Friday, December 27, 2013

Ys: Memories of Crap Writing

I'm going to spoil the ending of Ys: Memories of Celceta. Trust me, it doesn't matter. There is nothing interesting about the plot.

The ending of YMOC is the same as Lord of the Rings. I don't mean that it is similar, I mean it is literally beat for beat identical. You have to destroy the one ring - er, the "sun mask" - in the fires of the hottest volcano. Climbing through fire and quake and goblins, you reach the top and are faced one last time by a member of your own kind, twisted and stretched thin by the dark powers of that you seek to destroy. Then you toss in the ring and the volcano explodes. You are rescued by eagles. Er... I mean "flying mecha".

Now, in the case of Lord of the Rings, the ending was... well, it wasn't the strongest ending ever, but at least it felt like the heroes were doing a task that needed doing.

The problem with YMOC's ending is that there is no reason to do any of it. See, you're tasked to climb the mountain and destroy the mask, and you are forced to accept. But the catch is that "Gandalf" is, in this case, a flying angelic creature. While you could theoretically see him being corrupted by the one ring - I mean the Sun Mask - it's already clear that the "dark" personality of our Gandalf-equivalent is driven solely by the desire to free humanity from his own tyrannical rule and force them to pioneer their own path. So even if he did go "dark", the destruction of the planet would be something he would also want to avoid, and he would be very happy to destroy the mask and claim freedom for humanity.

What, physically moving around a bit much for our crystal dragon Jesus? Well, his main sidekick is a perfectly human lady with a FLYING MECH. She's flown us around on it several times. She's incorruptible - we know because she's held the mask of the sun before and didn't suffer any qualms. And she literally has nothing else to do. She's just hanging around in the background.

Actually, after we're forced to accept the task, she flies up to us halfway up the volcano, kills a few goblins, and then's like "I'll cover the rear, here. Don't worry, if it gets dangerous, I can fly away!" Sigh... then she rescues us from falling into the caldera, so it's pretty damn clear she could have done this whole operation without endangering anyone. I guess Adol could have ridden with her, just for closure's sake.

But is it too much for her? How about the pixie that flies from one edge of the continent to the other dozens of times over the course of the game? No?

Well, we have two rangers on our team - heroes from deep forest villages, masters of stealth and speed. So we can rely on them to - what, they're staying behind to guard Crystal Dragon Jesus? WHY? They're perfectly suited to scrambling up a mountain and not at all suited to holding the line against an army of shadow-goblins. Instead, let's take the child, the hulking brute, and the refined lady in the evening gown. Those are definitely the ones more suited to scrambling up a mountain!

What I'm trying to say is that the ending sucked.

It's not very often that the ending of a game can completely ruin a game for me. Most games have pretty weak endings, and I've come to expect that. But when the ending requires dozens of people to simultaneously fail to notice that three of them can fly, that's pretty sad. It's on the same level as sacrificing yourself in Fallout 3, when you have radiation-proof party members that can do the same task completely without risk.

I don't think anyone is asking for perfection in writing, but this game looks like it took at least a million dollars to produce. Maybe spend one whole day thinking about the ending?

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