Wot I Think: Chaos On Deponia

By John Walker on November 13th, 2012 at 6:00 pm.

It really is only three months since the first part of the Deponia trilogy was released. A German point and click adventure from Daedalic, it managed to wobble along the line of decent and frustrating, mostly making up for its biggest mistakes with some fun puzzles, decent voice acting, and a good number of laughs. So what about this time, with sequel Chaos On Deponia? Here’s wot I think:

Nope. Partly suffering from middle-episode syndrome, and partly just being a generally poorer game, this second, shorter adventure focuses pretty much on what the first game got wrong, and little else.

The story is of a trash planet called Deponia, above which floats an idyllic city called Elysium. Rufus is an unliked loser, part-time inventor, and the man who believes is to save Deponia from being destroyed by the evil Organon – Elysium residents who want the planet blown up. In the first game Rufus met Goal, a sort of robot-elf lady thing, whose head contained vital codes for something or other. He pratted around a bit, met an arch enemy called Cletus, and then it sort of ended.

This time things pick up with Rufus and Goal back on Deponia, this time on a floating black market island, attempting yet again to escape. But early on Goal’s personality cartridge gets split into three, causing Goal to become three different characters, interchangeable in the same body. Hilarity was supposed to ensue.

The biggest mistake the first game made was a bloated second act, that was set in a location far too sprawling, with too many puzzle chains open at once and little guidance as to what you were supposed to be doing. Either side of this section, it was mostly a decent time, despite being plagued with translation issues. This time, bewilderingly, the vast majority of the game takes place in a location even more sprawling, even more disparately linked, and even more obfuscated. There’s no graceful introduction of the locations, no slow spread as the best adventures do. Instead you’re given a great pile different places packed with ludicrously obscure puzzles, interconnecting with no coherent pathway.

The animation remains as splendid as the first part, and the voice acting is strong throughout. But this time their dialogue is far worse, and for every nice line (“Being careful is for people who don’t like surprises.”) there are a dozen that make absolutely no sense. Looking at one character elicits the response, “Who would have thought that under that rough exterior, there was such a ridiculous sofa covering.” Right, I see.

Unfortunately, worse than the Germanlish gibberish is the tone being set here. I lamented that the first game cast yet another unlikeable moron as your playable character, and grumbled that there were no signs of a path to redemption beyond odd allusions to an absent father. This time out Rufus continues to be a one-tone twat, with no narrative progression in any direction, and the father character is revealed with a whimper having no impact whatsoever. Even in finding out his cruel father might not even be his parent, Rufus continues just making tiresome asides and inconsequential blabber.

And the veiled sexism of the previous game is far less hesitant this time around. Goal – who in the first game was mostly unconscious and fought over as property – has her already paper-thin character ripped into three constituent parts: Baby, Spunky and Lady. Because that’s what makes up a woman. Baby is naive and delighted, Spunky is brutish and rude, and Lady is prissy and still rude. The latter two are entirely interchangeable. It wouldn’t seem too much to ask to expect that there could have at least been an attempt at something smart here, perhaps an id, ego and super-ego, but instead it’s just three stereotypes of a snippy woman. A highlight late in the game is the declaration from Rufus, “You’re lucky I don’t hit women.” Nice.

But women need not worry at being singled out. Also rather disturbingly mocked are the blind, and the mentally ill. And people with speech impediments – at enormous length. One of the more awful puzzles requires that you give a long, tedious speech about some plans to a group of rebels led by a guy with a Scandinavian accent and a range of strong lisps. Rufus finds this hilarious! But he’s going to summarise your speech, so you have to pick out the sentences that he won’t slur, lest Rufus lose the audience by falling about laughing at the guy. Oddly, when he speaks the “correct” lines, this man switches to an English accent too – I’ve no idea what that was meant to mean.

There are some nice ideas in here, but they get lost in the muddle. One puzzle requires that you adjust the game’s settings themselves, which is a damned brilliant idea. Except even this is spoiled by being yet another example of a correct solution only leading to yet another obtuse obstacle rather than any sense of reward. When you make even the best successes feel like failures, you’re not doing your puzzling correctly.

It makes the silliest mistake a middle episode of a trilogy can make, in terms of failing to advance the story in any meaningful way. One sort-of revelation near the end doesn’t actually change anything, and you end where you began, in the middle of no-plot-land. It feels like filler, because it is filler, despite a wealth of new characters flapping about inside it. And when that flapping is more frustrating that fun, it feels eminently skippable. Perhaps the third part will bring it all together, realise the potential of that first episode, and give us a satisfying story. But it’s hard to imagine that even if it did, you wouldn’t recommend someone skip this game when playing through the lot.

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136 Comments »

  1. NathanH says:

    Baby, Spunky, Lady should be the three dialogue wheel choices in Dragon Age 3.

  2. Mr. Mister says:

    I actually enjoyed more the second part of the first act (the second act actually started where Doc, after the second Hobo song) in the first game mostly due to that cursed unlinearity you speak of. Which lead me to like the second part of the trilogy even more, but hey, different tastes I guess.

    (plus I like Rufus being such an unevolving egotistical bastard. It’s something fresh.)

  3. Totally heterosexual says:

    That lady looks so much like Samantha from Anarchy reigns.

  4. Hematite says:

    So 7/10 then?

    • Xardas Kane says:

      Do we ALWAYS need to put numbers on things? Can personal opinions just STAY personal opinions, no numerical value attached to them?

      • roguewombat says:

        I’d give the idea a 6/10.

