It is not given to heroes to know whether their sacrifice was not in vain. They don’t know if they saved the world. They just have to believe.
… Well, isn’t it a bastard?
Church, Red vs. Blue
When authors react painfully to criticism, this is understandable.Deponia Doomsday
For a truly creative person, his work is his child. When an author spends years telling a specific story with a specific ending, putting their whole soul into it, and as a result, the so-called “fans” bombard him with letters of insults and call the ending far-fetched garbage with unnecessary tragedy for the sake of unnecessary tragedy – it’s no wonder get angry. It is not surprising to be disappointed both in the fans and in the very idea of creating something for these ungrateful assholes. Go to Twitter or Facebook, pour out all your anger in a bile post, get drunk, and forget. Yes, this behavior is understandable. This behavior can be forgiven. You can even agree with him. But people who act differently deserve respect and admiration. People like Jan “Pokey” Müller-Michaelis.
When fans didn’t accept his author’s vision by swearing (well deservedly) at the end of the Deponia trilogy, Pokey took all his grudges with malice and used them as fuel. He was inspired by destructive emotions, turned them into a constructive channel, and created his best, deepest game. The fourth part of the Deponia trilogy.
But a constructive channel is a constructive channel, and Poki does not even hide his acrimony. “What, you don’t like open endings? – he says at first figuratively, and then quite literally (fortunately, all the chapters of “Deponia” begin with songs performed by the creator). – Good. They asked for it themselves. Remember how Rufus sacrificed himself to save Elysium? See how this beautiful flying ship falls to the ground, engulfed in flames, right in the opening credits. Do you still want me to continue? Let me guess: yes, you do. And no matter what I say, you will continue to believe: this time everything will end well … But what is the matter with you ?!”
In essence, Deponia Doomsday is a ten-hour letter from the author to his audience, exploring in detail their complex relationship. Pokey analyzes and mocks both the audience and himself, the cloying of happy endings and the obsessive artificiality of sad endings, the meaninglessness of endless series and the stupidity of mandatory dots. The author may not repent of what he did with his characters, but still gives a voice to both sides of the conflict and, most surprisingly, does not try to make the fans who offended him wrong.
But no matter how strong the meta-component of the work (and here it is not just strong – it is the basis of the game and the only reason for existence), and Deponia Doomsday is also a new part of the adventures of Rufus and Goal on a junkyard planet named Deponia. How so? Where does Rufus, who at the end of the last part fly from a height that does not fit with plans for a long life, get new adventures? Well, let’s start with the fact that throughout the series Rufus fell more than once or twice (when Deponia is criticized for a bunch of repetitive plot moves, there is a grain of truth in the claims), but this did not stop him before.
However, this time, of course, that is not the case. The fact is that Deponia Doomsday is a game about time travel. Parallel universes and time machines are two of the surest scenario tools when you need to fix the irreparable, and other comrades who are quick to punish could accuse Pokey of simply not having smarter ideas. But firstly, as already mentioned, this is the whole essence of the fourth “Deponia” – this is a meta-analysis of what happened to the fans of the series and their attempts to somehow turn back the clock, rewriting the ending at least in their thoughts. And secondly, having taken up the topic of time travel, the author broke away so much that by the end of the adventure, the brain begins to boil from famously twisted cause-and-effect relationships.
Since Deponia has always been a crazy comedy with a fair amount of parody and absurdity, in the new part, Poki did not even try to drive himself into the framework of some clear rules. Oh, don’t think badly: this does not mean that the story in the game is poorly thought out, quite the contrary. But why stick to one set of rules when you can change them as the need arises, sometimes for comedic effect, sometimes to take the story in a more interesting direction? Best of all, this logic is shown by the world outside of time and space, where the owners of all kinds of time machines flock. It soon becomes clear that those machines not only look different, but also work on different laws: some allow you to change the present, others allow you to perform only those predetermined actions that led to the appearance of this present.
