Wednesday, 18 January 2012

I'm going to commit heresy

I never liked the way the plot resolves in Baldur's Gate 2.

(Spoilers for a very old game obviously)

I don't mean the *very* end bit, with the soul-hell-struggle and all. I mean the part that comes before it, in the elven city.

I always felt... both surprised and disappointed to discover that the puffed up overdramatic dude with the ridiculous name (Who thought "JON IRENICUS" sounded cool? It sounds about as cool as LORD VOLDEMORT, and gives the same impression of childishness on the part of its creator. If he'd only been called Irenicus that's a perfectly good fantasy villain name. Sticking John in front makes him sound like someone's pet self-insert.) was, in fact, an elf. Ex-elf. And pissy about it.

There's a lot of potential in that idea. He's so unlike what we *expect* from an elf, it could open the door for discussion about fantastic racism, elf stereotypes, and what happens when you're an elf who doesn't love dancing around trees all day. Instead it's just thrown in there. "Oh yeah, him and Bodhi, they were elves once. Isn't that awful?"

The biggest problem with this is that all of a sudden, as we near the climax, it depersonalises the story. All throughout, we've had Our Nemesis who did horrible things to us and Imoen, who was really fixated on us, who captured and tortured our friends and killed several of them before the game even started, all in favor of his mad scheme to get our power. Now all of a sudden it seems like this was totally unimportant - he was an elf, he tried some elfy magic thing to become a god and couldn't pull it off, he was banished, he found us and ate our soul for... reasons that suddenly make a lot less sense because he immediately went back to his original plan of trying to do this elfy magic thing and we have to stop him.

That's not a terrible element for drama either - reminding the villain that you ARE actually important so SCREW YOU is a perfectly good thing to play with. But it feels like the game suddenly wants to focus on "OH JON HOW COULD YOU BETRAY YOUR PEOPLE AND OUR LOVE???" (the bit that I really, really hate because it seems so completely out of the blue and makes the elf queen look like a total idiot) ... playing up this drama between elven characters that we don't know and don't care about.

I'm sorry. I find the whole elf section lame.

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