Jumping on the Criticisms Bandwagon


#1

Since this category dates from 2014, and since I believe the original series is finished, normally I’d have enough sense not to add another topic about it.

However, I recently purchased the first installment of Heroes Rise, and it was so utterly disappointing that I figured I’d add another rant. Bear with me, because this is one of very few CoGs that I feel was a waste of money.

Issues:

-The PC’s powers. I would’ve liked to see some variety, rather than being restricted to flight and energy blasts. I realize that this would’ve made the story a lot more involved, but it’s been done successfully in the Hosted Game ‘Best of Us,’ so I don’t see why it couldn’t have been done here. As it is, the character’s moveset seems a bit like Every Comic-Book Ever (fly around and shoot people with some nebulous kind of energy), and is accordingly uninteresting.

-The storyline. As some others have pointed out, Installment 1 sets you up as a hero, but you never get a chance to feel like one. Successfully track the thief of the MacGuffin? Whoops–the mission goes south and you get blamed for everything.
Fair enough; the Victons are powerful and well-connected and want to ruin you. But then you go on to your next assignment–dealing with a simple gangland fight–and you screw it up as well, and need to get your bacon saved by a prickly sidekick. You spend the story lurching from failure to failure, the Victons top it off by promising to ruin you, and by the end your self-esteem is squashed like a pancake.

[For more, see @Apillis’ excellent post: Will there ever be a sequel?]

-The characters, the PC included, tend to be as flat as a board. There are a few exceptions to this. The Victons were a pleasure to hate, and if I had the money to waste, I’d buy the rest of the series just to kill Judge/Mayor/President Victon. And I rather admire Prodigal’s cunning and filial piety, although the fact that you can romance her is mind-boggling (I mean, would you want to bring a genocidal revenge-seeker home to mama?).

Jenny and Grandma were vaguely sympathetic, but it’s hard to actually feel attached to them. I would’ve gladly thrown them under a bus in exchange for revenge on the Victons, which either means that they’re badly written or that I need therapy. The PC’s emotions are limited to a few relatively conventional reactions–for instance, you can resent the police enough to not work with them, but not enough to break under the pressure and go on an anarchic, villainous rampage.

But the worst was Black Magic, who was so utterly uninteresting (all we know about her is that she’s pretty, vaguely manipulative, and has a Tragic Backstory) that I ended up having a little fun with her character creator.The only fun I ever had with this story was when it solemnly informed me that Black Magic, and I quote, “is a dead ringer for my ass.”


Community College Hero (for all post-release feedback)
Writing Superpowers
#2

I have already expressed how railroad I found the game after replay for first time. But even if that’s true . The author added several improvements Like The option to say no way to Black Magic and flirt with Jen.

It is great writing even if there is no many choices freedom. The following games gain in powers and options. Last one is very satisfying. So If I were you I bought the entire trilogy.

But my advice is don’t buy The Redemption new series. Is far more railroad and is more focused in propaganda of social issues that in being a super hero


#3

I already chose not to romance Black Magic, which didn’t make the story any more enjoyable.

In some ways, yes. There aren’t any massive textblocks or glaring grammatical errors or unusually abrupt endings or snapped plot-threads, and the writing style is decent (if unremarkable). But a lot of what makes a story good, I think, is its plotline and characters, and those were botched.

You’re probably right about that. I’ve heard good things about the last one in particular, and the preview of No.3 looked promising. But as a gainfully unemployed ex-student, I’m just not wealthy enough to give this series a second chance. Maybe someday, but not anytime soon.
,


#4

Well The games are on steam and they do sales. You could buy games back then.


#5

I’m not going to talk about the other parts, but I am going to complain about this one. If you’re trying to write superpowers, you’re going to have a very wide pool to choose from, and not all of them will work together. As a simple example, flying alone will immensely change how the plot can work. Consequently, a writer will either have to give the readers only a very narrow choice of powers (or, more usually only a single power), or they’ll have to basically make the choice of powers completely arbitrary (I played Best of Us back when it was a WIP, and I can’t recall any time your powers actually changed the story). Or I guess you could try to write every possible power with a different, fitting plot for each… but I don’t think any author would be able to finish that.

I guess one way you could do it is to begin with a single power, and slightly diversify it over time, or (as CCH is doing), start with no power, then have several future options as to what to do about that (fight with your brains/fight with gadgets/try to get your own superpower).


#6

I didn’t mind the chosen power set, but the complete lack of imagination on the part of the MC made me crazy. You discover you control atoms and gravity and you continue to just fly around and shoot energy beams like you always have? Anyone who tried to fight the MC should have been subjected to immediate G-LOC. If you wanted to play an evil MC, you could hold cities hostage with the threat of nuclear devastation.

But no, instead we decide to go toe to toe with heroes with strength powers. :rolling_eyes:


#7

Fair enough. But let’s say, for the sake of argument, that our hero is limited to one type of movement(flight) and one type of attack (energy blasts).

There’s still room, I think, for cosmetic variations within these categories. Does the hero fly by channeling his energy, or by using some sort of specialized glider–or, heck, a jetpack/rocket boots/other techie transport? Telekinetic ‘energy’ powers are a wide category–does the hero wield sound waves, ghost powers, chi? I don’t think these variations would affect the story too much, since the final impact of each ability would be the same, but it would give the hero a bit more individuality. It’d have made the story more satisfying.

Note: this isn’t meant to copy CCH, since I’m saying that the hero should have these power variations right off the bat, not at some point in the future. I guess this is close to what you meant when you said that one might “begin with a single power and slightly diversify it over time.”


