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Reconstructions in video games.

  • Bang Shishigami from BlazBlue started as a Joke Character, essentially showing what would happen if a Stock Shōnen Hero was dumped into a Black-and-Grey Morality Crapsack World. Short answer is he annoys people and gets beat up a lot. But as the series went on, he became increasingly important and powerful due to being one of the few characters Terumi didn't troll to hell and back and possessing the key to stopping the villains' plans. By the time of the third game he's a bit Older and Wiser but no less hammy, genuinely inspires people (including the absurdly jaded Ragna) and helps save the world, for the moment at least, with a Super Saiyan style Theme Music Power-Up moment.
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  • Bloodborne takes every aspect of Gothic Horror that's considered old hat nowadays and makes it scary again, in large part by making sure Not Using the "Z" Word is in full effect so there's no immediate familiarity to latch onto. The Beast Disease turns infectious lycanthropy into a full-blown epidemic that transforms people into what werewolves would look like if they got a healthy dose of Chernobyl radiation, in a way that's permanent, disfiguring, and excruciatingly painful. The Creepy Crows that sit on roofs and caw cease to be corny when they're as big as dogs and their "cawing" is the sound that Hell makes when it's peckish. Mobs of villagers wielding Torches and Pitchforks become completely unaware that they are the infected monsters they're hunting, degrading into common Mooks that grow progressively more mutated as the game progresses. The Mad Scientists are not satisfied with merely Playing God, they have aspirations of becoming gods, and their Transhuman Treachery is ultimately what gave birth to the Beast Disease. And at the heart of it all are the Great Ones, who in turn reconstruct the Lovecraftian Cosmic Horror Story by being Outside Context Problems who seemingly come out of nowhere and have motives and abilities that are just so alien, they cannot even begin to be understood by a sane mind.
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  • Crazy Taxi is a Reconstruction of the Wacky Racing Driving Game genre of video games. In contrast to its ultra-violent predecessorsCarmageddon, Twisted Metal; etc. — Crazy Taxi possesses the core mechanics of the genre without any of the ghoulish consequences. Living up to its name, players of Crazy Taxi are free to cause mayhem behind the wheel of the taxi, but could only run into inanimate objects like signs, tables, or other cars. Pedestrians will always miraculously move out of the way of your speeding vehicle, and it won't even deter them from using your services. While the core appeal of the game is driving like crazy, it's not the end goal: players still need to perform their job as a taxi driver, getting passengers to their destination on time, and are thus obligated to be pragmatic with their reckless driving if they want to keep playing. As a result, the player is actually helping people — rather than hurting them — by getting them to their desired destination as quickly as possible. Thus, Crazy Taxi is specifically designed for the thrill of reckless driving, with all of the catharsis of speeding down busy streets and crashing into things, and none of the Gorn that worries parents or Moral Guardians.
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  • The Darkness goes even further in Reconstructing the '90s Anti-Hero than the comic, after over a decade of deconstruction and parody. Taking the criticism that most Dark Age characters are shallow and over-the-top, the game makes Jackie complex and subtle, while playing many of the Dark Age tropes straight and for realism, minus the ridiculous Liefeldian costume.
  • After years of deconstruction and discrediting, Destiny is a reconstruction of the Space Opera and Planetary Romance. More generally it's a reconstruction of the whole science fiction genre, contrasting the tendency for modern science fiction to be angsty and grimdark; the setting of the game is similar to many typical sci-fi Crapsack Worlds but the game's story is all about the John Carter-esque protagonists and their allies standing against evil and actually working to make the galaxy a better place. The game's Central Theme is keeping hope and believing that the future can turn out to be a good place rather than a horrible fate.
  • Diablo:
    • The first two games of the franchise basically took apart the Heroic Fantasy genre with a butcher knife: the story takes place in a Crapsack World where Demons are running around murdering everyone in gruesome fashion For the Evulz, Angels are Knight Templars who hardly care about humanity, and human heroes who try to slay demonlords only end up helping them, being corrupted, or becoming Axe-Crazy, if not all of those at the same time. Diablo II presents the first stage of reconstruction, although it takes a Retcon: Turns out, while the heroes ended up helping the demons unwittingly, they did not go Axe-Crazy, and instead went their separate ways with their sanity, allowing them to pass in peace and pass their mantle to the next generation of heroes. However, in the expansion of III, the story is in a trial whether the reconstruction will stay or it will be deconstructed again: Malthael, a high ranking angel, went insane and undid the efforts of defeating evil in the vanilla game, but then, your hero still kicked his ass anyway. However, at that point, Tyrael became aware that the Nephalem protagonist has defeated the champions of Heaven and Hell and if they would ever get tempted into evil, that'll doom everyone. That has yet to be revealed, but throughout the game, the Nephalem has always sided with humanity and protecting them so they may have a means to resist the temptation...
