Part 13: Short Essay for Level 13
I've said it before, and I'll say it again. This is an example of a reused level done right. Most games, when they reuse a full level, will barely make any changes to it. Or worse yet, make just enough in the name of making it seem different that that the players can smell a rat.
The TCTF headquarters avoids that fate through three separate and distinct changes that make it less a blatant reuse of assets, and more of a fresh level. The first and most important is that this is level 13. The last time we were here was level 6. That's half a game away, and because of that distance, the players don't have the reused level thrown right into their faces. There's enough between then and now to wear down the player's knowledge of the level, so when you get back to it, it seems, for a moment, like it's new.
The second reason is that your goals are vastly different. Take, for example, my cited examples from the next game from Bungie - Halo. Assault on the Control Room is the way into a place, while Two Betrayals the reverse. However, in this game, what we're doing and why we're doing it are two vastly different motivations. The mindset of the player is different. In the first, it's a vain race against time, that perhaps you could reach Shinatama in time, but instead we fail at that, but are given the catharsis of killing Barabus instead. On this side of the game, we have a metaphorically slower and methodical descent through the level, hunting Griffin in his underground lair.
The last reason is the enemies. Last time, we fought the Syndicate, while the TCTF are our allies. Now, there's no Syndicate, and no allies save the Mercury Bow in our hands. There's no getting around that fact that we're attacking the TCTF directly now. Beforehand, you could make the justification that Konoko was in the wrong place at the wrong time, and got hit from both sides at the State Building, or that the attempt to infiltrate the Science Prison was a case of dealing with a known issue in which the TCTF was wrong.
But this? This is her taking the fight to the TCTF, and hoping to execute a decapitation strike on them.
Now, the missing conversation. Allow me to transcribe it for you:
Konoko, please don't hurt me. They made me do it, I swear.
I knew she was more than an android, to you at least...
What did you do?
Griffin wanted something to use against you...
Get out of my sight. Now!
The first civilian is foreshadowing the final fight. How audacious.
So... the Deadly Brain, Shinatama Version. The first and third stages aren't difficult, but as I said in the video, it's that start to the second stage that's the real trap. That one laser that moves up and down the middle of the sector is in your blind spot while interacting with the console, or it's right behind you. Timing it so that you're not caught by it while doing your thing is important.
But also... what the fuck Griffin? I swear, what made you think that this was even a remotely good idea? She killed one of these things less than two weeks ago, and you think trotting out the savaged and exploded corpse of Shinatama would in any way cause her to back down?
First time I played this game, I wasn't satisfied with shooting Griffin with the pistol, I wanted to use the Bow instead, and wound up accidentally triggering the peaceful resolution. But trust me, first time? I wanted him dead.
I'm going to talk about the nature of the choice when I show off what happens when you go the other route, as it's a short video. And I'm not feeling it right now.
But I can tell you this. The level is long. It's hard. And by the end of it, just shooting him sounds more and more like the best choice. So I will ask this of you, the people watching this video and this LP. Shoot Griffin or Don't Shoot?