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The Good and the Unfortunately Very Bad of POE2: a review NO SPOILERS


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There are NO SPOILERS in this review. I’m beginning with the bad and ending with the good, because I believe the bad is so significant that I can’t believe no one else has written about it. I’m not holding back, but every criticism is intended to be constructive, and I’m not careless with words – no one, no matter their gender or orientation, should take offence to the points I raise.

 

With the disclaimer out of the way, I want to jump straight in to Deadfire’s most glaring problem: what's surely the most slavering, turgid adherence to politically correct characterisations around gender and sexual orientation in all of gaming (do please correct if you know of anything worse).   

 

Of all the women I’ve worked with, been friends with and have dated, only 5% – at most – are anything like the women portrayed in Deadfire. That’s a whopping 95% of female personality types that are completely side-lined.

 

The female characters in Deadfire appear in only two varieties that I’m calling ‘The Iron Maiden’ and ‘The Lovable Goof’, both of whom are clearly fast-becoming the female clichés of modern fantasy writing in gaming.

 

Admittedly, the main Lovable Goof in Deadfire (Xoti) is a decently written character but still a cliché. She’s Lohse from DOS:2. She’s Sera from DAI. She’s the blue one from Mass Effect Andromeda. She’s also, now, Mirke, the free DLC character who happens to be the drunken version of The Lovable Goof.

 

As Lovable Goofs go, Xoti is some kind of Bridget Jones in a world of dragons and swords, who has Eder in place of the reluctant Mr Right – which is fair enough. I’ve no problem with that, and in fact think she’s well developed in this regard. But now we’re getting another Lovable Goof for a party member, which makes 2 out of a measly cast of 4 potential female party members.

 

All of the other female party members are variations of The Iron Maiden. In the simple-minded world of Deadfire’s characterisation, these are ‘tough, strong’ women because they’ve been masculinised, either physically or psychologically, to resemble a male/female hybrid. They often have a chip on their shoulder the size of a small planet, can easily kick the asses of every man in the room and have personalities the equivalent of acid.   

 

Some random examples (they’re basically every other female character in Deadfire):

 

1) Fassina (companion) – hates everything: her job, her boss, her employees, even the player (this is emphasised when you try and recruit her)

 

2) Pallegina (companion) – Deadfire’s T-1000. Get on the wrong side of her, which is often and easily done, and she’ll cut your balls off where you stand, not blink an eyelid, and race straight out the door

 

3) Dessiral (bounty agent, Radiant Court) – her ‘idiot kid sister’ died at some point and she’s so ‘tough’ she doesn’t give a damn: it’s just the way life is. Patronising, condescending, haughty in giving out her tasks. Can’t say thanks for her helping out without literally gritting her teeth in resentment

 

4) Aenia (bounty agent, Queens Berth) – patronising, condescending, haughty (again) – she’s an example of Deadfire’s stock Iron Maiden that’s more or less everywhere and poisonously bitter just for the sake of it

 

5) The Queen of Nebraska – Guess what? Patronising, condescending, haughty (again). So one-dimensional she can only do holier-than-thou or righteous fury

 

6) Okaya (Fleet Master, Sayuka) – the first time you meet her, she might as well be telling you to lick her god-damned boots, because she’s the boss and you’re lucky she’s even talking to you. Finish her quest and you’ll get the same treatment

 

None of the female senior management I’ve known behave anything like these women. And I’ve worked for female CEOs. An acutely developed sense of self-awareness is critical for any leader, male or female. None of the characters in Deadfire seem to have any self-awareness whatsoever.

 

Deadfire leaves out about 95% of the female characters I’ve encountered in life. Yet somehow 90% of Deadfire’s leader figures, from criminals to politics, are nonetheless female Iron Maiden Types – in the dark ages, where women had no rights whatsoever and faced even greater challenges in rising the workforce ranks than the already significant challenges they face today. If this fantasy world overcame this, how did it do so? And no, it's not ok to be unrealistic here, because they're pitching for a mature, 'serious' tone everywhere else, so they are striving for realism.