A famously twisted plot that makes the most of a given topic is not the only advantage of the script. Another important help is the characters. The roster of characters in the saga has been filled with many interesting side characters, including a trio of adorable (and delicious) sentient nuts and the first central character since Goal who can stand Rufus. However, even though Daedalic seems to have come up with more interesting participants for Deponia Doomsday than for all past games combined (for sure this is not so, but it feels like that), the duet of Goal and Rufus again becomes the real property of the series.
Deponia Doomsday, as if mocking (although why “as if”?), Throws one of the best romantic couples in the history of video games with new, often simply cruel tests, but even in the darkest moments they are a pleasure to look at. Goal, thanks to temporary perturbations, manages to appear before the players in a whole bunch of incarnations that help to better reveal her character. And Rufus… Rufus seems to have finally grown up. Even though it took him hundreds of thousands of lives to do this, in the end he… no, he hasn’t changed. No, he hasn’t stopped being selfish. But he began to treat others with that minimum of sympathy and understanding, without which it was so difficult for him to sympathize before. Sometimes he even asks permission before killing someone to solve another puzzle! Well, in general, he tries to do so,
As for the gameplay, there really isn’t much to say about it. Like the previous parts of the series, Deponia Doomsday is an excellent quest with a user-friendly interface and interesting, mostly logical and not too difficult puzzles. The game, unfortunately, only a couple of times uses flirting with time as an element of puzzles, but each case is remembered for a long time. Even bugs – the usual evil in the works of Daedalic Entertainment – are almost not noticed here (they were in the review release, and serious ones, but the corrected version has already gone on sale).
In short, Deponia Doomsday is a quest that is chic in every way. Characters, humor, story, meta-context, duration, UI, gameplay, graphics, music, voice acting… A masterpiece as it is, especially if you love past parts. But Goodbye Deponia was also awesome right up to the last minutes, but the ending turned out to be so bad that the authors had to make a whole new game because of it.
Knowing this, it would be unwise to end the review again without talking about the ending. After all, this is “the most important part of the story,” as Johnny Depp taught us. Did Pokey fix the Deponia ending? Did he make it worse? It is about this that will be written further, and with spoilers – there is no other way. So good advice to those who want to enjoy the plot of Deponia Doomsday on their own (and believe me, it’s worth it): close this text immediately. There will be nothing interesting for you below – except for the “Awesome” medal, of course, but you can also admire it in some other review.
About the final
Did Pokey fix the Deponia ending?.. It’s a tough question that can’t be answered with a simple “yes” or “no”. Not in the way fans would like, that’s for sure. Judging by the individual scenes of the quest, the author even understands that we want a very definite thing – a happy ending in the love story of two specific characters. But to go on about the audience is clearly not his way. Instead, Pokey spent the entire game not fixing it, but explaining his chosen ending. To help the audience come to terms with it. And he succeeded in at least one thing: if earlier the sad ending literally popped up out of nowhere in the last minutes of a many-hour narrative, now they are systematically leading to it throughout the game, explaining it from both philosophical and plot points of view. With the latter, however, it turns out somehow: the game quite seriously claims
Yes, instead of apologizing for the brick that was dropped on the heads of the fans last time, Pokey picked up this brick, shook it off, slowly took aim and smacked it between the eyes. Beautiful, spectacular, but still painful. Of course, there are still images running during the credits, showing the consequences of numerous time paradoxes created during the adventure – they can perhaps be considered a true happy ending, especially since the Goal and Rufus line from Deponia Doomsday (which are not Goal and Rufus from the first three parts) finds its end there, and not in the final cutscene. But Pokey did not bother to explain what happens to paradoxical realities after the disappearance of the paradox, and consciously prioritized the way he set them, so no matter how much you want, it’s not an easy task to consider the ending as a happy ending.
…Although you know what? Anything is better than “And in the end, Goal ended up with the asshole Clytus” from the third “Deponia”.