Choice in video games are part of what developers can use to to bring players deeper into the game. Make us more invested as we now play a role in the game, rather than a spectator hitting the buttons to progress. We control how the story will progress and end. Just this is not always the case. There are the games that give the illusion of choice. Or give a choice that is merely a footnote to the larger picture. We’re taking a look at some of these choices that ultimately end up being Pointless.
10. Act in Kissing Scene (Tokyo Mirage Sessions)
The crossover title between Shin Megami Tensei and Fire Emblem. This game was sublime mixture of the two series. Focusing on the beloved game play to the Shin Megami Tensei games with the flavor as Fire Emblem Characters as Persona and Bosses. Not to say other Shin Megami and Persona games are not devoid of pointless choices. But I never had the run of trying to outright deny and avoid the outcome that was being forced upon me. The decision I am referring to happens with the Acting portion of the game. Tsubaki is learning the art as part of her idol training. In the moment before facing the boss she must prove her merit in the skill. The main protagonist of the player is forced to partake in acting out a scene. I clearly remember running through the dialogue option multiple times refusing, mostly out of my own personal reasons. But still the denial was futile as I never really had the choice.
9. Joining B.L.A.D.E (Xenoblade Chronicles X)
Games that focus so heavily on the notion of choice are typically very entertaining ventures that bring out dynamic relationships and well-crafted personalities. You’ll most commonly find this in JRPG’s or Telltale games, but where you won’t find it is Xenoblades Chronicles X. In an almost insulting show of deviation, the beginning stages of the game would have you believe that an important, character defining moment is upon the player. The option is presented for you to either join the task force B.L.A.D.E or to avoid such a organization and live out your life in New Los Angeles. This is followed by the supporting characters guilt tripping you and game forcing you to join in with the ranks of B.L.A.D.E. Even after making such a huge deal about how “this choice will define you”. Shoddy to say the least.
8. Accept or Refuse G-Man’s Offer (Half-Life)
Sometimes, choices in video games become pointless because a game later in the series discounts the choice as not being canon. Half-Life has a small example of this with its two different endings. At the end of the game, the G-Man, who you’ve seen pop up every once and a while throughout the adventure, offers Gordon Freeman a mysterious opportunity. He doesn’t really elaborate on what it is, but he makes it known that refusing it will have major consequences for you. But we know because of Half-Life 2 that Freeman accepted the G-Man’s offer, so refusing is rendered pointless as a result. On top of that, refusing basically puts you in a room with a bunch of enemies before fading to black. It’s extremely anti-climatic (hell, the G-Man even calls it that), and makes the decision just seem clumsy and unnecessary.
7. Be Nice or Cruel to Conrad (Mass Effect)
Here’s something a little different – a choice that’s pointless due to the developers making a mistake. In Mass Effect, you can meet a character named Conrad Verner, Commander Shepard’s number one fan. As you might expect, you can choose to either act like a nice guy or threaten him with a gun to back off. However, due to a programming error, if you act nice to Verner, the game accidentally checks off flags for both the Paragon and Renegade choices. If you import a save with both flags checked into Mass Effect 2, Verner will always act like you pointed a gun at his face, even if you didn’t. This is something that can be fixed by altering the game’s code, but the fact remains that the choice is still, literally, pointless. But hey, at least Bioware made fun of this in Mass Effect 3, assuming Verner survives.
6. Ending Routes (Deus Ex: Human Revolution)
Human Revolution broke into a deep conspiracy with the Illuminati. That took Adam Jensen on the path to finding the culprits behind a terrorist attack and the survival of those thought dead during the act. The ending can seem odd; Even more so with the knowledge that a direct sequel to Jensen’s story was created. The ending consists of 3 choices each given by different people from within the game: Hugh Darrow, William Taggart, and David Sarif. These options being available if the corresponding quest lines were completed. With the extra addition of a Self-Destruct option, that follows none of the advice of the men. The choice ultimately decides what cut-scene is shown at the end of the game. No matter which route these endings seem to be the end to Adam Jensen as well. Whatever choice is made is ultimately forgotten by the time of Mankind Divided. Even if the sequel is following one of the choices consequences. The act of choosing that route has been lost to players.