I haven’t played Where the Water Tastes Like Wine but there’s apparently some positive southern communist writing in it.
Arcanum: Steamworks of Magick Obscura is a CRPG with a lot of choices and angles of approach, so it’s sort of as leftist as you make it, but it does let you do some cool stuff. There’s an orcish civil rights radical you can help, and the game in general is one of the best (if not one of the only) games that wields steampunk as a means of examining the industrial revolution and its effects on labor and society. Cool game imo
Arcanum, now there’s a series that could do with a streamlined reboot. It’s got such a cool premise, but I find it unbearable to actually play.
The fact that the narratives of Planescape and Arcanum (tho P:T especially is a lot more hit-n-miss on the politics front) are still trapped in the worst interfaces, tiniest text and most insufferable western RPG systems in the world is an Art Crime.
Divinity OS2 (definitely not a leftist game don’t play it) proved that cRPGs can work wonderfully with a controller, both P:T and Arcanum are agreed upon by most people to have bloated overcomplicated combat they’d be better without/massively stripped down, please let me experience what i know are the only Actually Okay cRPG narratives without having to hunch over a M+KB and/or squint at my screen awkwardly fumbling through filler for hours.
I’d argue that, even with M+KB, Planescape:Torment’s interface and design get in the way of the good bits about it. (But I appear to be allergic to the Baldur’s Gate school of cRPG design, even though allegedly, it should be “my era” of cRPGs, and have always found them to be near-unplayable for all those reasons you mention.)
Oh yeah P:T would need a drastic overhaul of its whole interface and systems to fit a controller and uh, approachable not-shit mechanics. its Enhanced Edition slightly improved the interface in tablet mode, though amazingly they still kept the font size tiny or even tinier than before depending on resolution.
I feel like most people missed these games for their storytelling, and in recent years we realized that that didn’t need to be attached to impenetrable messes of zoomed-out bullshit. We also discovered that traditional cRPGs have been entirely usurped by cryptofascist bullshitters (including Brian Fargo going anti-SJW during Wasteland 2’s production, and rpgc0dex heavily funding/influencing every cRPG kickstarter now) for creepy fantasy fulfillment, so unfortunately the only really well-written/left-leaning ones are these old ones that feel awful to play these days.
Whaaat? I didn’t hear about this! Damn, now I regret backing Wasteland 2 and 3.
Since I’d rather not link directly to the interview he agreed to with breitbart-esque reactionary blog heat street, i’ll quote the excerpt i found in an inxile forum post that’s marginally less bad, if still grossly anti-sex-worker so CW if you look it up. And CW for this godawful passage alone, too:
can’t you smell how fuckin REAL the 40 y.o. white man boy post apoc cowboy video game is with instant universal prostitute venereal disease??? aint tryna preach™, just bein REAL
Incidentally, I discovered this while looking up if WL2 is as creepy about sex shit as i suspected after seeing it implies 16 year olds are “adult” in its character creator (something which Fallout 1 and 2 do, too, and one part of why i defos don’t recommend those as politically/morally decent RPGs either)
I’m sorry, most of my posting here’s been a super downer about what games to avoid. Uh, all i can think of to recommend that hasn’t been mentioned yet is Dead Cells, but that’s more from a production perspective as it was made by anarcho-syndicalists. Assassin’s Creed Origins is also arguably the most sincerely leftist game Ubi’s put out, since Watch Dogs 2 comes with massive caveats despite appearances, even Odyssey tries to retcon all the good (and uh, whole point) of Origins, but conversely Origins’ production involved a lot of digital blackface for most characters besides the protagonist, so take that as you will.
Ugh, thanks for informing me. If you makes you feel better, I feel like most of my posts are either asking about a bad thing that happened or also talking about one. I guess we’ll just be sad together.
I like infinity engine RPGs ¯_(ツ)_/¯ they’re fairly obtuse to go back to now, but them being “zoomed out bullshit” is partially what allowed for such detailed storytelling. keep in mind these games contemporaries were like, still figuring out telling basic stories as well.
the original Assassin’s Creed is a more recent game that’s pretty interesting in this department, by the way. Without spoiling it, the game’s ending is the closest thing to a call to arms/depiction of The Struggle that I’ve seen in a AAA game maybe ever.