      • fooga44 says:

        All a number represent are “bad, meh, play it” that’s it. People who hate numbers are morons, they are proxies for THREE decisions: BAD GAME, average/meh, PLAY IT.

        Not only that you CAN rate things like graphics, sound, story. A good game can have a bad story.

        gameplay 8/10, story 1/10.

        It tells us quickly that one aspect of the game is bad and weak without having to write novel length posts like you see on rock paper shotgun. I really don’t want to READ someones random subjective scribblings most of the time, since most gamers intelligence and opinions on games are something close to monkey shit. I want impressions from a statistical sample and there will be trends if a game is good or bad more often then not.

        The most informative game reviews tend to be mid to low reviews because they tell you right away that these people are 1) passionate about games 2) were annoyed enough by a game to tell you about its problems

        • Rawrian says:

          I rate this comment 4/10.

          • PopeJamal says:

            I was thinking more 9/10 because he’s pretty much spot on.

            Granted I’m smart enough to make my own decisions, scored review or not, because I can read. I don’t go on a tirade and soil myself because someone else likes something I don’t.

        • Xardas Kane says:

          And its relation to the RPS way of reviewing – 3/10

        • Nick says:

          “.I really don’t want to READ someones random subjective scribblings most of the time, since most gamers intelligence and opinions on games are something close to monkey shit.”

          extract from long random subjective rambling, close to monkey shit.

  5. HisMastersVoice says:

    It seems Deadelic heard the complaints about Rufus being too much of a jerk in the first instalment, so they made sure almost every other character in the second game was a jerk too.

    They also managed to make an ending that could conceivably be considered worse than the one in the first game, mostly because it just made no sense.

    I liked the platypus theme. Platypuses are cool.

  6. RakeShark says:

    Laughs? From Germany? I demand to see the engineering figures on that!

  7. Atrocious says:

    The back story sounds like a rip off from Battle Angel Alita (also featuring a robot girl and a tech guy):
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_Angel_Alita

    “The futuristic dystopian world of Battle Angel Alita revolves around the city of Scrapyard, grown up around a massive scrap heap that rains down from Tiphares (Salem in the anime). Ground dwellers have no access to Tiphares and are forced to make a living in the sprawl below. [...]

    Tiphares exploits the Scrapyard and surrounding farms, [...]“

    • Hoaxfish says:

      The whole sky utopia/scrapyard thing isn’t exactly unique to Alita, and the game bares very little similarity beyond that cursory glance (“…and a tech guy” is barely important to the Alita series as a whole either).

    • Tei says:

      I love Alita, is a very poetic anime/manga.

    • JoeyJungle says:

      That art style reminds me of another manga, Blame! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blame!

    • TheMopeSquad says:

      Hearing this allusion to battle Angel in the comment section for the first games review is what made me pick it up.

      There is a bit more that makes it akin to Battle Angel, like how Goal falls into the scrapheap as does Alita, and how Elysians have computer chips instead of brains exactly like Tiphareans (something that was glossed over in the second game, unfortunately). When Doc showed up and said he was a “brain doctor” I laughed and wondered if his actual name was Ido.

    • El_Emmental says:

      Ew forgot you ‘muricans/britons were calling it Battle Angel (hng !) Anita, rather than Gunnm… I pity Yukito Kishiro :P

    • Spengbab says:

      Sure is aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaanimeeeeeeeeeeeeee ’round these parts.

  8. D3xter says:

    “And the veiled sexism of the previous game is far less hesitant this time around.”

    “Sexism, sexism everywhere!” – John Walker

    I actually heard from several people that this was better than their previous attempts, but I couldn’t say since I haven’t really gotten around to play any of their games. I already have “The Whispered World”, but spent the last few weeks playing through all the “Wadjet Eye” games (Gemini Rue, Resonance, Blackwell Series, Emerald City Confidential) instead. Definitely something for the Winter Sale, this is.

    • PleasingFungus says:

      Come on. You’re really defending the “baby, spunky, lady” game?

      Really?

    • Eddy9000 says:

      Dexter, I’m once again at a loss about why you even read this website given that every comment you make seems to be a criticism of its writers and articles. Why use time you could spend reading websites that you might enjoy by complaining about this one instead?
      In this particular case I would say that the majority of gaming websites fail to treat games as a mature and influential medium, or it’s readers as socially concious people who might be concerned with a games portrayal of ethnicity, gender or sexuality so you really have plenty to pick from.

      • Lucretious says:

        Hear hear.

      • D3xter says:

        I think you’re mistaking having no sense of humour and a peculiar sensibility that hardly anyone else seems to share and I haven’t seen mentioned in any of the other articles or reviews pertaining the game for being “mature”.

        What I see when I look at the images is a game with a cute drawing style and possibly awkward humour that I want to play.

        And thanks, but I can decide what sites to read and when on my own, if you don’t care about anything I have to say there’s always that “Block” button at the bottom left, you can use that a lot on here and also Block almost every other website, then you can go on living in that insular world where everyone agrees with you and shares your exact opinion. xD

        • Totally heterosexual says:

          Blocking someone for something like that? That’s a bit overly sensitive.

          You could, you know… try having a conversation about it with him.

          • D3xter says:

            I didn’t block him, I don’t block anyone, ever, anywhere or for that matter nobody has ever managed to say anything so offensive or insulting that I’d ever consider it and I rather enjoy discussing with people having a different opinion, even if they can get my blood to boil at times.
            I just suggested it to him as a solution if he doesn’t like my Posts.