 

At one point, a female pirate leader makes a direct hit on my prot that would be heavy-handed were it a man hitting on a woman. Absolutely no women flirt like this! Even the voice actor sounds ashamed of the line.

 

What about the power of female physical beauty as regards human nature and human animal instinct? It’s never explored in Deadfire because it’s obviously not PC to admit it even exists. It’s not ‘strong’ because it’s superficial, right? Yet its command over men has influenced some of the most complex dramatic narratives in human history – and not just in fiction.

 

Then there’s Deadfire’s next modern fantasy cliché. A man, this time, by the name of Tekehu. He’s Dorian’s equivalent from DAI. I’m calling this cliché The Gay Superman. And I’d put money on us seeing a lot more of these types from Obsidian and Bioware.

 

As a contractor, I’ve worked in a lot of different offices, and there have always been at least a few gay men in each. I can safely say they’re exactly like the rest of us. I’ve encountered gay sleaze balls, gay sound lads, gay idiots, gay geniuses, and everything in between. All are flawed. None is perfect.

 

Like DAI’s Dorian, Tekehu is at all times a powerhouse of moral, intellectual, psychological and physical brilliance. Gracious, wise, knowledgeable. And did I mention everyone considers him the greatest watershaper artist in existence? He’s that, and he’s the most confident gay flirt I’ve ever encountered – this guy has no fear of straight male rejection or its consequences: surely a topic that could actually drive a decent story in this game?  

Tekehu has his own unique lovingly crafted ‘cool’ shark form, his own unique ‘cool’ water godlike form, his own unique ‘cool’ druid spells, even his own unique ‘cool’ idle stance, and some of the flashiest artwork in the game dedicated to his ‘cool’ watery sculptures. He has easily the most thoroughly developed lines, backstory and narrative of the entire cast – including the protagonist.

 

You know why all that is so, right? It’s because we straights are discriminatory, tiny-brained scum, see. We’re all exactly the same, and we’d be too stupid to accept a gay person in an RPG party unless that gay person was given a character budget the equivalent of all the other party members combined. Because that’s how dim we are: we need all the cool flashy extras to entice us to let a gay guy join our adventure.

 

Obsidian clearly doesn’t have a huge amount of confidence in the open mindedness of straight males, of which, incidentally, I can remember virtually none from the entire story.

 

Eder and Serafen are the only two I can properly recall. One is almost impossibly stupid (Eder). The second, Serafen, is an unconvincingly foul-mouthed furry angry midget, who’s so whipped by the women in his life that all I could think of was ‘ouch, poor bastard’ every time one of them cropped up to emasculate him.  

 

Like 95% of the real women you’ll encounter in the real world, virtually all straight males are invisible in Deadfire. They have almost no leadership positions, or are subordinates to the true leader (always a female Iron Maiden type) if they do.

 

Conspicuously absent are the physically and socially dominating ‘alpha male’ types that we encounter all the time in our own world. The most extreme example I can think of is Tony Soprano, but you’ll meet these Tony Sopranos everywhere in leadership roles. They’re the sometimes bullying, mostly charismatic, yet always unavoidable part of the human animal kingdom, and removing them without some interesting story regarding how it happened just further erodes the already brittle world building in Deadfire.

 

The male leaders in Deadfire, from what I can recall of these fictional non-entities, tend to be dandyish, vaguely silly and impossible to take seriously.

 

What about the main plot, then? Well, what do all fantasy writers do when they’ve no original ideas but are saddled with the task of creating a ‘bigger and better’ epic?

 

Guess that means wheeling out old reliable, ‘the gods’.

 

DOS2, in fairness, went the same lazy route. Big, bad, boring gods summoned by the dozen to lament their various invented problems that only a fantasy god could relate to. The main villain Eothas is as insipid and baffling as they come – there is literally no part of this disinterested, rambling deity that can be seen as metaphor in the context of any human experience. And yes, all good fiction used its monsters, however fantastical, to represent some relatable aspect of humanity.

