Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Something Stronger Than A Hero (Pt. 2)

First Part of the Series Here.

Awhile ago I had a character crisis, and to get out of it I started this series on the ingredients of a hero. In order to get a clear scope, I examined 2 my favorite video game characters, Link and Ezio. Today, I'm looking at the next two - Hawke and Six.
P.S. If you haven't played Dragon Age II or Halo Reach, there are SPOILERS in this post. Be warned.


Dragon Age II is an RPG, so you can choose to be male or female; rogue, warrior, or mage. There are also lots of different dialogue options, so you can choose to be nice, snarky, or direct. So how is Hawke, in and of him(her)self, a hero?

Hawke is a refugee in a city overrun by people fleeing their home country. He works hard to make a fortune, and becomes well known in the process. Then he stops an invasion of the city before it can begin, earning himself Champion status. Finally, he either protects the mages of the city or destroys them, landing himself in Hero of the World status - my title, not the game's. :)

So what makes Hawke a hero? It's not the personality, gender, or fighting tactics - those are all versatile in the game. In this case, I'd have to go with sheer skill and adaptability. This doesn't always work as well in literature - games need to give gamers incentive to play on, and crushing defeat rarely works well - but there is something rewarding about reading a scene where your hero just rocks a challenge.

Noble Six:

How to describe Noble Six? Stoic. But hey, Halo Reach is a FPS, not an RPG! It's about killing aliens, not characterization!
Thankfully, Bungie realized that some characterization is still needed, even for a one-game hero in the prequel to the Halo series. Introducing Noble Six, the sixth member of the Noble Team.

We don't know much about Six before he joins the team. His case file is highly classified, he's qualified, and he mostly accepts orders without smart comments. We also know his situation is an awkward one - Noble Team still regrets the loss of their last team member, and they resent the new guy at first.

So what makes Six a hero? For this one, I'd have to say it's his situation.

He's competent, straightforward, and brave. Good enough, but hardly an intriguing protagonist. His situation, however, is filled with emotional impact. He's on a planet that the player knows is going to fall to the aliens, and we follow Noble Team through that horrifying revelation as they watch everyone they know and care about die. The other team members are highly characterized (for an FPS), and the attachment is to the team. In such dire circumstances, Six's sheer ability to keep calm and do his job makes him a hero.

What qualities do you hate in your heroes? Love? Need?


Sangu said...

I can't stand heroes who can do anything and everything. The ones who are so perfect that even when they screw up it's somehow worked out all for the best anyway. And I especially hate the ones who THINK they know best and act like arrogant idiots (I just wanted the I AM NUMBER FOUR movie and hated, hated, hated the main character, so a lot of this is a rant against him, ha!)

Christina Lee said...

I need some vulnerability in my heroes to show that they are in fact, "human" :D! Love those names (hubz plays Halo)!

Marsha Sigman said...

I love a good guy who's a little bad.

I hate a hero who is too sensitive. I really think I am around too many

The Golden Eagle said...

I agree--while heroes must have their weaknesses, it is nice to have a character win now and then. :)

Donna K. Weaver said...

I love that you're using established video game characters to make your point.

Jenna Cooper said...

I'm kind of over the dark, tortured soul of heroism. Not that there can't be dark things in his past, but just...over-emphasizing it is just melodramatic.

I need a reason to root for him in the end, whether if it's for his cause or his selflessness or anything else.

Lisa Gail Green said...

I love your analysis. I think video games really are a good example for many of these things.

Talli Roland said...

Hmm. In my heroes, I like them to be solid and dependable! Interesting video analysis.