            The problem about discussing this with him is that I for instance find this funny and he likely won’t and will assert that there should be some “right to not be offended” and every bit of content should at best be “inclusive” and not offend anyone ever and I wouldn’t want to live in that world:
            http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/mon-july-16-2012/louis-c-k-
            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e6g3RmfTD4s

            The thing is John isn’t even talking about any of that, but about a cute cartoon-ish Adventure game this time around.

          • Eddy9000 says:

            Yeah, no sure you can read whatever website you like and I don’t think I said otherwise, and I certainly didn’t say that there was something wrong about holding different opinions. I was just curious about why you would continue to read a website that you don’t seem to like very much from the comments you leave. I certainly wouldn’t block you, I find it kind of fascinating.

          • vonkrieger says:

            @Eddy9000 – It’s possible to like some articles and dislike others.

            For example, focusing too keenly on gender issues is my biggest source of annoyance in RPS articles but it doesn’t stop me from reading the site.

            By the by, the slurring section of the game above seems like a reference to Life of Brian. Was Life of Brian mocking people with lisps or just being hilarious? I guess we’ll never know.

    • Aerothorn says:

      So….are you arguing that there isn’t sexism everywhere?

  9. P4p3Rc1iP says:

    I think most of the problems with this game are caused by Deadalic being German. In my experience they just don’t “get” English. Translation is not only about literally translating words, you also need to translate the comedy. In this case it didn’t work so well and the game just got awkward and unsatisfying.

  10. HisMastersVoice says:

    “Baby, Spunky and Lady. Because that’s what makes up a woman.”

    Because clearly Rufus being a lecherous moron with a rotten attitude and a cancerous ego is a good representation of every male human being.

    Even if one could seriously consider a cartoon character’s portrayal to be sexist, at least call out all instances of such treatment.

    • noom says:

      Because clearly Rufus being a lecherous moron with a rotten attitude and a cancerous ego is a good representation of every male human being.

      Even if one could seriously consider a cartoon character’s portrayal to be sexist, at least call out all instances of such treatment.

      I think if John’s referring to the game’s tone being objectionally sexist, we can consider the male lead being, as you yourself put it, “lecherous” to be pretty much tied up in that criticism.

      • HisMastersVoice says:

        But the criticism was not levelled at the tone of the game (which is not sexist, by the way), but rather at how a female character was portrayed in a satirical context.

        • Snargelfargen says:

          Just because it’s satire, doesn’t mean that it’s good satire. Satire is supposed to be a form of constructive criticism. The baby, spunky, lazy division sounds like an excuse for tired, overused stereotypes. A lot of sexist humour aspires to, or pretends to be satire, but ends up just rehashing the same fallacies.

          • HisMastersVoice says:

            And again I ask why this particular set of stereotypes is called out as sexist, but the whole of Rufus’ character is not.

          • jorygriffis says:

            Yeah, just because it’s satire doesn’t mean it can’t be found to be objectionable.

          • maninahat says:

            @HMV: I see this sort of argument come up a lot. Taken on their own, there is nothing wrong with a negative depictions of either sex. But we don’t just take these things on their own, we contrast them with what we’ve seen before. That’s what people are doing whenever they criticize a sexist character; they are regarding them in the context of games and culture in general, not as isolated things. That’s why one depiction can be sexist whilst the other isn’t; In this case, Goal’s characterization resembles long established negative stereotypes of women in games, whilst Rufus’ characterization is comparatively uncommon, and easily offset by the more varied, diverse and positive portrayals of men in games.

          • HisMastersVoice says:

            I’m not going to discuss with the “contextual equality” argument. I find it to be a damaging fallacy that’s causing more problems than it solves.

            I am however hard pressed to see what exactly is sexist about the way Goal was portrayed in this game. It’s questionable whether baby and spunky version even utilize negative stereotypes, while the lady is a play on snobbishness that’s hardly a trait associated exclusively with women. The portrayal also seems to avoid projection of character traits into the broad population.

          • JackShandy says:

            John says that the main character is terrible. Maybe you think he should have specifically said “The Portrayal Of This Male Character Is Sexist,” but I don’t see any reason to leap over his comments on the female characters and dive straight to “What about the men, eh? Aren’t they terrible characters too?”

          • HisMastersVoice says:

            What are you trying to say here? That terrible characters are by default sexist?

          • JackShandy says:

            Yup, you’ve hit the nail on the head.

            What do you want John to write?

          • HisMastersVoice says:

            I honestly don’t know what you meant in your previous post.

            And I don’t want him to write anything. I’m engaging in discourse over what he writes. That’s generally how it works.

          • jrodman says:

            manihat already explained why it’s sexist, and you don’t want to believe it. Therefore you have some reason for not wanting to understand how sexism works. You should think about that.

    • Gap Gen says:

      I gave up on watching Dr Who after it became clear that Stephen Moffat has some really weird ideas about gender. It’s subtle, but then so is a thin film of vomit on a birthday cake.

    • El_Emmental says:

      I haven”t played the game (yet), I see what you mean and I fully agree with you regarding denouncing sexism – and I agree John Walker might be missing something there regarding sexism.

      However it seems (to me) the male character is partially based on sexist stereotypes (the other part being a “jerk” attitude), while the female one is mostly based on such overused cliche. I need to play the game to confirm this though.

      Also, making a male character using sexist stereotype (regarding men) will probably (and only probably, nothing more) be the result of voluntary attempt at creating a specific setting (humorous, ironic, etc), since it is also easy and common to have non-sexist male characters in video games.