    • Come Diablo III, while the Darker and Edgier approach is still present, the protagonist is now, as mentioned above, revealed to be a Nephalem, making him able to face Demonlords, an Angel actually sacrifices his divine nature to help humanity, and you do get some actual victories against the Demons. Perhaps most notably, it actually has a fairly happy ending with the heroes saving the day and evil being defeated even if it was at a cost.
  • DOOM (2016) and DOOM Eternal:
  • Everhood wears its Undertale influence on its sleeve, but where the influence shines most is in how it re-examines the same video game tropes Undertale criticized, and redefines them to make them work. To wit:
    • Undertale criticizes the player for treating monsters as disposable enemies, and attempting to murder them all is a boring and frustrating slog that locks the player into the bad ending. Sparing all enemies you encounter, however, is necessary to achieve the Golden Ending. Everhood responds to this by flipping the entire route dynamic on its head. Everhood expects you to sympathize with all the named characters and view them as more then disposable enemies, yet killing them is still a heroic act, as all of the characters are trapped in immortality and prevented from entering the cycle of reincarnation, going slowly insane from the millions of years they've spent trapped in the Everhood. And unlike in Undertale, you don't have to kill every character on the No Mercy route or spend hours seeking random encounters, meaning the experience is not deliberately made unfun for the player. Conversely, going for the Pacifist Run described above gives the player bad ending.
    • Undertale criticizes players' tendency to project themselves onto Silent Protagonist characters, as the character you name and the character you play as are shown through various means to have an identity and life separate from the player's actions. Everhood does the same, but towards the end of the game Pink asks the player to project themselves onto them, as Pink does not have the courage or the strength to see their task through without the player's guidance. The player is not a wholly external influence on the world as they are in Undertale, as their influence is both acknowledged and encouraged.
    • Undertale discourages completionism for the sake of seeing all the endings, as it's pointed out that resetting after attaining the Golden Ending will rip all the characters away from their happy ending and set them back to the beginning. Everhood likewise subtly acknowledges that starting a New Game Plus will send all the characters back to the beginning and tear them away from the ending, but portrays this as a good thing. Once every character has died, they are sent to a chamber resembling a Buddhist mandala attended by a Bodhisattva-like sage, implying that they will reincarnate after the game ends. The characters in New Game Plus are implied to be their own reincarnated selves, meaning starting a new game is simply a natural part of the cycle of life and death.
  • Final Fantasy Tactics is a reconstruction of classic fantasy morality. The game takes place in a brutal, cynical world not unlike that of A Song of Ice and Fire, full of Grey-and-Gray Morality and ruthless pragmatism. Its two main characters begin the game as idealistic, before having their naivete shattered by the truth of how the world works. In the aftermath, one of them chooses to become a cynical pragmatist who believes that the ends justify the means. The other chooses to remain steadfast, and find his idealism again. The former ends up miserable and alone, having caused more suffering than he's alleviated. The latter ends up sacrificing nearly everything in order to do what's right, but is clearly shown to be in the right, gets to disappear with his sister and live in peace, and is eventually vindicated by history. In general, it's a game about rejecting unbridled pragmatism and Grey-and-Gray Morality, and doing the right thing even in a world that demands you adhere to its cynicism.
  • Fire Emblem:
  • Half-Life 2 reconstructs the Zombie Apocalypse in a few areas, specifically the near-totally infested town of Ravenholm. Said zombies are created by a huge Puppeteer Parasite that latches onto the head (the headcrab), but it's surprising how many zombie tropes are played with and how many work.
    • The Add-on Episode 2 leads out of the ruined and mostly abandoned cities and turns to the wilderness, which is the more post-apocalyptic version of the... well, Zombie Apocalypse. Many of the best scenes consist of exploring seemingly abandoned buildings next to the road.
  • Horizon Zero Dawn: The game takes all the tropes and conventions associated with The Hero's Journey that would typically be derided as cliché in myth or fantasy fiction, and applies them to a science fiction setting. The gods who shaped the world? They're Artificial Intelligences that were created for the specific purpose of terraforming the planet after it was turned into a lifeless barren rock. The Big Bad who's a Generic Doomsday Villain that only wants to destroy the world? It's one of those very AIs that's simply fulfilling the purpose it was programmed to do, but was activated in the wrong circumstances by an outside force. The Chosen One who was born in unusual circumstances and is seemingly the only person who can save the world? She was cloned from the single most brilliant individual of the pre-apocalyptic world in order to bypass genetic locks, but she developed the skills, smarts, and determination needed to complete the mission she was made for all on her own. The game plays all of these dead straight, but the unusual setting not only serves to make them feel fresh again, it actually justifies them.
