5 Times RPG's Tricked Us Into Becoming Monsters
You’re a good person, right? You’d help a teeny, frail grandma across a busy street, totally. You’d nurture a wounded doe back to health, for sure. You’d not kill an entire race of hyper intelligent singing space monsters just because they kinda resemble spiders… or would you? RPG’s sometimes let us live out our wildest fantasies, but other times, they force us to plunge deep into morally blood-soaked and despicable territory. Spoilies! (A cute word for spoilers.)
The Witcher 3’s The Whispering Hillock
Will you forgive the Baron? Should Ciri assume the throne? Triss or Jennifer? The Witcher 3 is brimming with morally complex choices where the “right” answer may not even exist. Geralt swaggers and mutters his way through the Continent doing what he was genetically altered to do: kill all the damn monsters. But when a village complains about a spirit causing trouble, the White Wolf is forced to become a monster himself. The spirit is imprisoned in a tree, and though it’s got a pretty creepy voice, any witcher knows things aren’t always as they appear.
But this is dark, Polish fantasy we’re talking about. If you free the spirit, a group of (honestly pretty annoying) orphans is saved. But you have to kill a horse. Oh, and also that same village that complained? They get wiped out. So you don’t free the spirit. Uh oh… the orphans die. Geralt’s really living up to the Butcher of Blaviken moniker.
GTA 5’s Unintentional Vehicular Manslaughter
Grand Theft Auto makes no effort to hide it’s gleeful murder spree simulator reputation. But even bad guys have boundaries. The main characters probably don’t want to mow down every pedestrian they see. (Ok, maybe Travis does.) But no matter how warm hearted a gangster or slick a driver you are, that pedestrian AI is gonna make sure you have a wanted level every once in a while. Your zipping along in your newest stolen ride, just trying to have a pleasant Sunday listening to the radio while you head to your favorite strip club, then BAM, you’ve hit 2 people who appeared seemingly out of nowhere. As diligent as the Los Santos cops are about chasing you down during a mission, they should be out there handing out more jaywalking tickets.
Bioshock’s Little Sister Harvesting
A genetically altered child implanted with a symbiotic sea slug who are then forced to go around gathering corpse material should probably be put out of their misery right? Especially if after they’re stolen from their families their only protectors are *checks notes* uh, Big Daddies. Oh snap, you can actually save them? Oh I’m definitely going to do that… yup, definitely going to start saving them. Ok maybe just one more upgrade on this plasmid. Ok ONE more then I’m done. This is definitely the last one I mean it… Before you know it, your plasmids are powered up and you got the worst ending in the game. C’mon, admit it you monster.
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey’s Early Quest and Then The Whole Entire Game
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey
Stumbling through the remains of a burnt and smoking village, you come across a family, pleading for their lives. Do you do what any hero would and dispatch the soldiers to save them? This is Assassin’s Creed so you know by the time you’ve finished even a handful of side quests you’ll have Spartan Kicked hundreds of soldiers to death anyways. Oops, think again chump, by saving that family you released a deadly plague that turns the region to ruins.
Odyssey doesn’t just turn you into a monster, it turns you into a traitor as well. The war between Athens and Sparta rages hot, and so my misthios, does your battle lust. The game rewards you for killing soldiers from both sides, the plot drives you to prolong a war that sweeps the ancient world into the trash bin of slaughter. Any claim to being a hero or moral high ground of saving one NPC in a quest is totally undone knowing you’ve orphaned half of Greece. Even for an Assassin’s Creed game, this one sure does make you kill a lot. But hey, the Creed says everything is permitted right?
Mass Effect’s Genocides
Shepard has plenty of chances to redeem or damn themselves on their adventuring amongst the stars. But they’re also given the opportunity to condemn or save entire species. A core narrative throughout the games is the presence of the Genophage, a bioweapon used to make the fast breeding and war-like Krogan almost entirely sterile. The game makes a strong case for letting the Krogan die off, leaving plenty of players with that icky feeling that only comes from signing the death warrant for an entire sentient species.
The Rachni are a similar story, they threatened the Citadel powers and were eradicated. But after stumbling across a big ass mommy one, Shepard has the chance to set her free to repopulate the species or to grab a can of galactic Raid and wipe them out. Mass Effect leaves your hands bloodied and your conscience in turmoil. The brutality of war laid bare on an interstellar scale.
Need a palette cleanser? How about an Ode To Chonky Gaming Trucks or this steamy piece about Eggman from Sonic? Or a heartwarming tale about connecting with your dad through Dragon’s Age? Happy reading monsters.