      Meanwhile, making a female character using sexist stereotypes is often the result of laziness and/or a cheap attempt at connecting with the (mostly male) audience, while it’s very difficult and requires a lot of care and subtlety to make a non-sexist female character in video games.

      With that in mind, it is hard to believe the developers of a game chose female-related stereotypes for a specific and honest purpose, it needs to be clearly stated (somewhere in an interview, their website or the credits).

  11. ikbenbeter says:

    I generally found the first in each of the modern Sam & Max series the weakest. Then again, the second season was probably not as good as the first or third one…

  12. Acorino says:

    “Who would have thought that under that rough exterior, there was such a ridiculous sofa covering.”

    Translation is as awesome as always, I see.
    Weird thing happened with this game: I rather liked the first one a lot, and was very hyped for the second one. When I started playing the latter I almost immediately lost interest. I dunno why. The first scene where Rufus causes great chaos is pretty funny, but after that, I dunno. Everything seemed overly wacky, the music ruins as much the atmosphere as in the first game, and I guess you’re just kinda dumped into chains of puzzles. I loved Kuvaq in the first part, but here…I dunno, I just didn’t feel any impulse to play further.

  13. borisvdb says:

    I dunno, I’d disagree that the voice acting was overall ‘decent’. It was decent for some characters, not so much for others. You also seem to unnecessarily relish on the fact that it was sexist and offensive.

  14. Amber says:

    I played Deponia in original language so I can’t estimate any dub-probs.
    First part Deponia should be exterminate and you get introduce to the main charakters (and somehow I thought about HHGTTG very often)… now you get known WHY and well, it’s not to make way for a bypass! There is story and there are puzzles and maybe cause I’ve got no translationprobs the humor works as well. I liked it.

  15. Thirith says:

    The German review magazines have given this fairly good marks – but I’ve often felt that they suffer from misguided nationalist loyalty when reviewing German games, ignoring their flaws and exaggerating what they get right.

  16. volcano_fl says:

    It’s kind of weird that in Germany, everyone loves this game (so do I), and in other countries, all reviews are like this one. Seems like they fucked up the translation once again. SADFACE.

    > “The biggest mistake the first game made was a bloated second act, that was set in a location far too sprawling, with too many puzzle chains open at once and little guidance as to what you were supposed to be doing. Either side of this section, it was mostly a decent time, despite being plagued with translation issues. This time, bewilderingly, the vast majority of the game takes place in a location even more sprawling, even more disparately linked, and even more obfuscated. There’s no graceful introduction of the locations, no slow spread as the best adventures do. Instead you’re given a great pile different places packed with ludicrously obscure puzzles, interconnecting with no coherent pathway.”
    Come! the! fuck! on! How is this a bad thing? Are so used to the modern console crap that explains every single thing you have to do over and over and over again? (“Press B to crouch. Shoot on the enemy. Reload with Y.” EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.)

    > “there are a dozen that make absolutely no sense. Looking at one character elicits the response, “Who would have thought that under that rough exterior, there was such a ridiculous sofa covering.” Right, I see.”
    Daedalic isn’t very good at translating their games, sadly, and it’s been like that since the very first one. Edna bricht aus (aka Edna & Harvey) received nothing but hate in the ‘anglosphere’, mostly because the game really depends on all these puns. (I mean, you could combine every single item with everything else in the adventure and you would always get a unique line. That must have taken forever, and there are so many great jokes in them you can just walk around the screens for ages trying to find every single new line when you’ve found a new item.)

    > “And people with speech impediments – at enormous length. One of the more awful puzzles requires that you give a long, tedious speech about some plans to a group of rebels led by a guy with a Scandinavian accent and a range of strong lisps. Rufus finds this hilarious! But he’s going to summarise your speech, so you have to pick out the sentences that he won’t slur, lest Rufus lose the audience by falling about laughing at the guy. Oddly, when he speaks the “correct” lines, this man switches to an English accent too – I’ve no idea what that was meant to mean.”
    It’s exactly like that in the Original, but the character has one of the many German accents instead.

    > “But women need not worry at being singled out. Also rather disturbingly mocked are the blind, and the mentally ill.”
    Who are you, the inventor of political correctness? GTFO & write for Kotaku or something like that.

    • ordteapot says:

      I don’t really get what the hell your point is — you hyperbolize John’s argument that the middle section of the game is badly structured into a bizarre reference to quick time events, you claim the enjoyment of the game is in (badly translated, apparently) one liners that must be mechanically sought out through repeated clicking, and call John names for pointing out that a lot of the humor is boorish.

    • The Random One says:

      Ha ha, an article that points out sexism on RPS belongs on Kotaku? What sort of bizarro world did you come from, and will you let me play your version of Duke Nukem Forever?

      • Ahtaps says:

        Kotaku makes a point of writing a lot of articles about how games are incorrectly portraying some group of people and how it’s wrong. This is mostly about sexism in games, sometimes about how homosexuality is portrayed and the comments people make during game chat. This is usually then followed up by numerous articles with revealing female cosplay, upcoming porn movies based on games, and the latest Japanese game with panty shots. (Slightly exaggerated, but not entirely untrue)

    • vonkrieger says:

      Hi, any idea if you play this game in German with english subtitles?

  17. Dromph says:

    Well, I’m German and not at all surprised this game doesn’t get good reviews outside of Germany. Our humour is rather… special.
    Then fuck up the translations, et voilà: British people are not going to like this.

    • Xardas Kane says:

      I like it and I’m not German. Then again, I do know German and I did play it in the original language, I guess that really makes for one big entry barrier.