 

Deadfire is more Throne of Bhaal than Shadows of Amn. It’s desperate to seem ‘epic’ on top of everything else. But the reason Shadows of Amn was so great was that it never really became ‘epic’ in the cliché sense of a world shattering event. Its villain was a relatable narcissist, and one of the best ever conceived in gaming. And while The Witcher’s 3 main plot was cliché, its side-stories were brilliant, in particular the Hearts of Stone quest.

 

The best that can be said of the whitewashed writing in Deadfire is that at least there’s no pontificating on racial inequality – this is largely allowed to play out in an organic way. The ‘amico’ slinging Deadfire Spaniard-equivalents are borderline cartoonish at times, but The Gullet storylines of poverty and food shortages were occasionally well written, if always allowed to fizzle out too early.

 

The Good

 

And so on to the actual good points…

 

Outside of the writing, the effort put into this game is up there with The Witcher 3 and Divinity Original Sin 2, so I’m counting it as one today’s Big Three RPGs and judging it on those terms.

 

I thought Deadfire was always at least competent regarding artwork, animations, music, design, etc. But it never rises above this basic competency: if you’re looking for the next timeless ‘classic’, this isn’t it.

 

The music was often outstanding, in particular a brilliantly madcap tavern tune that I can’t find the name of. This is the best track I’ve ever heard in gaming. It recalls images of blood and beer and sodden blacked timber – its harmonica croons the tales of the very darkest of adventures, none of which ended either happily or miserably, but somewhere in the grimy limbo that lies in between. The tales, in other words, that the writers didn’t deliver with Deadfire.

 

The level progression is by far more intelligent than DOS2’s boring ‘pile on the hit points’ system that makes balance a Herculean task for designers later in the game. In Deadfire, you feel like you’re getting stronger, with a more diversified skillset – in DOS2, you carried around the same skills and just got shinier armour and grotesquely inflated stats.

 

The ship base is also better than DOS2's ship, even if it doesn't look half as good visually. The world overview map is also quite strong, with the various ships really making it seem like it's a living place. Starting off in your crappy little ship that can be beaten up by everyone else is likewise a sound experience. It feels great to finally upgrade and go around pounding the other ships, even if the battles themselves are in way strategic, and are simply battles of attrition. This good in its own way – I'd happy for some 'auto resolution' based on my ship's current state.

 

The AI editor, although needing improvements, is the best I’ve encountered, and the most satisfying feature when working the way you intended. It does need far more tutorials and options, as it’s all trial and error regarding how certain aspects are prioritised over others, and there’s not enough flexibility in certain areas of ‘programming’ the characters.

 

The background artwork was well done, but overly decorative for large parts of the game – vacuously prettified images like the palace of Nebraska are all too common. But occasionally you’ll stumble across something sparsely, darkly brilliant, like a fampyr’s bloody lair in the middle of nowhere.

 

Compared to DOS2’s phenomenally-rendered 3D environments, however, these static environments have no life. Even compared to Shadows of Amn, Deadfire’s static artwork isn’t as imaginative or interesting. It doesn’t help that the creature design is generic: cliché fantasy beasts like imps, slimes, ogres, mushrooms, giants, dragons and shades dominate the monster cast. Almost all are just recycled models from POE1 given a fresh lick of paint. By comparison, DOS2 featured ingenious creature design that was different in every battle. That was because the artists were allowed to invent creations not necessarily tied to DOS ‘lore’. As such, the artists rose the quality of DOS2 world building far above the actual world building from the writers themselves.

 

The static environments are also responsible for Deadfire’s biggest UX problems: endless loading screens. I can’t describe how many house doors filled me with a sinking dread of another immersion slaughtering loading screen, all for the lotto of possibly having a few crappy boxes to scavenge.

 

I found the combat entertaining if lacking depth. A cleverly ‘programmed’ AI, while its own reward, can handle everything itself. Foregoing AI behaviours doesn’t add challenge – it just reminds you how dull POE combat is when you have to manually click and point the skills/spells in the same manner in which you’d automate them. Programming automation becomes the strategy: watching it play out becomes the fun.  

