Death. There's a cheery old subject to talk about on a sunny Sunday afternoon.
Don't worry, this is Britain: atmospheric rain clouds will blow across the horizon soon enough.) Its a subject we never want to tackle in real life, one that's used far too often in worst kinds of movies and novels to try and add gravitas into a story (and usually handled pretty poorly).
Then there's death in video games. (I'm ignoring the Everest-sized mountain of dead from decades of shooters. We're talking story-driven exits here).
It's a subject that I've been mulling over for some weeks now, but for the simple reason of avoiding spoilers cannot mention the games that have lead me to think about it so much. For those yet to play certain recent titles, it's unfair, and a little early to cover them for a Generation's Greatest article (but they will come). So I'll talk about another death equally as effecting from this generation: your own in Halo: Reach (sorry if you've yet to play the now near-three year old title).
As a prequel to the original trilogy, the planet Reach's demise had already been common knowledge in the canon of the Halo universe for years. The alien Covenant find it, and systematically torch it, wiping out human population centres and anything else that moves. And while the fate of Reach's cast of characters, the Spartans from Noble Team, was unknown going into the game, you'd suspected that someone was going to bite the bullet before the credits.
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Yet when Noble started to fall like dominoes late on the game, you saw the concluding arc of the story pretty clearly. Like a slasher movie, it was only a matter of working who was going out next and how. It robbed the game's third act of its surprise. Or so we thought.
'Lone Wolf' is effectively an epilogue to the main campaign. While Bungie fumbled the attempt of showcasing a worldwide war over a sustained period of time, it nailed it's ending. With the last human-manned spaceship set off to the safety of the stars, you alone are left on a dying planet with a world full of aliens out for your blood. Bungie almost mock the situation in flashing up the mission's single objective on screen: "SURVIVE."
Amongst the ruins of a destroyed city, would-be-killers looming out of the murk, you try. And ultimately, you fail. No wise-cracking marines, no squad members backing you up. You go out alone, but you go out fighting. Your visor starts to crack, and as you're downed the game transitions to a cinematic as you watch Noble Six go out swinging.
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It's an epic conclusion to the game and Bungie's time with the series. It proved you didn't need to go big to go out strong. One lone wolf's fight - our fight - was all it took.