      • Dromph says:

        Yup, knowing the language always helps. I’m really happy I understand English.I couldn’t imagine dealing with shitty translations ALL THE F****NG TIME.

        And of course I was generalizing there.. There are always people who’ll like something. I mean, there are people who like Justin Bieber, right? Right? At least I’ve heard rumours.

      • Mr. Mister says:

        I like it too and I’m Spanish: since English is not a mother tongue to me, I’m not so picky when it comes to tiny translation errors. I find the dialogue funny anyway.

  18. Systemfehler says:

    As a German, i really think its the translation. I just finished the game and in the original language every single line in that game is pure gold. I think a lot of that got lost in translation. I would say everyone who can should definitely play this in German.

    Regarding the sexism: That’s part of the humor I think. The game is mocking hobos, blinds, poor, guys rambling at the government, your making cat food out of baby dolphins and your killing a bird in a shredder after you pretty much tormented him. Summed up: Yes the game is not the most politically correct, but you have to like that kind of humor. If you don’t, then the game is not for you.

    As of the bloated up second act, the author is pretty much right here. Too much locations at once without introduction and then no change for the next 70% of the game. The puzzles are mostly OK if you click on everything an read everything (Crab Colony + Song Text “Mating Ritual of the Crabs” + Annoying singing guy = ??. Oh yeah almost forgot. The game is making fun of gondoliers,too)
    The Puzzle chains are not that bad, but again you have to listen to everyone carefully because on its own the puzzles don’t make any sense at all.

    Summed up, in German the game is a very funny game with a special kind of humor but lacks in plot and puzzles. The Translation robs the game of its awesome lines and therefore of its humor, read: the strongest part of the game, making it mediocre at best.

    If you speak german at least decent, go watch some videos and see if you its your kind of humor before picking it up. I haven’t played it in English so I can’t say if you should buy it if you don’t speak German good enough.

    • Atrocious says:

      Na gut, dann geb ich dem Mal eine chance.
      (Very well Sir, it shall undergo inspection under my supervision.)*

      * Totally direct translation. It’s how we speak in Germany.

  19. TheMopeSquad says:

    It may sound terrible but I consider sexism part of the charm of a German-made game, since it seems to be a re-occurring theme. If there was no sexism it just wouldn’t be German.

    • Gap Gen says:

      Incidentally, I’ve read articles that suggest that a conservative attitude towards women will cause Germany to slip economically below France and the UK due to a lower birthrate. So, yay for that.

  20. jorygriffis says:

    I am never surprised to see gamers balking at the observation that something is sexist, but it always is a bit of a disappointment to see it happen here. RPS is one of the only major gaming websites I’ve seen whose writers are actually willing to make those kinds of comments. I completely agreed with John’s thoughts about the first game’s misogynist tone and his opinion on this sequel probably means I’ll be skipping it.

    • HisMastersVoice says:

      You find divergent opinions disappointing? Am I allowed to say I find that disappointing?

      And let’s not get into the the whole misogyny thing, shall we?

      • Douchetoevsky says:

        Misogyny/racism/homophobia/other intolerance is not an opinion that should be respected. You are being deliberately obtuse if you think that people who speak up against this kind of thing just hate any differing opinions.

        • HisMastersVoice says:

          I’m not even sure how to respond to this comment. Perhaps you were responding to someone else’s post, because I cannot see how what you say applies to my statements.

          • Ich Will says:

            It’s quite simple, maybe something is getting lost in translation: The OP wrote that he is pleased RPS point out sexism in games as being a bad thing. You chimed in with your view that sexism is just a different point of view and surely different points of views are to be celebrated. Then he replied by saying, sure, different points of views are to be celebrated, unless your point of view is that a group of people whom you don’t belong to should be degraded. What’s not to understand – you made it quite clear you think sexism is a valid point of view, he said your point of view should be thrummed out of polite society.

          • HisMastersVoice says:

            Your reading comprehension seems to be severely lacking. Jorygriffis stated he’s disappointed people are willing to discuss and/or challenge the notion of something being sexist. Contrary to what you may believe not everything that has been pointed out as sexist on this site matches the definition of sexist. We can, and in fact should, discuss the subject, rather than blindly follow one man’s opinion on the matter, because he writes for RPS.

            Then that douche guy came over and pulled misogyny, homophobia and racism out of his whatever in complete disregard of what the previous posts contained, probably as an effect of poor reading comprehension too. And now here you are following on the same path of indignation over something that happened only in your mind.

          • Ich Will says:

            Are you high and/or drunk?

            jorygriffis wrote: I am never surprised to see gamers balking at the observation that something is sexist, but it always is a bit of a disappointment to see it happen here.

            You interpreted that as: him being disappointed people are willing to discuss and/or challenge the notion of something being sexist.

            He said he is never surprised to see gamers balking (To refuse obstinately or abruptly) at the observation that something is sexist – John observed something was sexist and gamers rejected that obstinately or abruptly

            You seem to have somehow interpreted that as him saying he’s disappointed that people are willing to discuss it. Quite the opposite in fact!

            You then write “You find divergent opinions disappointing?” Seeing as how jorygriffis is clearly against sexism, it stands to reason your divergent opinion is pro-sexism.

            Douchetoevsky chimes in by saying that there are indeed some divergent opinions which should not ever be respected, he listed several including sexism.

            You write that you are unsure about how to respond to that comment and I helpfully point out that you haven’t understood what is being said.

            So whose reading comprehension is severely lacking – yours.

