August 15, 2008

War Correspondent

1730: City is quiet now. Sunlight filters through the palm trees and paints the black Cadillac below. Wheels and windows have been shot out, smoke is billowing from under the hood. Driver missing. I haven't suddenly adopted a new affected style for writing blog posts. I am covering the missions of Ghost Recon in Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter as an embedded journalist. Writing these dispatches in real-time. You can't really play this game as a reporter so I also have to be the guy with the gun. Anticipate this will make life difficult. Squad leader will have to frequently stop to write hurriedly in paper notebook. No pressing pause either. "A journalist cannot press pause on the truth", as they say.

1735: What are we fighting for? I don't remember the objective. Must secure VIP from rebel forces. Rebel position is 440 away. I don't know what unit of measurement we are counting in. Fortunately squadmates are AI and not aware of this ignorance. They are so stupid. We have encountered no resistance.

1739: I forgot to order Ghost Recon to follow me so they're still back at the Cadillac. What a bright bunch of guys.

1740: Stop to admire in-game advertising. Viva Axe! indeed. L Alexander just wrote GSW post about in-game advertising. In a Tom Clancy game. I will launch my own investigation from this battlefield. Didn't realise how disconcerting lack of day/night cycle would be once I started timestamping my reportage

1743: Allen reports contact. I hide behind a pillar.

1744: Allen's a liar. We're scoping out this courtyard at -- I look around for street sign and there's a Nokia billboard SHOTS FIRED! I hide.

1747: We've been taking fire from across the courtyard. I can't get a visual.

1748: I have been stuck behind this corner this whole time while this rebel shoots up the wall. This is advanced warfighting? Pathetic. I'm going to make a run for the doorway across the street.

1749: I hit him! I think he's down! My first kill. What's it like? Don't have time to think about it. Good reporting job

1750: Second shooter. Snipe him from across the courtyard. Three hits with rifle and he goes down. I look at my team. Some help you guys were. I don't know anything about these dudes except their last names. No talk button in this game. Journalistic obstacle. OPEN FIRE

1751: This courtyard! Tried moving but guys shooting now. Allen shoots while I drop to my stomach and write "OPEN FIRE" in notebook

1800: Courtyard secured. We pause at the bodies of the rebels we just took out. This one guy is frozen in horrible rigor mortis contortion but he is still blinking rhythmically. I think this is a glitch.

1801: Strolling down Ardillo Rojize unopposed. I wonder where all the civilians are. Should interview them. Does the game not want to deal with the consequences of me shooting them? Is it afraid of the truths I will expose. Probably. I ask Kirkland why he enlisted. He doesn't even respond.

1814: We have been pinned down. Around the corner couple of hostiles taking cover behind vehicle, across street from our position guys hiding in plaza. I lean round corner and get a kill. Two kills. Brown is trying to shoot that one guy in the plaza across the street and cannot do it. He has been firing constantly for two minutes now. Good work. That rebel is just in that plaza chilling. Kicking back. Playing a little DS. Brown reloads.

1817: Lying on ground have low shot lined up on hostile's legs through underneath vehicle. Writing in journal now poor strategic choice.

1818: These guys are down. Is Ghost Recon STILL trying to get that one guy? KIRKLAND IS HIT KIRKLAND IS DOWN I HAVE A MAN DOWN

1820: Kirkland's body. I ordered him to his death. What does that feel like? It feels okay. What button do I press to arrange proper burial? Shouldn't I snap off his dog tags? I don't think he's wearing dog tags. Was Kirkland a spy?

1825: I'm not a war correspondent, I am a GRAW correspondent.

1840: Game crashed computer. Upon relaunch forgot to run FRAPS. Career in photojournalism finished. As result of reloading, Kirkland alive again. I'll call that immersion breaking.

1905: Why am I doing this? Dumb idea. There's nothing to report on in this game. Should have done it in multiplayer. Leigh Alexander would have done it in multiplayer. We are making our way down the Republica de Uruguay and I shoot a sniper on the rooftops. He was taking cover behind -- I am not making this up -- a Nokia 6110 billboard.

