Aevee Reviews The Destiny Flavor Text
I love it when it’s a little short story right there, and this one even has character development. The implied second person suggests it’s you, the player (or character), who’s this sort of person. It’s Hunter equipment and they’re supposed to be lone wolf explorers who have a purposefully cool flair, that I am sure is more specifically articulated in some Bungie design doc about the mood Hunters should exude. Designers will convey those themes through creating abilities and actions for them that convey this attitude. Narrative grants it through flavor text. The economy of these two sentences does so much—it puts you off in the howling loneliness, tells you how even you sometimes miss company, while reminding you how you’re too cool to ever let them know that. It’s vulnerable and coy at the same time: and being secretly vulnerable is the most important part of being cool!
Okay I think I have a rule for flavor text: good flavor text makes me want to find out the context. Bad flavor text is incoherent without it. The key to being intriguing is creating a funny or sad or weird enough gem without knowing the meaning of the proper nouns that it makes you curious enough to find out what those proper nouns are. There are ten words here and only three of them are the quote. I didn’t even understand the joke of the quote at first because of how busy the attribution is, because I’m so obviously missing the context for the attribution I thought there might be something more to the quote as well. While I don’t mind the breadcrumbing of attributing quotes to proper names I haven’t heard before, the point is to be interesting enough for me to care who these people are, not give me a line that’s mostly relevant only if I know who they are first. The “Renegade Hunter” part attempts to build some context but it’s too generic, and Shin Malphur, whoever the heck he is, isn’t any more interesting as a Renegade Hunter as he would be as anything else.
Also, “The Last Word,” as a phrase, refers to the last words of an argument, so the quote “Yours…not mine” almost makes it sound like the guy he shot got the last word of the argument? Yes, the joke is supposed to be “those are your last words” but we always say “those were his last words,” with the plural, to refer to words spoken before death, because it would be kind of hilarious to ask what someone’s last single word was? I’m nitpicking! But there’s no room for error when you’ve got only ten words!
I love the Ahamkara gear so much, but this is the best one, and it doesn’t even need setup or context because the experience of having the armor talk to you is so sudden and clear. Another good rule might be: a single proper noun is negligible, and especially in this case since you know they’re obviously some kind of dead creature due to the image and text indicating the equipment is made from its bones. This line is so sneaky! And the most clever and scary thing about the text is that it gives you the sense of auditory hallucination itself by seamlessly transitioning from rote description to the equipment literally talking to you! The “oh bearer mine” line is such a stark contrast to the dictionary tone of the words before it—it’s seductive, eloquent, and personal, and these are also all the things that are most creepy to suddenly find in your brain. The written word is amazing in that you can use it to plant thoughts in someone else’s brain, and we tend not to be conscious of how creepy that could be, which is why the move of drawing attention to it is so striking. The words even feel like they have a tone of voice, a sound like a knowing smile, and it’s because you and the dead creature now know the same thing: plating the bones in silver surely isn’t working well.
Runner up for best Ahamkara gear goes to the development name and description for Bones of Eao, for achieving a similar effect. Only Warlocks and Hunters have Ahamkara gear, and the text tends to imply it’s because Warlocks are dedicated to understanding these weird and terrifying mysteries and Hunters are cocky and reckless enough to wear them just to one-up the Warlocks. It’s cute. The Sealed Ahamkara Grasps are Hunter gear, of course—I bet someone thought she’d found a clever way around them. See how I can just spin inferred stories out of these hanging threads? That’s fascinating for readers (and useful for writers).
Rating: Good Wordfeel
If you’re going to make up a word, make it out of real words! “Entheogen” an obscure but real word that describes chemical substances used for inducing hallucinations or altered states for the purpose of spiritual or religious practice, which apparently is a thing that wearing this helmet can cause. I love the mixture of theology and technology Destiny establishes, and it’s because of items like this, but also and especially I love the idea that you might have to have, just lying around, a needle full of a substance specifically designed to stop religious hallucinations, which is on a different level altogether than something like, say, “prone to overheating” or “avoid getting wet.” Instead it’s: “Don’t get too ecstatic about the divine while wearing this.” Runner up is the boots from this set, which declaim there is “very little risk they will become permanently attached to your skin.” This is also Hunter armor by the way, which might come as little surprise now, and that’s called character development. Titan gear: myths and legends. Warlock gear: secrets and revelations. Hunter gear: just wearing this will kill you—but I guess you already put it on, huh.