 

That said, Shadows of Amn, an old game now, ironically had a deeper combat system, thanks to simpler yet more meaningful status effects. This balance was ruined by Throne of Bhaal – but either way, DOS’s combat system, in my very personal opinion, trumps all in terms of strategic depth, creativity and entertainment.

 

I don’t think I’ll be buying the DLC. It’ll just be more of the same, with different pictures. Cheers anyway, Obsidian – it wasn’t half bad. But Larian gets silver and CD Projeckt Red gets gold for me in the battle of the modern Big Three.

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Women who aren't socially conditioned to coddle men? Men unafraid of straight male rejection? The absolute horror. Congrats on the pearl-clutchingest critique of a game I've ever read. 

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I would love to see you present this rant about the women in the game to some of these female co-workers and bosses you have.

 

"How dare the gay character, (who is actually bi) not be afraid of straight men reacting with gay pannic. "  I wouldn't go there mate and I am glad Obs didn't :no:  

 

 Tekehu is not perfect, that's kind of the point of him.

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Oh, it's one of these reviews, I see...

 

I like how you've decided to create two distinct categories to pigeonhole all female characters into and have essentially forced them into the same. Xoti's a "lovable goof"? In what way is she "goofy" exactly? Maia's a male/female hybrid? What, just because she's an aumaua or something? Fassina never gave me the impression of someone who hated the player at all, maybe you resolved her quest differently than I did or something, while Dessiral is, if anything, more of a classic "woman scorned" than anything you describe above - and again, I don't see how either character is 'masculine' at all. If we're looking at characters as incidental as Dessiral or Aenia, then where exactly do Ezzali Bardatto, or Bahu, or Netehe, or Guildmaster Mairu, or Lueva Alvari, or Ondra and Hylea for that matter, fall into this dichotomy of yours? Some people, seriously…

 

I skimmed through parts of the rest of the review, I honestly can't be arsed to give it a more in-depth reply. At the very least I feel it sheds some light into some of the other remarks I've seen levied at the game elsewhere, regarding the quality of writing and so on - but yeah, this seems to tell me more about you than it does about the game in question.

Edited by algroth
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Of all the women I’ve worked with, been friends with and have dated, only 5% – at most – are anything like the women portrayed in Deadfire. That’s a whopping 95% of female personality types that are completely side-lined.

Protip: You can't divide your sister into percentages - and a lunch isn't actually a date.

 

Seriously though, this is yet another in a line of cringeworthy "I can't stand wimmenz not being subservient to men" reviews here. I think it's testament to Obsidian's talent at making people think - even if much of that thought is wasted on writing reactionary rants on the forums.

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[ The Vault ] [ The Wasteland Wiki ] [ Pillars of Eternity Wiki ] [ Tyranny Wiki ]


 


My, that's a whole lot of wikis!


Why, thank you, I love them.

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After finishing the review there are some valid points. I admit I didn't notice a lot of the SJW present in the game. But when you point it out it clearly is there. But I suppose that's the times we live in. We may never see another Oghren in a game again. Long live Oghren. I'll miss the days when men could be beer drinking, womanizing dirtbags, but still have some endearing qualities. The days when men could be men.

 

As I mentioned above, you put the women into too broad of categories. But I admit the women in this game lack depth. Let's face it, their peak was with New Vegas. Sure you had Cass who was a hard-ass, but you also had Veronica who was a very well written character. And Arcade was a very well written gay man. The characters in New Vegas are a thousand times better than the characters in this game. They really didn't invest enough time in writing decent characters in this game.

 

And I agree with you 100% about the Gods. I'm tired of these overly epic main plots. The best games often didn't have overly epic main plots. Dragon Age Origins which is still my favorite fantasy game, it seems you are saving the world, but really you are only saving your nation of Fereldan. Presumably grey wardens in the other nations could have stopped the blight had Fereldan failed to stop it. I liked all the political intrigue in that game as well. Fallout: New Vegas which is my all time favorite game only concerns one small corner of the world. You aren't saving the world, only what you hold dear (whether it be NCR, Legion ideals, New Vegas, or yourself).

