I think they're a good idea overall, but man. I'm playing Shin Megami Tensai Devil Survivor on DS at the moment and basically the way it works is throughout the game you can sort of build relationships with people and do events and such and then at the end, based on what you have done, you have various options for which paths you can take. So I have three vastly different paths open to me and I really, really have no idea which to choose. Unfortunately it is set up with only a single save slot and a forced save after choosing as well, so simply put... I can only choose one.
Basically I'm worried that I will get a lame ending when some kickass one might exist.
Another problem is I feel like if I choose one, all the relationships and everything I built up to have the other choices available were pointless. Huh.
This all seems like one huge metaphor for life. Except somehow I make major life decisions such as going back to grad school with less thought than I'm putting into this video game... ha ha.
Well, you can always GameFAQ or YouTube the other endings.
It's an interesting mechanic. I like it better with games that are more like interactive stories, like Shadow of Destiny (and Heavy Rain, supposedly). It hearkens back to my childhood love of Choose-Your-Own-Adventure stories.
I don't know if I like it in normal-length (or longer), 'gamey' games, though. The more branches and endings you have, the less care and detail goes into each. Way of the Samurai had a very interesting approach. There were tons of branching paths, but each playthrough was only an hour or two long. I haven't played that series enough to say how it works out, but it's a very cool idea.
Starfox Command also did something like that, which was executed pretty well (along with the randomization and added elements on subsequent playthroughs). That game is pretty neat, from a design standpoint. Very progressive, in a lot of ways. I wish more people supported that kind of progressive thinking, instead of going, "WTF!! This isn't StarFox 64!! Nintendo is a shadow of their former self!!" Longtime gamers are largely to blame for the lack of bold innovation in the industry, the kind that doesn't just boil down to "Look! You can modify your guns now!!"
Back on topic, can you have multiple endings without diluting the power and integrity of your story? Look at the DVD release of 28 Days Later. It's very interesting to have the alternate endings, but does it kind of blunt the impact of the movie, being able to choose whatever version of reality you prefer? Some Japanese stuff does this, as well. Alternate endings for people who were dismayed by the 'real' ending. It's an interesting approach, but it seems to diminish that sense of authorial... authority.
I only like this kind of thing when the game's short enough that I'll want to replay the game over and over again.
And I know you've expressed doubts about the game before, but Heavy Rain just might pull the multiple ending thing off beautifully. Everything you do affects not only the ending, but the rest of the game, and it seems to be short enough that you won't mind going through it more than once.
BTW, we all happen to be here because the IGN boards are fucking up, right?
Haha, they are pretty messed up. I don't care, except I want to continue discussing Batman!!
(The character and history, more than the game.)
I've realized that it's kind of stifling to just discuss video games all of the time. How many times can you have the same conversations? I think I'm in danger of becoming less well-rounded. That's what's nice about the internet. You can find people to discuss anything. You don't have to draw from your small pool of local friends. On the other hand, finding virtual people to discuss things with whom you actually LIKE is a hell of a lot harder.
I've never gotten into comics as much as I could have. Growing up as a francophone in a small Quebec town certainly limited my exposure to several nerdy hobbies like American comics, Star Trek or D&D. The barrier for getting into video games was significantly lower, in terms of accessibility and language.
As far as comics go, I did try to get into graphic novels a few years ago, but I'm afraid of long-term commitment, so I'll never, ever buy single issues. I don't have the money, the space or the time for them. I've thoroughly enjoyed stuff like Watchmen, Swamp Thing, The Sandman, Transmetropolitan and Planetary, but only because I knew going in that they would have a conclusion. I'm also afraid of buying stinkers, because comic books are so costly, and then I can't get rid of them easily.
I've gotten a few great Superman books, like Red Son, Superman for all Seasons and one other whose title escapes me for the moment. Batman, though... every time I've asked for recommendations, no one seems to agree except on The Dark Knight Returns, the only Batman book I got...
I'm probably the only one thinking of the Hall and Oates song Heavy Rain right now, right?
Some Batman recommendations: Knight Fall, the first graphic novel (you'll of course want to read the second one after reading the first, but it doesn't live up), The Killing Joke (since you like Watchmen), The Long Halloween, The Laughing Fish
Really, if you ask me, the best Batman is the Animated Series. The first season on DVD is cheap on Amazon, or it was and it's really amazing.
Oh and I'm in Belgium right now and was in France the last few days and I remember absolutely nothing of my one year of French in high school. Tough language.
Well, graphic novels are definitely the way to go these days, since most comics consist of arcs that are written for serialization. Plus, you can get a more convenient, better quality product for less money.
I don't know if everyone would appreciate the comic book medium, but I really like the balance it strikes between novels and movies.
Anyway, as far as Batman, JSlakov recommended some of the darker stuff (to which I would add Batman: Year One), which your taste seems to indicate that you'd enjoy. If you want some slightly less grim'n'gritty Batman stories, I would recommend checking out Batman The Animated Series, Batman Beyond, The Batman Adventures (the first comic series based on BTAS), 10 Nights of the Beast, Son of the Demon, the first 40-50 issues of Robin, the late 600s of Detective Comics, maybe the early issues of Nightwing... and various other stories and One-Shots.
Really, you can just hit a library, grab some collections, and see what trips your trigger.
Another comic series you might enjoy is Y The Last Man, a series about a plague that wipes out every male on the Earth except for one dude and his monkey. Really good stuff. Daredevil: Born Again is pretty amazing. The first couple of collections of Ultimate Spider-Man are good (and the early Stan Lee stuff is great). And the Justice League International is comic gold.
