Friday, August 7, 2015

Interactive Friction: Watch_Dogs: Episode 10: Ultimate Cyber-Vigilante

And now we've gotten to it. Goddamn Iraq and Bedbug. This is easily one of the worst parts of the game. Not the worst, (Dear god. It gets much worse from here.), but it demonstrates how the writers took all of these elements and melded them together without really understanding the subtext and implications behind that particular combination.

Again, I know that people like Iraq do exist out there. There are gang members who go join the army for the sole purpose of learning their tactics and bringing them back home. However, that still raises the question of why the writers made the choice to use these tropes. Perhaps they simply wanted to justify having military-grade enemies to fight, but we already have no-face fixers for that. If they were trying to make some commentary about gangs and/or poor sections of the city, then that was gutted out at some point in a misguided attempt to be apolitical.

Bedbug is another problem, but for a completely different reason. He is a criminal, sure. But I get the distinct impression that he's only that way because Iraq is that way. As uncomfortable as it sounds, he seems to be like Lenny from Of Mice and Men. And that's on top of the fact that he's clearly in the lower-income level. In different circumstances, he could've been a good kid. Knowing that these same circumstances make Bedbug very easy to manipulate, Aiden Pearce decides that he needs to get blackmail him in order to get access to the Viceroy compound.

Aiden Pearce has not been someone I'd like to root for since the very start of the game, but this is a real low. Remember, Ubisoft wants us to root for this guy. Despite spending all of this time beating up criminals (an enterprise funded by theft), and having no redeeming qualities whatsoever, we're supposed to treat him as a hero.

I hate this game.

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