 

As for Witcher 3. I very much enjoyed playing the game once. But there is no replay value for me. The side quests were amazing, I'll give you that. But the fact you can only play one character, and the ways you can develop the character are too similar mean I have yet to finish the game a 2nd time. The game is too long and too much combat. I get tired of fighting all the time. But it sure was pretty, and some quests I still remember to this day. That's saying something.

 

DOS2 I have yet to finish. The main plot I don't even remember, and wasn't interesting enough for me to care about completing. Maybe one of these days I'll finish. But because it wasn't good enough to finish the first time, I rate it pretty low.

 

I can't really compare POE 2 to Witcher 3 because the games are so vastly different. One is a party based game, the other you are by yourself all the time. I simply won't compare them. But I will say POE 2 is a better game than DOS2 even if DOS 2 is from a technical standpoint a better game. POE 2 has better writing, which is what keeps me into games without getting bored. Unlike most people, fighting isn't what keeps me glued to games, but story. All fighting games like shooters I get bored of after 2 hours.

 

edit: I forgot to add that comparing women at your workplace to a tough area like Deadfire is silly. Maybe the women of Deafire are tough because the tough area they live in with Pirates, poverty, harsh conditions in Rautai, etc forces them to adapt and become tough to survive.

Edited by Masticator
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three sentences in and i can't take this review seriously at all from then on. *sigh*

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Yesterday, upon the stair, I met a man who wasn't there. He wasn't there again today, I wish, I wish he'd go away... -Hughes Mearns

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You know why all that is so, right? It’s because we straights are discriminatory, tiny-brained scum, see. We’re all exactly the same, and we’d be too stupid to accept a gay person in an RPG party unless that gay person was given a character budget the equivalent of all the other party members combined. Because that’s how dim we are: we need all the cool flashy extras to entice us to let a gay guy join our adventure.

 

Obsidian clearly doesn’t have a huge amount of confidence in the open mindedness of straight males, of which, incidentally, I can remember virtually none from the entire story.

 

Eder and Serafen are the only two I can properly recall. One is almost impossibly stupid (Eder). The second, Serafen, is an unconvincingly foul-mouthed furry angry midget, who’s so whipped by the women in his life that all I could think of was ‘ouch, poor bastard’ every time one of them cropped up to emasculate him.  

 

Like 95% of the real women you’ll encounter in the real world, virtually all straight males are invisible in Deadfire. They have almost no leadership positions, or are subordinates to the true leader (always a female Iron Maiden type) if they do.

 

THIS **** again. I guess some people are just determined to see an agenda no matter how you depict gender and sexuality in video games. It must be an absolute nightmare to be a developer in the age of gamergate.

 

1. Takehu is initially depicted as a self-obsessed narcissist, not an awesomesauce superhero designed to elevate his depiction as gay. He's one of the most flawed characters in the game.

 

2. Serafen isn't "whipped" by the women in his life, he's an affable scoundrel who doesn't call his lovers back and gets into awkward situations when he runs into them. This has been a media trope for AGES.

 

3. Eder is generally depicted as self-reflective and good-natured. I can't recall a single line where he comes off as "impossibly stupid." You're looking for stuff that isn't there so you can justify a theory - which you came into the game already believing - that Obsidian has an agenda to elevate women and emasculate or otherwise diminish men.

 

Both the male and female characters in Deadfire are about as varied as the format allows, which is to say that you're going to see a fair amount of standard fantasy archetypes on both sides. The female leaders in the game aren't going to behave like the upper management at your work because no fantasy characters behave like the upper management at your work. In a 50-100 hour game with hundreds of characters, you're often going to find characters with 1-2 singularly defining traits. This isn't rocket science and was never an issue until a certain perpetually aggrieved segment of the gaming community decided that changes in representation aren't simply a natural reflection of a changing culture, but an insidious plot by man-hating queer feminist developers to persecute them and take away everything they hold dear. 

 

It's just a game, man. The fact that you put this much effort into weaving a distorted web of prejudices and agendas out of thin air speaks to a straight white male persecution complex that I as a straight white male can never begin to understand.

Edited by Purudaya
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Oh the horror of women actually having minds of their own.

Seems like you just don't like any women unless they are barefoot and pregnant...