Yeah, I'll try to hit the library. I always assume they won't have American comics, not sure why.
I do own all of the Batman TAS DVDs, actually. I'll try to find a way and rent the Justice League and Batman Beyond stuff as well.
I've looked at the first collection of Y The Last Man, it does seem pretty cool. Again the only thing that prevented me from giving it a shot was the commitment involved. I just hate the idea of having to buy a dozen books at $15 a pop to get a full story.
I don't have a problem with it per-say, but like Pandareus stated, I'd prefer it to be shorter or for the endings to not require a full playthrough to get again.
Perfect examples of this, I think, are Chrono Trigger and Disgaea 2: in Chrono you can beat the game pretty much immediately on your second playthough so long as your levels are high enough, and in Disgaea 2 there's a slew of endings you can buy/activate during the story by completing certain requirements or passing bills in the senate for them.
I hate it when you have to go through the ENTIRE game again and make one or two different choices to get it. (-__- ' )
Pandareus: Year One, The Long Halloween, Dark Victory, False Faces, and the first two volumes of Batman|Superman (Public Enemies, Supergirl) are all really damn good. And for Superman books, Birthright is right up there with Superman For All Seasons.
As for multiple endings, I'm all for it in RPGs, especially ones that emphasize choice and let it have a lot of different results. I'm on my 4th playthrough of Mass Effect and still seeing things that the game had never thrown at me before. Games like Dragon Age - that not only offer multiple endings but totally different beginnings depending on your character class - are right up my alley. I'll totally replay 30+ hours if I can see enough variety, and having a HUGE effect on the ending is a great payoff to putting that much time into a game.
Not saying I want it in all games though. Not all developers have the talent to keep a diverging narrative decent. Hell, most have problems with a completely linear one.
I'll check out those Batman comics. Thanks for the recommendations.
Hmm, I did read Superman: Birthright and pretty much hated it. I don't remember it all that well, I think it had some cool stuff but I hated the art and didn't like the whole Clark Kent being completely ostracized at work thing. Just didn't work for me.
I just remembered the title of the Superman comic that's not really a Superman comic that I liked: Secret Identity. Very good stuff. I also loved, LOVED the first volume of Superman All Star. Talk about going against the grain: people complain Superman is too stong? Let's make him even stronger! Faster! Smarter! And let's have tons of fun with it. I gotta pick up vol. 2.
Well, this thread kinda derailed into Batman chatter (which is all good with me, I dig Batman) but.... um, "on topic", I have to say as a fan of CHRONO TRIGGER, I really like games with multiple endings. But if a game is going to have multiple endings, then you should be able to play the game through again after beating it (think New Game+) so you can see the other endings. If you can't do that, then.... well, that's just lame.
As for Batman, The Animated Series is probably the best version of Batman that was ever on TV. I did enjoy "The Batman" that was on Saturday mornings recently, but it just wasn't the same. Not that it was trying to be - it was a cool twist on the franchise. Still, nothing tops the show from the mid-to-late '90s.
I loved the original Fox TV series as well, it was damn-near perfect in my eyes. You could see the TLC they put into that series, from the casting to the animation to the art quality... not to overrate it or anything, but hands-down I think it is still the best animated television series to ever have been produced, bar none.
I liked "The Batman" as well, and honestly hoped it would run for a couple more seasons. But the 4-5 seasons it did have were awesome as-is.
On topic - New Game + is exactly what I was thinking of, Grant.
I never really got into "The Batman", but I only watched a couple of eps.
You know what's pretty awesome is the new Spectacular Spider-Man cartoon. Really well-done, similar to BTAS (except more character-based, like the classic Marvel/DC comparison) and from the creator of Gargoyles.
anandxxx: Spectacular Spider-Man is supremely well done. Character design is all done by one of my favorite contemporary artists, Cheeks.
X-pert74: Yup, totally worth is. :)
If you ever get around to playing Disgaea 2, do your best to not get the worst ending (actually you have to go out of your way to get it). It's both sad and.. disturbing, so much so that it's actually edited in the US dub... (o_O )
Oh God I LOVE Spectacular Spider-man. I think it actually captures the character better than any of the films, and the action is just awesome. Can't wait till Season 2 hits DVD.
And much as I like Batman: TAS, I think it might have peaked with Mask of the Phantasm - not the stuff they did post 1993 is bad (it's awesome), I just think MotP is about the perfect animated version of the character. But I love all the Bruce Timm/ DCAU stuff. Hell, the Justice League/JLU version of Batman is ridiculously cool. But I think the team actually might have done even better work in their final episodes of the Superman: TAS show. Legacy is just POWERFUL.
Speaking of which, any fans of Batman, animated or otherwise, should keep their eyes peeled for the DVD film version of Batman|Superman: Public Enemies. Not only is it an animated film from Bruce Timm and co., but it's also recasting Kevin Conroy and Tim Daly (and even Clancy Brown) as their roles from the original Batman/Superman Animated Series runs. I'm not sure how well the art style will translate into motion, but so far it looks like a seriously kick-ass team-up action-thriller.
"Hmm, I did read Superman: Birthright and pretty much hated it. I don't remember it all that well, I think it had some cool stuff but I hated the art and didn't like the whole Clark Kent being completely ostracized at work thing. Just didn't work for me."
I can understand that. I loved the focus on Clark as a character though (too many comics, and ESPECIALLY the movies leave that element in the dust), and I dug the relationship it created with Young Clark and Young Lex. Not to mention there are just so many supremely cool iconic images in that book.
But yeah, Grant Morrison's All Star Supes is brilliant. Not to mention just FUN.