            Weirdly, you then go on to write “Contrary to what you may believe not everything that has been pointed out as sexist on this site matches the definition of sexist. ”

            Which is odd because I have made no indication of what I believe is or is not sexist.

            You also wrote “And now here you are following on the same path of indignation over something that happened only in your mind.”

            But All I did was paraphrase the preceding conversation in words you may find easier to understand, I displayed no personal opinion, no indignation at all.

            So I ask again are you drunk or high? Can you read English?

          • HisMastersVoice says:

            For someone who’s not indignant you sure do sound angry.

            Let’s start with reminding you what you said

            “You chimed in with your view that sexism is just a different point of view and surely different points of views are to be celebrated.”

            “(…)you made it quite clear you think sexism is a valid point of view”

            Both of which are outright lies. If it’s not reading comprehension issues, then it has to be an intentional attempt at smearing me for the sake of winning some sort of imaginary internet conflict.

            As for the initial comment by jory, if something is not sexist I will balk at the notion that it is sexist. Equally, if something is sexist I will balk at the notion that it’s not. Disagreeing with something being sexist does not equal being sexist.

            Mr Walker made an argument I disagree with. Strongly, if I may add, because sexism is, quite literally, serious business. Watering down the concept of gender based discrimination is a grave disservice to the idea of balanced equality and should not happen, lest we lose all understanding of what is or isn’t sexist.

            The next time something like this happens, I will reiterate my points, perhaps even balk, and I will call out anyone who thinks discussing the matter is something to be disappointed with.

          • Ich Will says:

            Ahh… the Jim Davidson defense, well done.

          • HisMastersVoice says:

            Accused of lying, makes detached references to some obscure comedian. Yeah, sorry, you’re not worth my time.

          • sokolov22 says:

            HMV has pretty clearly demonstrated he cannot read and will basically make up stuff just to argue about it.

            It is probably best if we left him to his own devices.

  21. Metonymy says:

    I’m pretty sure anyone who doesn’t like a little playful sexism is a just a jerk.

    You guys keep defending the rights of women, malefactors, and attention seekers.

    I’ll keep defending my own rights.

    • Nick says:

      I’m pretty sure you’re wrong.

    • jorygriffis says:

      You have every right to make the troubling conflation of “the rights of women, malefactors and attention seekers.” Everybody else has the right to think you’re being a bit of a dick.

    • The Random One says:

      Curious, I for one am pretty sure anyone who likes a little “playful” sexism is just a jerk.

      Present evidence pans this out.

    • Douchetoevsky says:

      Holy shit, this can not be what a real person thinks. No one over the age of 16 anyway.

    • Okami says:

      Keep on defending your right to be a sexist jerk, we’ll continue exercising our right to call you one.

    • NathanH says:

      This is a confusing moment. Metonymy is always wrong and objectionable, yet this time I agree with him/her/it. The end is nigh.

      • jalf says:

        I don’t quite see the issue here.

        Have you considered that you might also be “wrong and objectionable”?

        I think that could resolve the issue.

    • vonkrieger says:

      I think the key to these situations is perspective. You can be self referentially sexist, you can mock traditionalist sexist stereotypes and you can have characters who are intentionally immature and highly sexualized if that’s what fits into the story.

      What you can’t do is expect a reasonable discussion about it on RPS.

  22. Okami says:

    All the people defending the games questionable treatment of women, poor and disabled people by pointing out that it’s just part of the rumor remind me of this:

    “no one appreciates a good sexist joke anymore.”
    “that’s not true, sexists do.”

    • Dromph says:

      What? Agai…I mean, what?
      Following that logic, one must be considered racist if he laughs about an asian joke.

      • Haplo says:

        Well… Yeah. If you were Asian, would you laugh at an Asian joke? I mean, I’m sure it’s happened, but the deal is that even the most innocuous of -ist Jokes rely on a shared reference pool made up of broad stereotypes. It’s a pool that belongs to a certain in-group, see. And that in-group is making jokes about an out-group. It is actually super-hard to divorce the joke from reinforcement of aforementioned ideas that live in the pool, even if you think it isn’t.

        • Dromph says:

          Yes, I would laugh about them. Why not? Saying someone is a racist/mysoginist because he laughs about jokes is just plain stupid. Why so serious?

          • Ich Will says:

            There is a massive difference between jokes which rely on cultural differences for their humor and a racist joke, see the difference between bernard manning and say russell howard.

            There is a massive difference between jokes which rely on differences between the sexes for their humour and a sexist jike – see the difference between alan stubbs and miranda hart for a good comparison.

          • Squiffy says:

            Bernard Manning and Russell Howard aren’t so different.

          • Ich Will says:

            I’m sorry… what? Seriously?

          • Squiffy says:

            I’m deadly serious. His namby-pamby ‘Let’s all be good to each other’ bullshit extends exactly as far as the working class, who he regularly demonises without batting an eyelid.

            Parts of Russell Howard’s act are just as reliant on this ‘in-group’ ‘out-group’ relationship as Bernard Manning ever was.

      • jorygriffis says:

        This is actually one of the dumbest things I have ever read.

      • Gap Gen says:

        The funny thing about people who play games is that they are losers who have no social skills. Zing!

      • John Walker says:

        YEAH! Following this “logic”, if you stab a man in the chest as a joke, you’ll get called a “murderer”!

        What’s the world coming too?!?!?!

    • Milky1985 says:

      Am I the only one that thinks that its possible to laugh at a joke but still disagree with the sentiments it is implying?

