First of all, man, I was impressed with these games. I took advantage of the $5 Steam deal, because I had always been pretty interested but perpetually low on cash. I'm also a sucker for atmosphere, horror through sound alone (a la System Shock 2 and some Thief missions), mysterious stories (I love me some Lost), and adventure games (the good ones, anyway, like all of the Myst games, Grim Fandango, and such), and awesome writing (Planescape: Torment made me cry three times, and is to date my favorite game), and was glad to see that this game delivered on pretty much all of those.
I liked Overture and Black Plague pretty much the same, which is to say that I liked them both a lot, though probably my biggest complaint with Black Plague is that it kind of felt like a lot of story was dropped very fast and took away some of the mystery of the place, while in Overture, I had absolutely no idea what was going on, with the Tuurngait only being mentioned once, in that Inuit Christian Essay note.
Otherwise, I absolutely loved the ending to Black Plague. "Kill them. Kill them all." Got my heart pumping, and I felt like screaming "YEAH, FUCK THE TUURNGAIT!" I really would have liked to physically go to the ruins, but it's not like I would've seen the Tuurngait anyway, since, unless I'm mistaken, it was a ancient and sentient hivemind virus.
I don't have any questions regarding the plot of the first two, core games, as I felt everything was mostly laid out. The biggest thing up for interpretation here is Requiem. I liked it quite a bit, though obviously not as much as the other games. But I have some theories to discuss about it, so here's some more spoiler territory:
Probably the biggest question that comes out of people's mouths at the end of Requiem is "what exactly did I just play through?" The most obvious guess is that this was the last remnants of Phillip's dying mind coming to terms with itself, regardless of the ending you get. Nietzsche is mentioned near the end by Eminiss, and it just so happens that one of Nietzsche's theories was that, when you die, you live the same exact life again.
In this case, what I consider to be the "bad" ending, walking out the door of the last room and ending up on the boat, is reliving the events of the game again. Maybe Phillip has gone through the events of the game many times before this already? That answer can only be speculated at, though the mostly linear path of the game could suggest that his path is predetermined, something Eminiss once again hinted at. In this case, the other ending, dying in that incinerator with Red, could be seen as finally letting go.
However, I feel that this is only partially correct. It is indeed taking place in Phillip's mind, but where are all the other voices coming from, as well as the new locations? The answer lies with one of the largest mysteries of the game: the save Artefacts. These things have been around throughout all of the games, and their purpose has been a mystery, other than that they seemed to be sucking you in and, for some reason, made you feel safe. Even Archaic didn't have a clue as to their purpose, and they're used to dealing with this alien, or "xeno" stuff. You also always hear tons of voices, or whispers, when you use them. All of these things are clues to their true purpose, which can be debated. On to more Requiem clues.
The voices that we hear are those of dead people that we either met or heard: Red, Eloff, and Eminiss. A note on Eminiss: I figure he died as soon as he became an Infected zombie, at least, his soul did, or whatever you might name the part of you that gets pulled inside of the Artefacts. Why no Amabel? She made a point to say that she never touched the Artefacts, but one can assume everyone else was curious, and hell, Red's lived there for 30 years, since he was 14 (one of my favorite twists from the first, by the way). If you haven't figured it out yet, I'm trying to say the Requiem was Phillip's interpretation of what is inside of the Artefacts.
As I mentioned, the Artefacts true purpose can be debated. I mean, maybe they were actually physical pieces of the Tuurngait that gave off the virus to anyone who touched them, and those stored inside the Artefacts were people who had all died who's minds combined with that of the Tuurngait to increase it's already staggering intelligence. Or maybe it was simply a way for those that died to never truly die? Some Tuurngait experiment with immortality? Or maybe another alien species? I feel the first theory there is the closest to the truth, but who knows, other than Tom, the writer?
Anyway, another clue is what the lady over the speaker system says at the very beginning of the first level. When you first hear it, you think, "Oh man, SHIT IS GOING DOWN . My friend got the e-mail and, HE'S FUCKINGUP GREENLAND." But after the ending of the game, it soon becomes apparent that this can't really be what's going on. The visitors it is referring to are all those who had put a piece of themselves inside of the Artefacts and then died. Red, Eminiss, Eloff were among them. I'm not exactly sure what happened to any of them other than Red, who, this time, Phillip died along with. Perhaps Phillip had always wanted this after the original incinerator incident? It's hard to say, but it was beautiful to me anyway. While when I first beat the game (around 3 and a half hours ago), I felt a bit underwhelmed, after really thinking about all of this and analyzing it (like more video games should be) I think this is an amazing epilogue to an amazing story.
I might be able to go on, but I've just typed up one ridiculously long post, and I bet a lot of it is ramble-y. I guess I'd just like to thank the team again for making such an amazing series of games. I'll definitely be picking up Unknown when it's released.
To end this, I guess I'd like to suggest
to those of us that have no idea what Frictional is working on that a sequel is not all around impossible, as, while this may be the end of Phillip's story, Archaic is still around, and there are surely more eldritch horrors that found themselves upon the earth. I guess Unknown might be set in the same timeline, since it's in the 18th century. I guess we'll just have to wait and see.
Thanks for reading. EDIT: Oh, I'm also sorry if someone's already posted something like this, but I couldn't find it if it exists.
(This post was last modified: 06-18-2009 11:11 AM by zayrah.)