Things are never quite what they seem. We think we understand the world around us, but things really aren’t what they seem to be. Lucas Kane was just like you, he used to believe in the newspapers, the politics, humanities, and soap commercials. He was an ordinary man, just a pawn living his pawn’s life. Until something extraordinarily unfortunate happened to him.
Maybe it was meant to be all along, maybe not. No matter, Lucas must know accept his new destiny, cause he’s on the run from the police for committing a crime he did do, but it wasn’t him. Dun dun dun…
Hello everyone, I is back again! Shit, it’s been like what? A month? I apologize greatly, school has just been kicking my ass nonstop for the past month, but no worries it’s all over. So now, I’m going to be talking about one of the most bizarrely entertaining games I’ve played in a long time. I know it has two different titles, but I’m just going to call it Indigo Prophecy, cause it’s a better title.
Indigo Prophecy come to us from Quantic Dream. You may have heard of them but just in case you don’t, you might recognize the name David Cage.
David Cage is the writer, director, and lead designer of Indigo Prophecy. He’s made quite a few really successful Playstation titles, which include this game, Heavy Rain, and Beyond 2 Souls. These games all had one central theme; Interactive, movie-like story telling in video game form.
David Cage likes to think of himself as a pioneer of the interactive story telling game, and he is as far as I’m concerned. Indigo Prophecy came out originally in 2005 and it was very much a one of a kind at the time. It was the only game I could think of that tried to emulate what you would see in a movie, but in a game context.
So to keep your brain from imploding, basically it was trying to be an interactive movie. It features things like sweeping camera angles, multiple shifts in perspective, tracking shots, you know things you would see in a major motion picture. But with the twist that the player can manipulate these at will. It even goes as far as instead of a “New game” it’s referred to as a “New Movie.”
Now that’s all fine and good, but just because it’s unique doesn’t mean it’s good. Nobody’s ever survived getting run over by a steamroller, but that doesn’t mean you should try to be the first. Is Indigo Prophecy good? There have been many strong arguments both ways. Ranging from “David Cage is a pretentious cock who can’t write worth a chipmunk’s shit.” all the way to, “This game is awesome! Shut your whore mouth, fagot!!” Ok, nobody ever said it in those exact words, but you get the point.
What do I think? Well if you remember exactly 6 paragraphs ago, I said this game was “bizarrely entertaining.” That’s pretty much exactly how I feel. (Note to self, stop summarizing your thoughts at the beginning of the reviews!) But why is that so? Let’s consult the center of the entire universe, New York City, to find out!
#1 David Cage, what have you done!?
So before we begin, I’ll say that I’ve played this game on the PS2 quite a few years ago, and now the remastered version (by remastered, I mean the PC port) is out on Steam. I went back and played my PS2 version, after cleaning the mile-thick layer of dust and performing some necromancy to make it turn on again. I didn’t notice many significant differences between the 2 versions. (Hence why I called it a port.) Not that I expected it to look like GTA 5 or anything, but I thought they would at least give it some more refined texture work. But at the same time, I like being reminded of the good ol’ days sometimes.
So, to explain this game as best I can solely in words, I’m going to describe to you the opening scene to this game. It’s really quite famous as far as cutscenes in video games. Mostly cause cutscenes were rare back then, but even still, it’s one of my favorite scenes.
We follow what looks like a raven to a diner in downtown New York. There’s a cop and a waitress just minding they own business.
So we’re at the diner, we go into the bathroom, where we see Mr. John Winston, who sounds like the guy who owns Winston cigarettes.
Anyway, this guy is having himself a piss, like people normally do in the bathroom. Only I find it weird how he’s only using one hand to piss. Now, I’m not a guy, so maybe I don’t understand, but wouldn’t it make more sense to use both hands to piss? I mean you’re going to wash your hands anyway, so what difference would it make?
Sorry, back to the scene. So after his one handed piss, we cut to our main character, Lucas Kane. I use the word “character” loosely. It would appear there is something, unsettling about Lucas. His wrists are cut and bleeding and it would seem that he did it to himself. Oh dear 0_0
He comes out of his stall as Mr. Winston is washing his hands. He stumbles toward him, his arms bloodied, dragging his feet across the floor like a zombie. His raises his bloody knife to attack, Mr. Winston has no clue the danger he’s in! He’s behind you!..
