really was YOUR call, not either of the characters.

Well, I’m willing to accept that you’re to blame for the murder and destruction. Sounds about right.

Now I’m kind of curious what I would have done if I’d made it that far, but there’s no point doing it now.

Another interesting thing here is the contrast between the view of ‘ordinary humanity’ that we get here, compared to the recent Homeless chapter.

Perhaps, again, an intentional contrast…people are horrible, but also sometimes they’re not. A study in contrasts. Humans are just as confusing and dangerous as the entities. Etc.

Butch:

Yeah, if you’re not in the moment, I don’t think it would work. And the moment has passed.