What's better: friendships, or interrupting conversations?
The quest to find the single best thing in video games continues
Last time, you decided that controlled critical hits are better than random critical hits. It was a mistake to compare similar things, but we tried, and I did get to make some very expensive graphics. Then a load of things happened and disrupted this process for several weeks, and... I return partially inspired by all that plan-breaking mess. Tell me, what's better: friendships, or interrupting conversations?
I like when people are friends. Oh sure, romance is always popular (y'all decided that it's even better than de_dust2) and mega-budget games have lately been enamoured with familial responsibilities redeeming deadly dads, but it's friendships I most crave. Give me folks who like and care about each other enough to hang out, chat, lark about, and be there for each other simply because they want to.
Friends come in all forms. A voice in our ear. A person wandering around our world. Text in our inbox. A compansion by our side in battle. And we're just friends, and it's nice. My favourite moment in all Mass Effect is taking a breather during ME3's war to shoot bottles (and the breeze) with Garrus, two pals nearing the end of a wild ride. I also like when adversaries become dear friends, like The Narrator in The Stanley Parable (I'm particularly thinking of the Ultra Deluxe Edition's newness) or GLaDOS in Portal 2. I don't need friendships to be tracked with stats, it's just nice when people are friends. Lately I've been playing Watch Dogs 2, and it's nice seeing those Hackers idiots chumming about. And I'm going to say it: yes, I'm even here for the frustrating and much-mocked Daikatana voiced error line, "I can't leave without my buddy Superfly." Of course Hiro can't leave without Superfly Johnson; they're buddies.
Hey, shut up. No. Stop. I'm done. This conversation is over. And not in the sense that we've all finished what we were saying and now I'm choosing to make this silence permanent, I mean LA LA LA HEY, I'M TALKING NOW. Actual interruption is rare in video games but always a joy.
Normally I wouldn't lead with an example beyond PC gaming, but Capcom are monsters so I have no choice. The best interrupts are in Asura's Wrath, a 2012 console game about jackass demigods, where you can cut short the monologue cutscenes of several bosses by telling them to shut up and punching them in the face. It is perfect. Mass Effect has lesser punches, too. Oxenfree's interruptions give a lively flow to conversation. And while Fallout 4 isn't my bag, I was delighted to discover that skipping through dialogue is reflected in-world by our character hurrying people along with uh huhs and quips, complete with special lines for when you're drunk. Interrupts are exciting steps to make video game dialogue feel more natural but reader dear, you should've shouted SHUT UP and hit me by now.
But which is better?
Interruptions might be rare now but if we do eventually decide they're the best thing in video games, then surely almost every game will include them going forwards, because why wouldn't you want the best thing? That might be a bit too intense. Maybe I'll settle for nice friendships. They are nice.
Pick your winner, vote below, make your case in the comments, then we'll reconvene next week to see which thing stands triumphant—and continue the great contest.