“Not Another Hero” is a story about people with superpowers, except we’re not one of them. No, we’re a member of a government unit meant to keep superpowered people in check.
Here’s the setup. The emergence of superpowers, in this story, has led to the superhero/supervillain scenarios that comic books have led us to expect; but then powers went crazy, a great number of ordinary people were hurt, and now the government has implemented somewhat draconian measures to ensure this doesn’t happen again.
The story is presented in ChoiceScript. We follow our hero from their first reaction to the watershed incident, through their initiation into the government unit, to the moral dilemma of simply doing their job and dealing with the powered “anomalies”. It does not feel as though the story is finished, however. Characters and situations are introduced, but never resolved; the final chapter involves a situation that feels more like the setup of a mystery thriller than anything else, something that we ought to spend several chapters investigating. So I guess we’re playing an introduction rather than a full game … well, fair enough. The game as it stands feels fairly substantial already, and the full thing might be too large for the comp. We have enough that we can identify the questions, even if we cannot see the answers.
I’m not entirely sure how much of an effect a lot of my choices had on the story. Leading as it all does to a single ending, which presumably would actually be the middle-act climax in the full thing, it’s hard to see where we might have been going or what the actual focus is going to end up actually being.
The characters seem well-imagined and well-defined. Again, one feels as though character development is only just taking off when the available story ends. Still, that’s not too big a deal: we know, even without the handy character bios, what these people are like, and the diversity adds to the sense of being part of a team.
Something needs to be said about the theme of the story, I suppose. It’s the idea of corralling undesirable people and herding them into internment–c’mon, you know those “monitored neighborhoods” are just a codeword for “internment camp”, right?–or studying them in labs. On the one hand, it’s not a lot different from the anti-semitic policies of Nazi Germany; on the other, the abilities of these anomalies really do constitute a very real and possible threat–people die when these powers get out of hand. At the end of the story we’re given, suspicious background shenanigans seem to imply that some of this “threat” might have been manipulated and engineered; I wouldn’t be surprised if the initial watershed incident turned out to have been engineered as well, though I really hope not. It would be nice to be able to explore a moral dilemma without the easy excuse of “the Conspiracy was behind it all”. There again, it could also be a study of how the fear of a threat can be amplified in service to a discriminatory political agenda.
What would you do?
Well, I would have breakfast, because I am not making any moral decisions on an empty stomach. Steak and eggs, the former very flavourful but also rather tough and chewy. It’s not something that’ll go down easily, but it’s actually kind of pleasant to just sit and chew, chew, chew away. Nothing to drink, unfortunately. Maybe some other time, when we’re less filled-up: the portions are pretty generous as they are.