      Or is that too much for people to understand as its not either Yes or No, everything must be one or the other , nothing but absolutes!

      Also why the sodding hell does this site kick you back to the main page every time you log in rather than to the article you were looking at!

  23. MistyMike says:

    Derponia
    *ba-dum tishhh*

  24. Sup says:

    I only played the game in german, so I kind of get the feeling there was something lost in the translation. It was not the best game I ever played, but overall it was a charming entertaining experience that ended on a positive note for me.

    But I can agree with the sexism argument made in this article in respect to the split personalities. That was something that bothered me too. Also the choice to make the rebel leader speak with an Scandinavian accent in the translation appears to be bad (because in the german version he wasn’t).

    But somehow reading this review made me feel, like I was some kind of monster for enjoying playing the game so much. Especially the fact that the game was making fun of blind or mentally ill people I did not pick up on as hard as this article made it seem to me. The jokes were along the lines of Monkey Island 1 where the Lookout had poor eyesight. Also the game has a dark component to it, where characters in the world are reminding Rufus or/and the player that they just did some fucked up stuff to achieve his personal goals. I guess this the dark humor showing through, that was more present in Daedalic previous work, which makes it feel a bit different than other adventure game stories.

    I would say, give the german version a try if this is an option for you. Otherwise, based on this review, stay clear?

  25. PhoenixTank says:

    I grabbed both of them from GoG over the weekend for a cool ~ £18 (compared to about £30 for both on Steam) Sadly the deal is no longer running.

    I found this to be a pretty scathing review. I can accept the points and generally agree, but I still feel it is perhaps a bit harsh.
    I generally enjoyed them – by no means fantastic, but I found it enjoyable. A few leaps of logic with puzzles, a few things lost in translation.
    Very solid and beautiful animation, though spoiled a little by lipsync not being adjusted for English (but you will stop noticing it)

    I’d like to counterpoint a couple points directly:
    The sprawling, disconnected area criticism – See the first Monkey Island. Of course, you don’t have to like that about TSoMI, but it is generally a staple of adventure point ‘n’ clicks that you explore the world.
    Sorry to potentially commit another sin here, but the protagonist reminds me of Guybrush Threepwood. Guybrush is an all over nice guy, but still a buffoon.
    Rufus is a buffoon and a right prat. He tries to do the right thing, but his pure idiocy gets in the way. I didn’t expect him to be a well adjusted human being given his background and general upbringing.

    A key difference in both of the comparisons I make is the execution. Monkey Island was masterfully done. The Deponia series is rough around the edges, but I didn’t feel it all fell apart at the seams into a horrible cruddy heap.

    Okay… Sexism.
    I wasn’t disgusted by the tone. I took it for what it was, and until now I haven’t sat back and thought about it. I can see the points made, and I honestly rolled my eyes at one of the screenshots above when it happened in game… but generally put most things down to some characters just being asshats and the setting. For Goal I can see it more strongly, but I find Toni represents a reasonably solid counter to that portrayal of women.

    Overall: Not great, but not as terrible as this review made it sound (to me at least).
    Merely an okay series with a story I didn’t take too seriously that scratched a point and click itch I had.
    Am I happy with my purchase? Yes. Would I have been satisfied if I plonked down £30 for the first two parts? Unlikely: A bit short & rough.
    If anyone interested in the game is still reading this, try the demo of the first game (on steam). If you don’t like it from the slice of gameplay they give you, you probably won’t like the rest of the first or the second.
    I am personally interested to see where the 3rd and final part goes (if anywhere).

    I apologise for any lack of cohesiveness here. It is a tad late at the moment – please don’t construe this as an attack on Mr Walker, either.

  26. fooga44 says:

    I really hate this humming and hawwing over ‘sexism’ garbage, if you’re going to have stories in games you need conflict. I’d rather not see stories watered down to cater to the PC ‘omg this is so sexist’ crowd.

    If you’re going to have antagonists and protagonists they have to do their job in a short amount of time so stereotypes tend to be the way that things go in most media, books, movies, etc. So complaining about them in GAMES is just stupid. I really really hate this female worship among ‘games journalists’ as well. If you get your feelings hurt from a FICTIONAL STORY you have issues because it’s entertainment, it’s not real! It’s not ‘sending you messages’ about your worth, it’s just something someone wrote to entertain someone else for money. That’s it.

    Otherwise all gamers would be FOR mass murder, think of how many orcs and men we’ve killed in games, those poor orcs and soldiers! All those games about combat are sending a political message about our deep hatred for orcs and soldiers!

    • jorygriffis says:

      Commenters here “complain” about issues in video games because RPS is a video game website. As you astutely observed, these issues exist in other media as well.

      • fooga44 says:

        My point was lost on you completely, here it is:

        “If you get your feelings hurt from a FICTIONAL STORY you have issues because it’s entertainment, it’s not real! It’s not ‘sending you messages’ about your worth, it’s just something someone wrote to entertain someone else for money. That’s it.”

        The people behind deponia certianly didn’t set out with the purpose of denigrating women, no game developer does this. The fact that games journalists go on and on about ‘sexism’ is bullshit. The developers behind most modern games create stories they think will entertain others, there’s no ulterior motive. Therefore there are no ‘issues’ except ones in screwed up peoples heads who think games are ‘sending them messages’.

        It’s totally arbitrary that was my point about all the combat and killing in games – it’s fictional, its escapism, it not sending a message or political statement that mass murder is ok. The fact that no gamer would take you seriously telling us ‘mass murder is ok’ is exactly how I look at people in media who see “sexism everywhere” when the people behind it are not thinking about that at all, there is no ulterior motive otherwise YOU WOULD have an legit complaint. But you don’t.

