I hope this won't get me banned, but it's something that this review left me wanting to express (and really, it's not negative to Yahtzee in any way).
First of all - thank you, Yahtzee! I'm a PC gamer and an older one at that, so I remember when PC gaming was this silly thing that people did with work machines, an extension of the home computer era of Britain. These days though it seems to have become some circlejerk master race thing which borders on being Imperialist. Occasionally I think that PC gamers could use a good kick to the head to make them realise that they're not better, and really not that different, than anyone else.
I've had trouble fitting in with PC gamers simply because, yes, many of them do fit in with this trope. They're pseudo-intellectuals, and they seem to ascribe to the belief that simply having a PC puts them on a better social rung than someone who doesn't, which in and of itself reminds me of the classism I've seen in the UK (how privately housed people treat council housed people, for example). I just think that it's a facetious extension of that, since it's mostly British people I see propagating this PC master race nonsense (and I'm British, too). This worries me.
So really, yes, a good damn kick to the head is necessary, occasionally, just to point out that PC gaming is not the be all and end all of gaming. And anyone who'd forego an experience like Okami or Ratchet & Clank just because it's on a console is only robbing themselves.
The other thing I'm happy to see ridiculed is the dark fantasy pap we've had to endure. There were some parts of Tolkien's works that fully embodied dark fantasy and did so really well, but what amuses me is that this 'dark fantasy' we're seeing in games isn't really dark at all. It's... how to explain this? It's the cheerirer moments of Tolkien's works, such as the shire, overlaid with a GTA sheen. It's gritty, there's a this essence of "Keepin' it real!", and trying to be nothing more than a medieval fantasy setting where people are dicks.
That's not what dark fantasy is.
And really I think that gaming was better when it wasn't trying to do dark fantasy. The greatest moments of RPG history, for me, weren't particularly dark. Black humour, sure, but not dark. Planescape: Torment, Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magicks Obscura, Anachronox, Fallout 2, and so on. Then there were those entries that were just gloriously strange, like Uru and the earlier Japanese RPGs (Shining Force, Phantasy Star, Skies of Arcadia, et cetera). Those really were memorable.
In fact, I can only really think of one game which might have been genuinely attributable to what dark fantasy actually is, and that's Mask of the Betrayer, an expansion pack for Neverwinter Nights. That was genuinely dark. It had all sorts of ethical conundrums, it dealt with losing yourself, your identity, and whether you'd become a monster just to keep your memories; it dealt with the wall of the faithless, a construction of endless suffering where the souls of those who don't choose a god go to be picked apart; it deals with how a group of witches had taken the realm of dreams as their own and twisted it to their own dark desires to live in, and how that managed to corrupt and harm the spirits who lived there; it dealt with ethnic hatred; it dealt with religion; it dealt with xenophobia versus acceptance; it dealt with love, hatred, jealousy, and it handled all of these topics with a degree of grace and panache that I hadn't seen before and may never see again.
By comparison, to call something like Dragon Age a dark fantasy is a joke. It's more of a 'gritty fantasy,' as I described it. Just the shire meets GTA. It's not particularly impressive and certainly not clever. I'm just waiting for RPGs to stop trying to be 'kewl' so that they can go back to being clever, and then I can enjoy them again. "Be who you are, not what you think you should be to appeal to the masses." has never applied to anything like it applies to the modern RPG.
Oh, and Ultima VII really should be on my list of silly RPGs that I loved, too. Anything that has a Unicorn that gives the entire party laughs at the expense of the player by accusing the player of being a virgin, or has a merry little gay fox in a large, bright bow who likes to talk about how pretty he is, or has a farmer who's been labeled as crazy because of claims that a ship had crashed in one of his fields (which it actually had - a ship from the Wing Commander Universe, no less), is okay by me.
I miss RPGs being like that. :|
I know, I know... just getting old.
And Morrowind should've been on my list of strange RPGs. It wasn't dark but it was magnificent... I'll never forget the first time I looked up and saw my first silt strider, or the strange jellyfish creatures I encountered when scouting the swamps, or tackling the Ministry of Truth floating high above vivec. That game was so amazingly exotic in its visuals, its architecture, and even its people. By comparison Oblivion was something of a let down.