Oh… Oh boy… Oh no, oh… Wow, that’s bad… Oh dear lord!
Lucas! You naughty boy!
(Funny little side note, look at the wall in that one photo before this one. Is that a tampon dispenser?.. In the men’s bathroom?! Look here:
So yeah… I will say, I do love how that scene is directed and how it plays out game-play wise. There’s actually quite a lot of ways that scene could play out. It was fun to play through and see them all.
You can choose to clean up the scene as best you can, you could leave some things out, like not hiding the murder weapon or not cleaning the blood up. You could forget to pay the bill and raise suspicion. You could also just cause a big panic and run out the back door. (Big panic might be exaggerating.)
So, the idea behind all of this is that you play as both Lucas and the police that are chasing him. What you do for one side can change the outcome for the other side. Like, if you smudge up the composite photo, the police will have a much harder time tracking you down.
That’s one thing I do love about Indigo Prophecy concept wise. The amount of ways something could play out based on what you do as the player. That’s freaking cool.
Sadly that’s not really how it plays out.
A lot of the decisions you make are for the most part trivial and barely change anything. Like if you hide the knife behind the toilet, the police will find it regardless, so there’s no point in hiding it. Whether you mess up the composite photo or not, really doesn’t make a huge difference. Also when Lucas saves the boy from drowning, that scene, as far as I could tell, was completely pointless.
I think David Cage had the mentality of: I have to find a way to keep the story going, whether it makes sense or not. The police are going to link it to you no matter what, after you find that out, it makes it seem like none of the choices you made mattered at all.
If you remember my review of Life is Strange (link) I discussed this in greater detail the inherent flaws with these kinds of games. Mainly that, the choices you make can conflict with the character. What I didn’t say in that review is that a story of this kind has to be well thought out in terms of every possible situation or else your story will fall flat on it’s head.
Indigo Prophecy fell on it’s face so hard, it tunneled through the earth and wound up in the middle of China.
Now that is unfortunate because I liked what the story could have been about. But there were 2 major things that ruined this game.
- The Supernatural elements and
- Dean Cain. Opps, I mean Lucas Kane.
#2 Lucas Kane, the world’s most emotionless man!
You think that’s a joke? No, it’s not.
Lucas Kane is indistinguishable from a robot. No joke! Every time he delivers a line, it sounds like he couldn’t give a fuck! Listen to him after he kills Winston, he sounds like he couldn’t care less about it!
No joke, this ruins most of the story. Lucas is emotionally dead! You can’t ignore it!
Not that any of the other characters are any better in that regard.
Not to mention I’m not entirely sure if they’re portrayal of Tyler is racist or not. (Tyler is the one and only black character in the game.) This did cause a bit of buzz, and while I wouldn’t say it’s overtly racist, I did at some points expect him to eat a big bucket of fried chicken just to touch all the bases. It honestly comes off more like David has met very few black people in his life.
But the last thing that ruined it for me was the whole supernatural angle. I wish I could summarize the ending, but I’ll probably get a massive aneurysm if I try. Shit with the Oracle *Cough* The Matrix *Cough* also Indigo children and the cold is caused by a Mayan cult or something like that, I couldn’t explain it to you if I wanted to.
The reason I don’t like it was because it took away from what was good about the game. The whole murder mystery idea was done surprisingly well and I wish David would’ve stuck to this idea. I honestly think that David isn’t that bad of a writer when it comes to that, but I guess maybe he took some crack and then read some National Geographic journals about Mayan civilizations as well as Shakespeare’s “The Tempist.” Don’t do drugs kids, you might write a horribly stupid video game plot.
David Cage to me is like the George Lucas of video games. He dabbles into good ideas that could make for a very compelling story, but he either doesn’t do it right, or is crushed by his own ambition. Is David Cage a bad writer? Well, I don’t think so, not entirely. I think he could create something great if he put some more thought into it and played to his strengths better.
Thank you for reading all the way to the end. Sorry it was so long, but consider it a gift from me for being away for so long. I ain’t dead yet!
Expect some more stuff from me very soon, I’ve got plenty of energy, and I want to pound my keyboard to death some more. So, thanks again, laters! 😀