    • The sequel then goes on to reconstruct the A.I. Is a Crapshoot Big Bad of the overreaching series: A Fiction 500 cabal of elitist sociopaths fled Earth during the apocalypse, built a new society on Sirius, and then invented a way to make themselves immortal so their society would never grow up. After a thousand years of hedonistic and backwards science powered by constructing A.I. slaves, they decided to go the next step and merged copies of their brain scans to create a fully sapient A.I., Nemesis, but decided the project was prone to failure and scrapped it. Then, in character with their sociopathic scientist nature, they locked Nemesis up to observe the long-term effects of total sensory shutdown on a sapient A.I. - it went completely insane. By this point, Nemesis has the neural 'DNA' of hundreds of sociopaths, a cacophonous Hive Mind of the worst isolationists in human history forced to think as one, and enough sensory deprivation to Go Mad from the Isolation. Then it realized that since its 'parents' never had new generations or enemies, they didn't update their cybersecurity for centuries. Apocalypse ensues. Despite their advanced knowledge and technological capacity, they are incapable of thinking about anything but the destruction of every trace of their creators - Earth, as one of the only remaining planets capable of housing the survivors, is merely collateral damage.
  • The Kingdom Hearts series is well-known for its dense original lore and its huge cast of original characters, but it's also one of the most successful Reconstructions of the Disney Animated Canon ever attempted. It came out in 2002, when Disney was in the middle of a major slump following the end of the Disney Renaissance of the previous decade, and struggling to sell their signature brand of colorful, optimistic, family-friendly entertainment to a new generation of children growing up in the shadow of 9/11. Like the best Reconstructions, it manages to tap into what made Disney films so beloved in their heyday while also accepting many of the criticisms of them — namely, that they'd become too cute and innocent for their own good, and that characters like Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck had become glorified corporate mascots with no personality. The result is a massive Crisis Crossover wherein a huge array of classic Disney characters join forces for a massive battle between Good and Evil that takes quite a few cues from classic fantasy; among other things, Mickey is reimagined as a benevolent Good King who protects the Multiverse from the forces of Darkness with the help of his royal court, and the Disney Princesses are reimagined as a coterie of angelic figures who act as the embodiments of Light and Love. The saga certainly has more violence and horror than your average Disney movie, but it's also a celebration of the wonder and innocence of childhood, starring a wide-eyed Kid Hero who always triumphs over evil through the Power of Friendship.
  • After becoming famous for making the dark Real Robot game series, Metal Gear Solid, Hideo Kojima went on to produce the much more un-ironic mecha game series, Zone of the Enders. Afterwards, he went on to make Metal Gear Solid 2, one of the most extensive deconstructions of video games ever. He then reconstructed them with Metal Gear Solid 4, taking the same deconstructive plot and putting it — and with it, many of the same genre presumptions — back together.
  • The Mass Effect series is a reconstruction of classic science fiction tropes (especially Space Opera), even down to the visual styling.
    • Mass Effect 2 reconstructs the concept of a Proud Warrior Race, after deconstructing it in the first game.
    • The series as a whole deconstructs and then reconstructs the issues of what happens when you take a room full of elected politicians and tell them the world's about to end, from verbal support and no actual action in ME1, to blatant head-in-sand refusal to believe anything's going wrong in ME2, to an almost embarrassing about-face when the shit finally hits the fan in ME3.
    • The series also reconstructs Can't Argue with Elves and associated tropes like Superior Species and Proud Scholar Race through the Asari. At first, the Asari are basically portrayed as your Space Elf Classic, but as the player meets more and more of them, then sees how they can be foolish, corrupt, greedy, cruel, or cowardly, it seems like the trope is deconstructed. Then as the Asari cities and lives are revealed, it becomes pretty clear that Asari worlds are incredibly beautiful, and they do possesses superior technology, science, and a very progressive society along with their "magic," in the form of biotics. The third game reveals that the Asari were uplifted by an earlier star-faring culture who genetically engineered them and then bestowed vast technologies on them, until the Asari remember them as "gods." However, Javik reveals the Asari were chosen for this role by the Protheans above the other sapient species of the era because they seemed intelligent, wise, reasonable, and promising. There's even a subtext that their status as a mono-gendered species of Blue Space Babes is part of the reason they avoided many of the wars and divisiveness of other species' early history, which has some Unfortunate Implications. (However, it is entirely possible that Javik, being a pragmatic Jerkass, is just telling Liara what she needs to hear. We never find out.)
