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Hokkaido’s inferno – Empaty in videogames

The world of assassination trilogy is most probably my favorite video game ever. Is the only one that I have ever finished and I played so much of it that it is probable I’ll get sick of it soon.

Yet there is no way I can be bored of it since they add new missions and they recently added the freelancer gameplay. I don’t think it will last forever but in the lifespan that this game will have there is more than enough for hours and days of gameplay.

The greatness of this game stands with his main character. 47 is arguably one of the best videogames characters ever created. Is just a killing machine and yet he is able to have great interactions. There is a line of dialogue in Chongqing that happens just if you start the mission close to a girl on a bridge.

This dialogue shows us how incredibly pragmatic and profound 47 can become but here today I have to speak about an interaction I had during a side mission that really destroyed my heart.

The mission in question is Patient Zero, it is played in Hokkaido and is the final mission of the side campaign of the same name. I am not a fan of the Hokkaido map, it is in my opinion too small if related with other maps but this mission is fantastic.

If you play the mission for the first time you could think that the target of the mission is to kill Owen Cage, the man with the virus and his doctor. Those are the only two people who know how to produce the virus. But if you go through the first playthrough you realize that it ain’t so simple.

The target of the mission is the virus. It needs to be extinguished at all costs, even if it is a human cost so the moment the mission starts there is a ticking clock that inevitably runs to zero and it is not the one to finish the mission. There is no time limit for that.

When I first played I ran my way through the map, trying to reach the guy and killing him in the most stealth way possible.

This is the fact. I don’t like to rush. I prefer to be safe than sorry so I knock out who I can and then I think about the targets in complete safety so I approach the mission in the same way as I always do. Sneaking behind the guards on the helipad then grabbing the pipe and reaching the bathroom in the surgery theater where the Owen Cage was being checked.

Ready to kill him, I silently leave the bathroom when something happens. The target rooster just updated. There was one infected person now a new target that needed to be eliminated by every means necessary.

The target was a nurse whose only crime had been to pass too close to the infected man and now she was a target, now her life had a ticking clock. She had to be killed but I had to deal with the big man himself before it so I entered the room and shot him. He was now dead. He wasn’t a threat anymore.

But before the nurse I had to deal with the doctor. That was quite easy but even there I couldn’t enjoy the moment much. While the bullet left my pistol and entered his cranium the target rooster got updated again. The nurse just infected a guard.

At that moment my heart stopped. The weight of that ticking clock was way higher than I thought. That nurse was now a timebomb and the man too.

I ran up the stairs and I reached him. He was just a guard, just an innocent man that had the decency of waking up that morning but he found himself in the wrong moment at the wrong time. Used as a weapon for a destiny he wasn’t guilty of.

I am not ashamed of saying that killing had been difficult for me but nonetheless I did it so I had to go to the other room where the nurse was staying. She was about to live, about to go to the main hospital where hundreds of people were. If she even dared crossing that door it would be it. It would be over, the virus would be unstoppable so there was a decision to make. Allowing her to come back home and pass her final days with her companion if she ever had one or killing her there and putting an end to her miseries, saving the world in the process.

I didn’t even know her, I didn’t even have intel about her. She was just about to disappear and nobody would have known what would have happened to her. When I entered the room she gave me a kinky remark, many npc do it and that was a flirting remark. She wasn’t happy when I raised my weapon. She was in fear. She begged me not to kill her but there was no other choice.

As a matter of respect I decided I would let somebody find her so I shot my unsilenced pistol and guards came out immediately after I hid myself into a closer box. The mission had been accomplished but I was empty inside.

A quick quirk to this mission is that it would have been perfect if i would have the choice to finish the mission without killing the nurse and the guard. It would have added that level of choice into the mix. It would have put a weight on the scale of life and 47 knows a lot about this.

I usually don’t find killing civilians so involved in other missions but all this setting got me so much that I had to share my experience. It had been touching and even more since this mission came out way before the real life covid pandemic and I played the game during the first lockdown.

I felt this playthrough way more personal than I have ever done. It was exactly what the world was going through and Owen Cage was the representation of all those covid deniers who put people in danger.

This has been the best mission I had ever played in a video game.


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