I have recently finished Fable 3 after 15 hours of game play, am about 40 hours into Fallout New Vegas and I would like to talk briefly about the moral decisions in both. Morals are really beginning to play a major role in gaming these days, but is it actually being done well?
Now, when I say I have finished Fable 3, I mean I have finished the main plot line and not absolutely everything in the game; that would be completely insane in such a short amount of time. Away from the plot tough, morals don’t really play a huge part and does make you feel like at times you’re playing an RPG, but most of the time you’re playing a living and breathing Sims expansion.
I will admit right now that I did not enjoy Fable, nor did I enjoy Fable 2. I always liked the concept, but it never worked for me. The stories were dull and the combat just wasn’t enjoyable. Fable 3 is the only one I ever dedicated any time to and actually enjoyed. I was presented with some genuinely tough decisions throughout, and I really did feel bad for the citizens of Albion when I had to make the right decision, but it affected them in a negative way. In order to save people did I take money away from them in the interest of what was best for them, or did I make their lives comfortable and pour money into improvements to my Kingdom?
It was not an easy journey to make in terms of knowing what to do, but I did however feel that all of the options were exceptionally black and white. Lionhead had managed to paint a picture of what they believed to be good deeds and evil deeds and there was no happy medium. Morality is specific to each and every one of us, and it should not be dictated by a games developer. I can probably count one hand the amount of times I was allowed more than two choices, and that was more like real life. In real life you are not presented with only two options; one that will tarnish your reputation, and the other that will make you a glowing idol. In life we have to make compromises, reach the middle ground you might say.
New Vegas is a little bit different though. There is not really any strong sense of right or wrong in the main plotline and I have been juggling so many factions on so many moral levels that I have begun to lose count of who likes me, and who downright despises me. This is a better experience for me though. Blurring the lines of what is good and what is bad really does make for a unique playing experience, and makes each play through specific to the player. Sure, there are still occasions where you can either do the extremely good thing or just slaughter an entire town for your own cruel satisfaction, but there’s no fun in playing just good and bad. It’s more fun to mix it up a little bit. All the factions you must co operate with have their own merits but also downsides. You may think you are working for the right faction right up until the very end when they ask you to do something that you deem to be downright evil.
If you combine the merits of the morality systems from both Fable 3 and New Vegas, then I’m sure you would have a chart topper on your hands. F3 needs more variety in its moral choices, and FNV needs more consequences for your actions. F3 made me care about what I was doing, FNV simply made me think about whom I could get the most experience, guns and aid from.
I hope that morals continue to imbed themselves into our playing experiences, and also continue to improve. Not in every game of course though, I don’t need morals in Tekken or COD, but being allowed the chance to graft my own gaming experience is something I am beginning to enjoy more and more.