#8

I haven’t played that far in the series, but you’re probably right. In general, the MC isn’t the sharpest tool in the shed.


#9

Sincerely, yes. Prodigal was my favorite character since her first appearance and I seriously hoped with all my heart I’d be able to romance her at some point. Had the game given me the option to just say “Screw this, I’d rather go around killing random people” (which did happen in the third game, thankfully) I’d totally have gone for it.

I second this. By the time of the sidekick kidnapping it had been made painfully obvious they were working against you (especially if your sidekick was Sparrow). But I liked the story as a whole, I might have a lot of criticisms about the individual games but when the arc was finished I realized I had genuinely enjoyed reading it, so I don’t think I wasted my money.

And I completely agree with Mara on this.


#10

The games don’t truly let you be evil. If you kill those pesky insects in the third game the ending says there will be a trial or something. Yeah, like i would accept judgement and punishment from muggles whose lives i can snuff out with a snap of my fingers. We also get forced to care about that annoying grandma and our parents. In conclusion, i found the choices to be more cosmetic than anything else.


#11

True, but at least it let us kill some people. I might not have cared about grandma, or ma, or pa, or any member of my family. But goddamn did it feel good to kill that asshole Victon. The motherfucker shot the love of my life :rage:. If they tried to arrest me or whatever I would give zero shits about it. I can raze entire cities with a flick of my finger for fuck’s sake!

My first character’s cameo in Redemption Season was completely unnecessary as well. They would never say anything like that.


#12

I actually think making it so you can win everything would actually make for a weaker story. The series is supposed to be a rags-to-riches journey and there’s a strong theme throughout of sticking to your guns even when everything’s against you. The whole point is that the PC gets brought down to their lowest point and then they get back up and win.

Also the PC’s powerful but not the only Infini in the world; they could probably be taken down by other heroes working together.


#13

What did they say? I read the reviews and decided to not buy the game so…


#14

I would say that a problem with this is that these supposedly “different” powers would all end up identical, or otherwise the code would get far harder to write. Why, if you have host powers, can’t you go through walls and spy on various people? Surely you can use sound waves to knock people out or as sonar? Or chi to… go super-saiyan, I guess?

So, you’d basically end up with multiple stories right from the beginning, which means far more work for the author. Why not just make them separate stories? Whereas, if the choice is brought in later, it fits far better with the standard CoG formula, which advises starting mostly linear, and only branching a lot coming up to the end.


#15

I don’t remember the exact quote but they said something like: “it’s and honor to be in the memorial service of blah blah (can’t remember her name) and she has brought hope and blah blah blah, we must take her example and blah blah blah goodie two shoes, etc.” So yeah, pretty sure my near insane, serial killer, infini powered character wouldn’t even show up. Also there’s the fact they were supposedly working with the hero groups during the duration of the season, which is also something my MC would never do, she despises them.


#16

Well, yes, but there’s no real victory for the hero throughout the first game. Yes, you defeat Prodigal after going SOOPER SAIYAN on her, but as I said, it’s not much of a victory…you’ve been humiliated in front of the entire city (who think of you as a loose cannon, at best) and the Victons laugh at you without fear of reprisal. This is a rags-to-less-smelly-rags journey.

Making them functionally identical was pretty much my idea, yes. I believe you’re already capable of knocking people out with energy blasts, the Infini Power is the rough equivalent of SOOPER SAIYAN, and the “ghost powers” I mentioned were supposed to be limited to some sort of necromantic telekinesis. (Sorry for not making that clearer.)

In other words, I’ve accepted your initial claim that we can’t have much variation in our powers. All I’m suggesting now is that some little cosmetic flourishes on the existing powers would have given the hero more…personality (are they creepy? mystical? scientific? etc.), rather than being a bland Superhero Who Blasts People With Things.


#17

I know your pain. One of my strongest desires when i played the games was for grandma to explode, literally. Another was for the MC to stop whining about his parents. I also didn’t liked how my MC was forced to be a drooling idiot after Black Magic.


#18

I didn’t think Grandma was that bad, just bland. And I’d probably be pissed if my parents were unjustly imprisoned, too. Filial piety, mate!

But I hear you on Black Magic. One minute I’m a perfectly even-keeled (if deeply resentful and slightly unhinged) vigilante, the next moment all I can think about is shutting myself in a broom closet with some woman who’s trying to manipulate me. It’s exasperating.

Fair enough. I’ve heard nothing but good things about the final version. I guess I was personally just a bit too badly burned by the first installment.

You should start a dating site! www.eAtrocity.com, anyone?


#19

You defeated a major villain, stopped her blowing up a power plant and saved millions of lives, that’s not a victory? Not to mention possibly getting a slot on the superteam. The loose cannon reputation is only if you play Lawless, iirc. And the Victons… that’s more of a sequel hook. You can’t defeat the major Big Bad in the first game!


#20

One other thing to take into account is that some authors may want the power to play a large role in the story. In Heroes Rise, for example, the MC couldn’t get their power from a suit or gadget, because that’s a major part of the story. In CCH, it looks like the power (along that branch) is going to become power nullification, which fits nicely with the theme. You couldn’t really do that as well with a much wider range of powers. But we’re probably going to have to agree to disagree on this one.

I certainly agree about Black Magic, though, and was very glad when I got the chance to dump him for Lucky, who was admittedly a bit boring (and with a completely nonsensical name), but far less obnoxious…