After recently picking up Destiny again, and going through all the Taken King missions (3 words: **** YOU ORYX!) I was left in shock, not by the actions of those “evil races” you face on your daily grind, but by the murderous rampage I seem to have gone through in my quest to “save the world”.
Nothing exemplifies this best than our relationship with the Cabal. When you are first introduced to this military race, they don’t even pose a direct threat to the so-called guardians. You practically romp into their territory to try and find the source of power to another evil race of robots, the Vex. After being given the location of the source by the overly-smug Awoken, you break into their exclusion zone and start killing every single Cabal that stands in your way, while they are just trying to protect their own territory after undergoing a boot camp that seems to have been directed by Star War’s Stormtroopers, given their capacity to aim their rifles.
If that wasn’t savage enough, the first interaction we have with the Taken King story arc, is experiencing first hand his takeover of the Cabal race. For the uninitiated, the Taken King invades home worlds and takes control of whichever race he is facing, forcing them to do his bidding (hence the name I guess). You land in the middle of the fray and experience first hand the horror of a poor race fighting for survival as they witness their dear comrades and brothers in arms succumb to the Taken King’s power and turn on their previous allies, resulting in a Cabal vs Cabal massacre of epic proportions.
By this time, and through some very impressive cut-scenes, the Taken King has been established as the mother of all threats, not just to the guardians, but to the universe as a whole. So as the paragons of everything good and righteous, you’d expect the guardians to offer a helping hand to rid the world of this evil (you know, the old “enemy of my enemy...”) BUT NO! As soon as you land, your trigger happy character starts murdering not only the “Taken” Cabal, but any other poor survivor left standing in Cabal’s home turf! As if their hands weren’t full enough, they now have to deal with a one man army that appears out of nowhere and starts shooting them in the back while they are forced to mow down their own species in a desperate fight for survival. So long story short, you basically help the Taken King by eliminating the opposition and allowing him to fully take over this powerful (yet shitty aiming) race.
In another example of psychotic behaviour, when you take your first steps into the Dreadnaught, you witness yet another epic attempt by the Cabal to fight against the Taken King. They manage to land a full fledged assault by landing their ship inside the Dreadnaught, start securing their landing point against the endless hordes of the Hive in a last ditch and extremely brave attempt to rid the universe of the evil Taken King. And what do you do? Yep, you guessed it! You jump in the middle and massacre all their forces, including a massive tank that could have been helpful to your cause, just so you can take a peek inside their ship and establish a drop point for your own forces, in what is even considered an unsanctioned attempt by your own commanders, but which everyone celebrates nonetheless.
You’re probably left to think by this point “Well maybe the Cabal has some ultimately evil motivations that promotes this unsanctioned slaughter”. Nope! The official lore entry for the Cabal even states “Their origins and ultimate objectives are a mystery”... What?? Are you telling me that we just helped the greatest evil in the galaxy to wipe out a race that we knew nothing about and posed no direct threat to our world? That without a second thought we wiped out a potentially useful (based on how annoying that tank was to take out) ally to fight “the good fight”?
I know history is written by the victors and that there is no “Good” or “Evil” when it comes to war (holocaust discussions aside) but this “wipe out race, ask questions later” that the Guardians seem to have troubles me and almost puts us on par with the Taken King himself. At least he had some sort of motivation as he comes to avenge the death of his son Krota which, following our standard motivation, we preemptively wiped out in a previous expansion due to the unfounded warnings of an old, eye covered lunatic which spends her days talking to herself in one of the corners of your base and who you only listen to after she gives you some sort of justification to go on further rampages across the galaxy.
The Guardians now seem closer to Archer’s ISIS rather than to a highly organised patrol of justice. And that’s not even looking at the fact that when not cleansing the universe in the name of justice, they spend their time shooting each other just for lols and gear.
So what is your stance in this? Are you all for the proposed ethnic cleansing story arc, or is your conscience like mine deeply troubled and suffering from digital PTSD?