1914: Orders come in to blow up a gas station to create a diversion. Brown: "Let's blow that gas station!" thanks Brown. I don't remember at all why we're creating a diversion. Combat fatigue.

1915: We're at the huge Mexicoil gas station on Isabel II. Tanker is indeed present. Someone clearly designed this thing to explode. How do I safely blow up an oil tanker? I have a grenade. Get ready for a big explosion. I threw the grenade. It comes way short and instead destroys a traffic light.

1916: Fire in the hole!

1919: Yikes. Had to duck behind wall to avoid massive fire storm. Don't remember why I needed to do this. Looked cool though. Radio guy says multiple hostiles inbound. Regroup at parking garage where VIP stationed. We secure road and prepare to hold position.

1937: That sucked. Jeep pulls in with about a dozen guys. We flank and eliminate.

1938: Huge TANK rolls in from behind. Didn't expect this. Grenades do nothing. Kirkland is killed. See he was meant to die all along. Kirkland cannot escape fate or big tank

1940: Ghost Recon evacuate and run for garage. Going through alleys.

1950: Totally lost. This is not journalism. This is a solitary and sad experience. Two guys pop out right in front of me, I shoot, framerate twitches and they disappear. Is this gameplay bug or evidence of higher power? Who can say

1951: Don't know where Allen is. Brown is dead. Tank got him. No time to check dog tags.

1953: Arrive at garage. Nine friendlies. This is awesome. Breath of fresh air. Allen catches up. We don't talk. VIP is in car park.

1955: VIP is in a tank. Could have used that earlier. Rebels coming back, have to evacuate VIP. New mission objective is to protect VIP. HE'S IN A TANK

1956: Post will look bad without any screenshots. Just put in some pictures of dogs or something, who cares

1958: Shots from outside garage. Told over radio to get to roof for some reason that doesn't sink in. I sight multiple hostiles. Bad tank from before has returned, is blocking exit.

2000: Trying to get to roof. It's dark in here. Fire drilling down against walls. Snipers. Am advised over radio that President Ballentine is safely en route. Nobody cares. Can't find my way up

2001: I hear helicopters. Where am I going. Shots. Hit. Car ad. Where is he? Can't see. Allen takes out the sniper! The roof! Helicopter there. Daylight.

2002: At the chopper. Ammo selection screen? Buzzkill. Grab the rocket launcher as advised.

2003: Instructed to destroy heavy armour aka tank. Okay I'm on the roof and seriously if I stand still and do a 360 I can see SIX Axe billboards. Bad marketing plan

2005: Time to rock this tank's world. Rocket launcher takes forever to lock. Come onnn TARGET LOCKED. Boom.

2006: "I think that's it!" Better be.

2007: In the helicopter. I hear shots. Don't care. Not going on next mission. Will cover Soul Calibur instead. Has sexier ladies.


Anonymous said...

Ok so six Axe billboards is a little excessive, but if you stand in any modern city and turn 360 degrees you'll see dozens of adverts.

Maybe in-game advertising would be less of an issue if there was actually more of it. As it stands the few there are stand out, but if the city was as full of billboards and posters, across a range of different brands, as real cities are wouldn't it ironically feel far less obvious and intrusive?

Duncan said...

Yes, it would. The problem isn't necessarily that there are as many as six billboards but that they are all the exact same image. It looks ridiculous. Like the Axe corporation is trying to focus the entirety of its promotional efforts on this one parking garage.

Eric Poulton said...

I wouldn't put it past them. Axe isn't exactly known for their marketing subtlety.

Alex P said...

Just put in some pictures of dogs or something, who cares

I'm seriously dying here.

In the interest of full disclosure, Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter was far inferior to its sequel, Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2: No Subtitle.

The real question, Duncan, why aren't you talking about Braid?!

Duncan said...

I actually have a special Braid post in the works. Due to circumstances beyond my control though, I'm not sure when it'll go up. Literally, they are "circumstances beyond my control." I feel like such a hotshot saying that, albeit a powerless hotshot.