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"Those who look upon gods then say, without even knowing their names, 'He is Fire. She is Dance. He is Destruction. She is Love.' So, to reply to your statement, they do not call themselves gods. Everyone else does, though, everyone who beholds them."
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"You choose the wrong adjective."
"You've already used up all the others.”

 

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After finishing the review there are some valid points. I admit I didn't notice a lot of the SJW present in the game. But when you point it out it clearly is there. But I suppose that's the times we live in. We may never see another Oghren in a game again. Long live Oghren. I'll miss the days when men could be beer drinking, womanizing dirtbags, but still have some endearing qualities. The days when men could be men.

 

What, like Serafen?

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After finishing the review there are some valid points. I admit I didn't notice a lot of the SJW present in the game. But when you point it out it clearly is there. But I suppose that's the times we live in. We may never see another Oghren in a game again. Long live Oghren. I'll miss the days when men could be beer drinking, womanizing dirtbags, but still have some endearing qualities. The days when men could be men.

 

What, like Serafen?

 

 

 

Serafen was pretty tame.

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After finishing the review there are some valid points. I admit I didn't notice a lot of the SJW present in the game. But when you point it out it clearly is there. But I suppose that's the times we live in. We may never see another Oghren in a game again. Long live Oghren. I'll miss the days when men could be beer drinking, womanizing dirtbags, but still have some endearing qualities. The days when men could be men.

 

What, like Serafen?

 

 

 

Serafen was pretty tame.

 

 

How so? He does seem like he fits every aspect you mentioned regarding Oghren. How exactly is he "tamer" than Oghren?

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I can understand criticism of Bioware and some other companies for their hamfisted attempts at pushing social justice causes in some of their games, I still think a lot of it is overblown/silly criticism but I understand it. This though I don't get it, like the first pillars actually upset some of social justice twitter for the way it dealt with mental illness. I'm not seeing much in the way of politicing in this game at all. Is not catering to the mastabetory fantasies of a certain group of players when writing female characters really some kind of political statement?

Edited by Mikeymoonshine
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After finishing the review there are some valid points. I admit I didn't notice a lot of the SJW present in the game. But when you point it out it clearly is there. But I suppose that's the times we live in. We may never see another Oghren in a game again. Long live Oghren. I'll miss the days when men could be beer drinking, womanizing dirtbags, but still have some endearing qualities. The days when men could be men.

 

What, like Serafen?

 

 

 

Serafen was pretty tame.

 

 

How so? He does seem like he fits every aspect you mentioned regarding Oghren. How exactly is he "tamer" than Oghren?

 

 

 

Just the feeling I got. I admit I didn't use him the whole game, I intend to use him all the way through my 2nd game since I'm going to be supporting the Pirates that game. But I have to finish my POE 1 game I just started first, so it will be a while.

 

I think one problem is I can't understand half of what he says. :) I do like the pirate speak, it does give flavor to the game. But I have a lot of trouble understanding him.

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After finishing the review there are some valid points. I admit I didn't notice a lot of the SJW present in the game. But when you point it out it clearly is there. But I suppose that's the times we live in. We may never see another Oghren in a game again. Long live Oghren. I'll miss the days when men could be beer drinking, womanizing dirtbags, but still have some endearing qualities. The days when men could be men.

I'm not sure how you missed it but Oghren's thing is that he's like your stereotypical drunken fantasy dwarf but the reason he drinks so much is because he is an utterly broken man. Not sure you want that as a shining example of men being men. Also Oghren was written by a woman. 

Edited by marimo
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Also, question:

Do you get the telepathic mind communications from the Queen if you don't play a cipher? Because I can tell you, she is *far* from haughty, patronizing, or condescending. She's terrified for her people, stretched to the breaking point with stress, and trapped in a role that she has to play.

 

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After finishing the review there are some valid points. I admit I didn't notice a lot of the SJW present in the game. But when you point it out it clearly is there. But I suppose that's the times we live in. We may never see another Oghren in a game again. Long live Oghren. I'll miss the days when men could be beer drinking, womanizing dirtbags, but still have some endearing qualities. The days when men could be men.

