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A not unexpected journey

  • nhubi
  • 04/15/2015 07:03 AM
  • 1272 views
The Journey is a practical demonstration of Godwin's Law within the framework of a game, rather than an online forum. I suppose the comparison is that the longer an online gaming community exists the probability of a game about Hitler and/or Nazi's approaches 1. There is probably more than one out there, but this is the first I have run across. Controversy is all well and good and I suppose there is something to be said for the fact that the atrocities perpetrated during Hitler's reign are far enough in our past now that we can make parodies of them, to treat the regime and its adherents with the derision they deserve via the medium of an Indie game project. But I will admit to feeling just a little trepidation in playing this game. I suppose some of that comes from the fact that there is nothing in the game which actually makes the inclusion of Hitler and Nazis necessary, any generic bad guys could have filled the role adequately and provided the impetus for the hero Ralph, yes Ralph, to go on his epic quest to defeat the dictator and decide the fate of the world.

I think it's also the fact that Nazis are such a convenient shorthand for evil, you don't need to provide a back story, just say 'Nazi' and the image of jackbooted thugs stomping down on the skulls of any they considered to be inferior comes immediately to mind, and the predictable rage that induces follows soon after. If you'd introduced some other form of big bad, you'd have to explain and give some type of back story to justify both the actions of the protagonists and antagonists, to flesh out the world and the atmosphere in which these characters move, with Nazis it's a given.

Still that apprehension aside what does the game offer to the player? Unfortunately not a great deal. After what can only be described as a 'what the hell was that?' title sequence, we lead straight into the action. The opening premise is a tired one, potential hero's village destroyed by ravaging evil troops for no apparent reason sets him on a quest for revenge/retribution/justice (pick which one works for your particular ideology).


Well, yes, they're Nazis. Also why are you Greenhair when your sprite is blonde?

Once that is set up the remainder of the game is peppered with a series of generic ethnic stereotypes, because we all know that no-one with a Germanic origin can pronounce 'th', rampant gratuitous profanity and some definitely inappropriate within context insults, referring to a puzzle as 'f'ing gay' in a game about a enemy that sent homosexuals to death camps pushes the bad taste meter to 11. Oddly enough I believe that may have been the response the developer was looking for, in which case they succeeded admirably at least with this player.

The problem is in amongst all this reliance on cultural shortcuts there are a few satirical gems, referring to the Church as the Chruch may be a spelling error, but it could as easily be a semi-homophone for crutch, which is also culturally insensitive, but if it was intentional is actually clever with it. Though unfortunately the number of spelling errors far outweighs any possibly satirical benefit from them, they are everywhere, and in truth I believe I am giving the developer too much credit in assuming it was intended.

You traverse this oddly mismatched world meeting and being helped by like-minded individuals, well, paper thin archetypes actually, who aid you in direction and puzzle solving on your way to your confrontation with Hitler and his goons. Though the inclusion of Yugi Muto (sorry I mean Don Green the man who voice acts the character) is baffling. However since the game is dominated with Yu-Gi-Oh references perhaps I should not be as bewildered as I am.

The combat is the standard turn based (not something I have an issue with at any time) but without any customisation or indeed much in the way of balance. So it becomes a simple boring button mash. Though the run in with the 10 level jump Dragon was handy, if also completely ridiculous. But then again, completely ridiculous would be an appropriate subtitle for this game


Dan, that's not an igloo.

This world is incredibly linear; there are no side quests, no deviation from the path, no explanation for a good two thirds of the decisions made by the main character, or indeed any of the other characters that suddenly and inexplicably join you for the final leg in the quest. It could be that this is an attempt by the developer to shine a light on the well worn tropes of the genre, but given the complete lack of subtly or subtext in any of the preceding sections of the game, I doubt this is the case.

Trudging through the frozen tundra we finally reach the castle of the Hitler Brothers, yes there are two, but that doesn't last. After some out of place soul searching, a run in with Tom Bombadil, complete with The Tolkien Ensemble rendition of his song, a smattering of ageism, an explosive sheep, some of the most irritating puzzles I've ever experienced and some quite bleak torture and reprogramming references we finally face up to Hitler and one of the most interminably long and boring boss fights to which I have ever been subjected.

In the end this game is simply not good, and not just in the lazy use of Nazis as the enemy and the contempt posing as humour, but in the lack of balance, the bland use of the RTP, the uninteresting repetitive battles and the cookie-cutter plot. If you feel like being either marginally or monumentally offended, depending on your response to the content of the game then give this a go to vent some outrage for which you may not have a more socially acceptable channel, otherwise pass it by. I almost wish I had.

Posts

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I think ill try this and see if it's as grotesque as here described.
nhubi
Liberté, égalité, fraternité
11099
I would say please do, as other opinions are always welcome, but I think you may find it a waste of time. Still it is your time to waste as you see fit.
Thank you for reviewing the game Ekhazar and I made I really liked your review.
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