I so wish we would have gotten Amsterdam 1666
Isometric’s fine, my problem is that my eyes are marginally not 20/20 and even my partner with very good vision can’t comfortably see most of those games’ text from comfortable sitting distances, esp. when they try to play console versions. My wording was weird since most of them do have a decent in-game zoom function now and most of my issues come down to pure interface, i guess “crowded tiny-text” would be more apt.
it’s an accessibility thing, i like these games when they’re not written by garbo people, that’s why i’m frustrated with this aspect.
I think interface design has moved on a ton since infinity engine was a thing; and, certainly, at the time, it was as much the combination of realtime combat and extremely fiddly interfaces for actually doing anything as the “zoomed out bullshit”. (Plus, the cultural assumption that cRPGs have to have combat, be based on D&D, and have random encounters, really doesn’t work with, specifically, what PS:T is trying to do with story, either, and that’s very much a problem which hasn’t gone away entirely but was much worse in the Infinity Engine era.)
to each their own I guess. I played most of these games for the first time in the early to mid 2000s and didn’t have much problem grasping the game structure (accessibility issues aside; that’s definitely a problem with these older games. I’m colorblind and often have some UI problems myself so I feel you there) but considering for a while these games were the pinnacle of translating the tabletop experience into a computer game, I was pretty impressed at the time.
I think Arcanum (and Planescape as well!) is still absolutely worth playing if you’re interested in an overtly political old RPG, even if you mod out the combat/god-mode yourself or something.
Assassin’s Creed takes wild political swings to fit the lore but it typically goes on side with the more leftist sides of history. Black Flag’s late game is about imperialism and the encroaching threat to the lifestyle of the privateers socialist paradise even when they are trying to settle. Unity is incredibly graphic about the French revolution and doesn’t “both sides” it (Dour “Doomed Lovers from different families” main plot aside. The historical descriptions written by the Historical Archiver, Shaun are super leftist and also delightful to read since they really play up the French/English rivalry in a fun way). Syndicate almost has it with how you are taking down till it makes Churchill allied with the Assassin’s in the flash forward bits (Which can fuck right off). And of course Origins is really good with the encroaching imperialism of the Greek and Roman empires. I mean, compared to the Hawk wet dreams of the Clancy games. AC is a rather interesting path.
Also while current playing Crackdown 3 on game pass. For a game with “No real plot”. It gets very into pro-environmentalism, one of the early game objectives is freeing Refugees and opening a wall and the rebel leader, Echo talks about how hyper-capitalism ruins the world and lectures the very white Agency director about the plight of refugees and climate change quite frequently so that was a huge surprise (I half expect Echo to burst into singing L’ Internationale at some point). Is cop on cop violence OK if your super cop is played by Terry Crews and you are fighting for the sake of restoring rights to the downtrodden by literally blowing up corporations?
Also Crackdown 3 has this which I thought is hilarious.
So, this game looks REALLY interesting. You play a journalist trying to uncover a fascist conspiracy in the making in a 1980s UK-like country. The aesthetic is really appealing to me, and I love the idea of a slow-burn stealth game where you have to build evidence against the oppressors and then expose them with it.
On the one hand, I still have my stance from when they were going to launch The Occupation at the end of last year: Immersive sims have a really bad, almost universally baked-in problem with centrist garbo takes, i’m skeptical of the vague use of language in the marketing, and quoting someone as comparing it to Bioshock Infinite as the first thing on the Steam page is a tad worrying.
On the other hand, I can’t help but think holy shit it’s actually getting released, and a lot of what it’s trying structurally I want to succeed, so hopefully there’s not too much (or uh, any) whataboutism surrounding leftist portrayals n all that.
edit: also Waypoint covered its approach to AI a year n a bit ago, if this game seems familiar
I recently watched the 10 minute gameplay trailer, it looks really interesting, I can’t tell if its a run based game, designed to play over and over or not. But my biggest take away was the PR bad guy was a scouser, i’m from Liverpool and was kind of gutted to see and hear that accent as the bad guy with the city being a left-wing stronghold, but I suppose Esther ‘murderer’ McVey calls/ed Liverpool home
EDIT: “You are the reporter. You decide the narrative” - I just seen this on the amazon page and jeez I do not like the sound of that
finally the video game version of the newsroom we deserve
I have never seen (or even heard of) The Newsroom, how bad is it and what’s it’s deal?