        • Ich Will says:

          It’s not about people getting their feelings hurt, it’s about making our society better. Sure you may be entertained by the main character’s portrayal of women, that’s fine but don’t bellyache when other people tell you they are not at all entertained by it at all. Note how there are very few games in which you murder people without a reason that is justifiable in society (Being a soldier under fire for example)- and even in those games, it is not always mandatory.

          I’m yet to see a justifiable reason to negatively stereotype any group of people.

    • Gap Gen says:

      I don’t follow. There are plenty of games with effective, minimalist stories that aren’t bigoted. Am I missing something?

  27. Xaromir says:

    Deadalic’s adventures are the best to come along since the olden days, they are loved and celebrated, but the english-speaking world keeps spurning them. This part is even better than the first, and while not quite as nice as the old school adventures of yesteryear, it’s a clear peak for modern adventures.

    In the english speaking world adventures have been dead since back in the days, i guess it’s for the better as people somehow seem unable to enjoy them there. This game scored a solid 90 in germanies biggest PC-gaming magazine, and it deserves it. Naysayers gonna naysay i guess.

  28. S.Katze says:

    This “review” is completely bollocks. It’s full of factual mistakes (saying this second installment is shorter than the first one, when in fact it is at the very least twice as long), and don’t get me started on the politically correct gender crap. And oh my god, they are doing a parody on people with a speech impediment! How can they!!!111 Seriously, someone hates Germans, methinks.

    Instead of reading this crappy, biased article, why don’t you watch this Let’s Play and decide for yourself if the game is completely hilarious or crap.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ctRhAYQq32U&list=ELrSTNLdZU-f0&index=1&feature=plpp_video

  29. Uthred says:

    John makes some good points in the article and as others have said here sexism, etc. shoud absolutely be called out and condemend. On the other hand John is not the almight arbiter of what is and isnt sexist, there’s room for reasonable discussion around the points being raised without one side screaming “misogyny” and the other screaming “PC!”

  30. bartosh says:

    Maby i’m just not sensitive enuff, but i totally didn’t get any sexist vibe while playing it.

    Each personality aspect may be cliche , but i think it was an interesting way to develop a character we honestly haven’t even met as a whole yet. by systematically exploring each vice and virtue of her. before finally meeting the real her( I assume.)

    MY main complaint with the game was Rufus.

    in the first game Rufus is likable-unlikable.
    it this one, hes just unlikable.

    in the last game you saw a subtle character arc with him. hes a jerk, but as the story goes on he has moments that you can start sympathizing with him( defending himself in jail, learning about his abandonment as a child, explain to the Villain why he wants to leave so bad ext.) and at the end he preforms a selfless redeeming good act costing him his dreams, to save the world he hates.

    I loved it, normally protagonist in adventure games are static, just colorful avatars for the player, and it seemed like they were trying to change that.

    but in this one, there’s a total character reset. and the gradual changes are destroyed. the selfless act he preformed in the first one ends up doing nothing. and he go’s back to being a total jerk. and stays there. if not worse than before. committing horrible acts : killing baby dolphins, torturing the homeless, striking the girl he fell in love with ,with lightning.

    and ultimately suffers no repercussion for it.

    I guess what bothers me about the review is that I genuinely enjoyed the story and setting from the first that he wrote off as just humdrum . i was seriously willing to put deponia above monkey island on my list of point and click adventures. and saw a lot of potential in it.

    i still don’t think its as horrible as he makes it out to be, its fun. I just ended up hating the character the last game made me like.

  31. Oxymoron says:

    Let me guess, John: You played Harvey’s new Eyes and liked it. That’s why there is no Wot I Think to Daedalics best game. :3

  32. actuallyalice says:

    I know this article is ages old but I can’t help myself; I am so flummoxed by this discussion that I have to comment.

    I am a woman. Is anyone else here also female? I assume “John” isn’t, which makes me feel funny about his handwringing. (It’s nice that he’s sensitive and all but this is kind of a tempest in a teapot and doesn’t relate at all to any of the daily problems that I deal with as a woman in America, like the fact that I would need to travel 10 hours to get an abortion if god forbid I were raped. You know: actual massive battles that need to be fought.) You see, I am pretty solidly a feminist. And, though I have only played the first game, I had no problem with it. Of course I need to play the second — which I am looking forward to doing, the first one was good despite some translation issues, loved the art! — but the sexism was OBVIOUSLY part of the point in the first one. It was so clearly a meta-satire on how women are portrayed in video games; I read it as utterly taking aim at the typical poor portrayal and making some good points about it. For God’s sake, the “love” interest is named “goal”. GOAL. She is literally the “goal” of the game (as women are in so many games), not a real person, much less representative of women or what the game designers think about women. The gamemakers (or at least the translators) are aware of this; they named her Goal so everyone else would be, too, and would realize that they were using a humorous format to make some commentary.

    The personality thing in game 2 sounds a bit dodgy from this review but I am not going to write off the game until I encounter it in context. Because the first game wasn’t sexist; it was exposing sexism in games and it was supposed to be clear because everything else about the game’s worldview is also skewed. Maybe the second game steps over that line… but honestly, I don’t know. This entire post and thread has given me that dizzy confusion that one gets when someone ignorant undergrad reads Swift and becomes genuinely upset that they have been forced to study the vile works of an evil baby killer.

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