    • In general, the series takes multiple opportunities to subvert the Planet of Hats trope to show that there's plenty of room in the traditional Space Opera setting for alien species every bit as complex as humanity. Case in point: the Big Bad of the first game, Saren Arterius, and Shepard's most consistent ally and right-hand man, Garrus Vakarian, are both members of the same species. And Tali'Zorah nar Rayya, your loyal squad-mate for all three games (and possibly your Love Interest), is a member of the species that created the evil machine race that you spend the whole first game battling. And that machine race? One of them joins your party in the second game, and it's revealed that your enemies in the first game were actually a minority of violent radicals that broke off from a peaceful culture.
    • Paragon Shepard is a reconstruction of the Ideal Hero. Shepard knows that Humans Are Flawed, but still believes in the importance of his/her ideals and striving to do the right thing. And in the end, this hard work and faith in others pays off almost every time.
    • Even though the idea was something of a Dead Unicorn Trope, Commander Shepard is the closest thing to a Played Straight example of "Captain Space, Defender of Earth!" that you'll ever see in modern fiction. He/She starts out as a garden-variety Space Marine, but manages to display enough courage, leadership, intelligence, and integrity to get tapped as the first human member of an interspecies peacekeeping organization, and later becomes singlehandedly responsible for driving off an alien invasion that threatens all life in the galaxy — for the simple reason that nobody else believes that it's really happening. With the fully fleshed-out setting and characters, it almost becomes believable that one starship captain with a loyal crew could end up as the savior of the universe.
    • The "Paragon vs. Renegade" mechanic is a reconstruction of the Karma Meter trope. Around the time that original game came out, some gamers had begun to criticize games that hyped up the ability to make tough moral choices, which usually turned out to be simplistic "Good or Evil?" decisions that had little bearing on the story. In Mass Effect, Shepard has no choice but to fulfill their duty by saving the galaxy from the Reapers, but they're forced to choose between pragmatism and idealism, and they can either pursue a policy of isolationism or build alliances with potentially untrustworthy cultures. A Paragon is friendly, even-tempered, diplomatic, trusting, and willing to do the right thing at any cost; a Renegade commands respect, assumes the worst about others, and will do anything to get the job done.
  • Mortal Kombat 11 reconstructs Liu Kang's characterization as The Chosen One. His present self is a revenant who was killed accidentally by Raiden and holds a grudge against the Thunder God and side with the Big Bad. His past self however is well aware of his fate but still proceeds to stop Kronika and succeeds by Raiden giving him his godhood to become the new protector of Earthrealm. It also shows that he's just like the rest of the cast of characters or anyone else by joking around with others such as Johnny Cage and Kung Lao and embraces his feelings for Kitana, making it more believable that he is indeed the Chosen One.
  • The developers of No Man's Sky are touting the game as this to exploration-based Sci-Fi made popular by Star Trek. Unfortunately this turned out to be an example of Tropes Are Not Good, as the game was widely panned for being tedious and repetitive, although recent updates released afterwards (mostly) managed to turn this around.
  • On the other hand, Starbound successfully reconstructs the Star Trek exploration-based Sci-Fi, along with Planet of Hats, as you are encouraged along with the story to learn about, befriend, and ally with the different alien races that once united under the Protectorate banner.
  • Planescape: Torment reconstructs many old RPG cliches, from An Adventurer Is You to You All Meet in an Inn to Warrior Therapist to "The Reason You Suck" Speech to Magnetic Hero to City of Adventure to Death Is a Slap on the Wrist. It even reconstructs many of the concepts of Dungeons & Dragons which Planescape specifically deconstructed, reconstructed, or parodied (Offscreen Afterlife, What Measure Is a Non-Human?, Always Chaotic Evil, What Measure Is a Non-Cute?, Planet of Hats, etc.) Players who pick up this game today are often surprised to see this take on all the old Role-Playing Game tropes in a game released in 1999.
  • Receiver 2 deconstructs most gun tropes. Rather than being fun point-and-shoot devices, guns require full reloads (Down to loading individual bullets into magazines), the pistols are inaccurate at range, guns jam or fail to feed, getting shot with a rifle-caliber round is invariably lethal, if you're not careful you can shoot yourself, and the tapes you can find even discuss the usual tropes and how guns are seen as toys and status symbols by so many parts of modern society despite the danger they pose. However, it then goes to reconstruct it by discussing and showing that when sufficiently respected and with sufficient training, they're incredibly useful for the thing they were designed for - destroying threats.