 

What, like Serafen?

 

 

 

Serafen was pretty tame.

 

 

How so? He does seem like he fits every aspect you mentioned regarding Oghren. How exactly is he "tamer" than Oghren?

 

 

 

Just the feeling I got. I admit I didn't use him the whole game, I intend to use him all the way through my 2nd game since I'm going to be supporting the Pirates that game. But I have to finish my POE 1 game I just started first, so it will be a while.

 

I think one problem is I can't understand half of what he says. :) I do like the pirate speak, it does give flavor to the game. But I have a lot of trouble understanding him.

 

 

Ah, that is a different issue, and one that as a non-native English speaker I can understand. But generally I don't see how he was 'tamer' than Oghren, particularly also because I didn't feel Oghren was particularly aggressive about any of it either. He's probably more of a drunkard, but I'd say Serafen's definitely the one with the shorter fuse and, err, more expressive use of vocabulary. kappa.png

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Also, question:

 

 

Do you get the telepathic mind communications from the Queen if you don't play a cipher? Because I can tell you, she is *far* from haughty, patronizing, or condescending. She's terrified for her people, stretched to the breaking point with stress, and trapped in a role that she has to play.

 

 

Yes. I played a Ranger/Rogue and I still got them.

 

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You know why all that is so, right? It’s because we straights are discriminatory, tiny-brained scum, see. We’re all exactly the same, and we’d be too stupid to accept a gay person in an RPG party unless that gay person was given a character budget the equivalent of all the other party members combined. Because that’s how dim we are: we need all the cool flashy extras to entice us to let a gay guy join our adventure.

 

Obsidian clearly doesn’t have a huge amount of confidence in the open mindedness of straight males, of which, incidentally, I can remember virtually none from the entire story.

 

Eder and Serafen are the only two I can properly recall. One is almost impossibly stupid (Eder). The second, Serafen, is an unconvincingly foul-mouthed furry angry midget, who’s so whipped by the women in his life that all I could think of was ‘ouch, poor bastard’ every time one of them cropped up to emasculate him.  

 

Like 95% of the real women you’ll encounter in the real world, virtually all straight males are invisible in Deadfire. They have almost no leadership positions, or are subordinates to the true leader (always a female Iron Maiden type) if they do.

 

THIS **** again. I guess some people are just determined to see an agenda no matter how you depict gender and sexuality in video games. It must be an absolute nightmare to be a developer in the age of gamergate.

 

1. Takehu is initially depicted as a self-obsessed narcissist, not an awesomesauce superhero designed to elevate his depiction as gay. He's one of the most flawed characters in the game.

 

2. Serafen isn't "whipped" by the women in his life, he's an affable scoundrel who doesn't call his lovers back and gets into awkward situations when he runs into them. This has been a media trope for AGES.

 

3. Eder is generally depicted as self-reflective and good-natured. I can't recall a single line where he comes off as "impossibly stupid." You're looking for stuff that isn't there so you can justify a theory - which you came into the game already believing - that Obsidian has an agenda to elevate women and emasculate or otherwise diminish men.

 

Both the male and female characters in Deadfire are about as varied as the format allows, which is to say that you're going to see a fair amount of standard fantasy archetypes on both sides. The female leaders in the game aren't going to behave like the upper management at your work because no fantasy characters behave like the upper management at your work. In a 50-100 hour game with hundreds of characters, you're often going to find characters with 1-2 singularly defining traits. This isn't rocket science and was never an issue until a certain perpetually aggrieved segment of the gaming community decided that changes in representation aren't simply a natural reflection of a changing culture, but an insidious plot by man-hating queer feminist developers to persecute them and take away everything they hold dear. 

 

It's just a game, man. The fact that you put this much effort into weaving a distorted web of prejudices and agendas out of thin air speaks to a straight white male persecution complex that I as a straight white male can never begin to understand.

 

Also, Serafen isn't straight. He will happily sleep with a male watcher, and if you ask if he slept with his mentor who is male will say "No, though I wouldn't have kicked them out of bed."

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