Thy Rod And Thy Staff
When you think about it, Dragon Age: Inquisition is essentially Sexual Harassment: The RPG. Because the press dedicated to this medium hovers somewhere south of TMZ in terms of rigor, they’ve primarily been trading in the salacious sex the game offers. Usually they busy themselves by telling me that this or that sex is bad. But this kind of sex is rad because it’s a sex they approve of, even though it has all the hallmarks of some really weird shit they don’t have the IQ to perceive.
If you want to talk about power differentials, aside from the fact that I employ all these people, I’m also a six-and-a-half-foot tall Qunari warlock dominatrix who is also Jesus. I try to be cool about it. I stopped flirting with Scout Harding because I was asking her to do incredibly hard shit deep in the asshole of the Orlesian wilderness and then apparently her reward, once she’d had the snakes surgically removed, was to be leered at by a gigantic horned lesbian. That’s down to the writers. They’ve made characters I want to think well of me. That might be stranger even than the phantom scents I was talking about before.
Morak Quorhalla just wrote about Tales from the Borderlands, among other things, and I want to also. The last few episodes of The Walking Dead: Season Two were process of attenuation from what made the first season so incredible. Going home is something you aren’t supposed to be able to do, even though it happens on occasion - Bayonetta 2 is probably the most recent example - but Season Two is not one of the noble exemplars. We came back to Clem too soon; they didn’t give her a chance to grow. They ended this game where they should have started it. I understand why they did it, and I was excited for all the same reasons, but there are best laid plans and there are mice and men and they are all arranged in a recognized framework.
In any case, Tales from the Borderlands is that inventive spirit back from wherever it went. And it must have been on vacation, because it came back loaded for bear. With Bioshock, people often complained that they wanted a chance to just be there without the constant threats. They may never have that opportunity. But Pandora is way, way bigger than what the games are built to achieve, conceptually and even mechanically, and this game proves some of that tough ground.