  • School Days is another case in which a deconstruction can potentially be a reconstruction. Yes, we know, the anime and some routes of the game can totally smash Love Triangle and Unwanted Harem to pieces — but if the player takes the right decision, both tropes can be played straight. Or, with lots of effort and planning, evolve into One True Threesome.
  • Singularity manages to simultaneously deconstruct and reconstruct the Last-Second Ending Choice, where if you manage to jump the rails of one man's plot you end up on the rails of the other's, and the choice is presented as just another extension of one plot or the other, but at the same time, the entire game has been building up to this one moment of free will, the first chance you've had to actually choose anything, and at that moment the fate of the world really is in your hands. Especially if you Take a Third Option; rather than follow either figure, you just shoot them both. From here, the ending goes on to explain that history, while devastated by your assassination of key figures, keeps on living and suffering as always, and implies but never states that you build a Neo-American empire, leaving enough ambiguity to imagine your own interpretation.
    • If you try to take a fourth option (do nothing), the Big Bad grabs his gun while you're distracted and just shoots you. So, you always have the choice to reject the choice - just don't expect it to have a happy ending.
  • Skies of Arcadia rebuilt the heroic, swashbuckling fantasy RPG hero and world after Final Fantasy VII's deconstruction and fleet of imitators.
  • Spider-Man (PS4), much like the MCU movie, reconstructs Spider-Man's relationship with the public. Yes, he has his haters and J. Jonah Jameson is still trying his best to defame him but for every person who hates Spider-Man there's a person who sees him as a hero and is inspired by him.
  • Star Wars Legends: Knights of the Old Republic: Troperiffic as all get out and played most of the Star Wars tropes straight. KOTOR II: The Sith Lords was an up to eleven Deconstructor Fleet as everyone from no-name NPCs to the mentor were ripping a new one into everything from the Expanded Universe to George Lucas's moral compass with a zeal not seen since David Brin, noting among other things that there's clearly inherently something wrong about everybody's assumptions if the Sith philosophy can be so diametrically opposed to the Jedi philosophy and yet the resulting Space Magic still works just as well. Star Wars: The Old Republic? Acknowledges the arguments made in the second game, runs with Gray-and-Gray Morality (You can be a light-sided Darth or a Knight Templar Jedi and get away with it!), but still points out that the Sith side is not the one you want to be on (the Republic may have issues with corruption, but the Sith Empire has corruption that's just as extensive, and their Emperor is an Omnicidal Maniac).
  • In the Super Mario Bros. series, Toads are notorious for being so pathetic that even a few Goombas can give them trouble. Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker, however, provides a reasonable explanation: If you can't jump high enough to land on top of them, enemies that are normally easily disposed of suddenly become a huge threat.
  • Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine is one for several of the 40k factions featured.
    • This game's version of the Ultramarines are still Nice Guys,note  but they're not portrayed as invincible superheroes, just inhumanly strong and skilled soldiers who have a job to do. The portrayal also doesn't fall into the opposite problem, i.e. making them nearly useless if they face a problem that the Codex Astartes doesn't have a specified solution for.note  Captain Titus gently rebukes one of his squadmates for this in an early cutscene, pointing out that sometimes you need to throw out the manual and think on your feet. Titus' rebuttal shows that Relic "did their homework" in regards to 40k fluff, since Gulliman intended the Codex as a guideline in terms of strategy by creating a set of precedents to use in case a new scenario showed up, not as a rigid set of absolute rules.
    • The Orks get reconstructed. Having been played for Comedic Sociopathy somewhere between soccer hooligans and crazed berserker, in this game their violence and destructiveness remains good for fun for them, but the point of view ensures you see quite clearly how destructive and terrifying such things would be if they really existed. The descriptions of how civilians felt when the orks hit alone completely changes the mood.
    • The Imperial Guard gets reconstructed as a reasonable, capable fighting force that behaves realistically given the Crapsack World they find themselves in. No Miles Gloriosus, no We Have Reserves, no pointlessly wasting men, and the main Guard NPC you deal with is A Mother to Her Men.
  • XCOM2 deconstruct and reconstruct Training from Hell. While the training your soldiers can undertake with the Reapers, the Skirmishers, and the Templars carry a "moderate" chance of injuring your soldiers so that they need hospitalization (for reference, going deep behind enemy lines to steal pass codes for the fortress of an enemy Hero Unit so you can bypass their Resurrective Immortality to have them Killed Off for Real carries an injury risk of "low"]), said training never actually kills or permanently cripple your soldiers (even if they're a rookie), showing that while their training is harsh, the three resistance factions know when to stop, and when you send your soldiers there to train, they do learn a lot, gaining both XP and stat increases.