Thursday, November 22, 2018

Acharky and I Listen... to THE QUIET MAN

One of the biggest selling points behind The Quiet Man is that the game has little audio, to help viewers better understand the viewpoint of protagonist Dane, who is born deaf. (Which, considering this means the player can't understand things he clearly can, isn't helpful, but I digress.)

So what should be an adequate reward for beating The Quiet Man? Well, beating The Quiet Man awards the player with the ability to play the game again, but this time with audio and subtitles. And to get the full experience of The Quiet Man, Chris and I decided jump back into it.

The article Chris mentioned, written by OneOddGamerGirl, can be found here. This is an amazing article the brings up a lot of baggage that I couldn't even begin to get into as someone who is not part of the deaf community.

And thank you to Twitch stream viewer Nelson Demifur from making this highlight clip during the broadcast, which very accurately summarizes my feelings behind The Quiet Man.

I am honestly astounded at how much better The Quiet Man was without any audio, because this story is really badly written.

Some aspects of the story just go completely unexplained even with the added context afforded by dialogue, especially since there doesn't seem to be any supernatural aspect to this story. Things like Dane's dad, Robert, dressed in the Bird Mask (the titular "Quiet Man") disappearing randomly during a fight, or Dane mysteriously coming back to life from being shot, then taking out a whole organized squad of goons. Not to mention the scene where Dane apparently goes crazy and starts wholesale slaughtering Taye's goons dressed in the Quiet Man mask. In a story that otherwise presents itself as "grounded", for lack of a better term, these are bizarre plot points that don't get explained.

There's also the whole thing where the context behind Dane and the detective's (Robert) relationship is just missing in the voiceless cut. As the clip above demonstrates, the physical actions, outside of context, give a completely different impression than you get when subtitles and audio are added to it. What I thought was a touching moment of a police officer reaching out to a young man who needed help to cope with the loss of his mother turned out to be an abuse father blaming his kid for his wife's death. This goes double for every other scene where it looks like he's innocuously talking to other people. But worse than all of that, they have the absolute gall to try to redeem this garbage pile in human skin randomly, without warning, after he's been nothing but bad news for all of Dane's life. This character is one of the most messes in the game.

But he's not the worst, that would be Lala, who doesn't seem to have any real reason to be doing what she's doing throughout the game. It's clear that see set up a gang war between the two faction leaders, Taye and Issac, by staging her own kidnapping with Robert's assistance. But drag dealing aside, Taye seems like a very benevolent boss from what we see, only losing his temper after people who work for him start dying and/or ending up in the hospital. It's not clear why she felt the need to do this in the first place, or what Robert did to convince her.

I could go on, but this story is a complete mess, doubly so when it's presented in full context. At least I understood what was going on in Detroit: Become Human.

Post script (added on 11/30/2018):

I didn't even talk about how some of the most irritating aspects of the game's presentation. One of which is the subtitling. You'd think since the story is about a deaf person, they'd be cognizant of how to build effective subtitles, but The Quiet Man fails in even this aspect. Firstly, there is no outline around, or black box behind, the stark white text. This means that when they are displayed over something like a bright white dress, I have a hard time reading them. On top of that, there subtitles aren't often up long enough for me to read them, and Chris had a similar issue during the stream.

There's so the many, many times where people are talking to Dane, who cannot hear, when he is positions where we could not possibly see their lips move, and thus would have no idea what they are saying. Once I started noticing it, it became a massive distraction.

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