Now, everyone, brace yourselves for my first. EVER. CRITIQUE.
Aileen Aurora Abdallah
, by Bikriki
Because it seems easiest, I'm going to divide my thoughts into three sections: Story, Personality, and Narrative.
- [+] spoiler
So basically, this chick wakes up inside the hospital and we get to know a little bit about her throughout her first thread. She meets Owen and the two form sort of a friendship/uneasy alliance, and they spend a small chunk of the thread looking for supplies and it's during this that we get a bit of insight into her goals - mainly, it's surviving for now, but it'll change somewhere down the line. Along comes Lauren Rowe, who they're immediately distrustful of and it all goes downhill from there, mainly because Aileen asks Owen for the scalpel right in front of her while interrogating her. She runs, they decide to stick together.
Later on they meet up with Naomi and Cammy, who they form a bigger alliance with, but Cammy leaves and it's just the three of them. She plays somewhat of a passive role in this scene, but we still get to know more about her personality. She wants to escape now, even though it's highly likely it's impossible. They head on over to the Apartments and it's there Naomi plays the big role of realizing that the feeds aren't on and they have to rethink their goals and their plans. Aileen once again plays more of a passive role in this scene but she does serve a purpose - mainly to show how her normal paranoia actually helps her remain calm in the situation (which I'll go into in her Personality). Stuff happens, Naomi gets gutted and eaten by Summer, and they scatter.
It's upon being on her own that Aileen stumbles across Joe and Matt V. Being pragmatic as always she defends Joe and sides with him during the argument that goes on during the thread, and the two decide to team up for the meantime, which is cool because I like their chemistry. They tag along with each other for a while and have some cute little scenes. Eventually they find Owen again and Aileen basically ditches Joe for him, and I'm all NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO because I was liking the former's chemistry with Aileen more. But it's all for moot as Hansel Williams shows up with a hostage in Claire and demands their bags. Aileen isn't having it and tries to take him down but he ends up shooting her in the leg and taking their stuff anyway, what a bastard. Once again she shows her calm in the situation and once she's patched up she and Owen head off together again. They end up finding Lauren's body and search the haunted house they're in for more supplies, since they've got fuck-all thanks to Hansel-robbage, but they don't find anything and Aileen starts to show off a softer side in the process.
[insert non-important attempted burglary scene with Jessica that just has Aileen being unsettling again and nothing really happening]
In her final scene they finally manage something good - they find Benjamin's neato Shopping Mall Fortress and he lets them stay there in spite of having nothing and being sort of useless guard dogs, but he gives them food and since they haven't eaten in days they're all for this. Eventually he leaves (to go murder a poor innocent girl who did nothing wrong BEN YOU MONSTER ahem) and Aileen has some more cute little character scenes with Owen, and suddenly Joe shows up with another killer in Travis, and because Aileen trusts/likes Joe (despite her basically telling him to sashay away a few days ago) she lets down the barrier for him, only for everything to go wrong. Travis gets in a scuffle with Owen who refuses to let him in and starts a fight in the process. Aileen tries to stop them but Travis ends up slashing her throat open with a scalpel. Irony I think?
Anyways, I liked Aileen's story. It wasn't super exciting and she was sort of a passive character throughout with bursts of action (which I liked from her) but she had some neat interactions with other characters. While her story probably would have ended up different had she gone with Joe I do wish they'd have stuck together longer, but I think it's fitting that the person she gets along with in the best quality throughout her stay on the island ends up indirectly being her downfall. Especially someone like Aileen who puts up a front of being so pragmatic and calm all the time.
- [+] spoiler
Aileen is very scattered throughout, in terms of motivations and actions. One thing I love about her is her fashion, because while it looks weird on the surface she reminds me a lot of girls I know, not necessarily in personality but in fashion sense. What I also like about her is that while I never read her pre-game (v5 I think just for me and if there's any memory threads linked in a post I'll read them but until then I'll stick with the main game) she strikes me as someone who is very paranoid and guarded back home, way more than other people tend to be when they're not in the game. In terms of paranoia she's constantly operating at a 4-5 while everyone else is on 0-1. However, rather than being multiplied throughout the game, she remains at this 4-5, possibly even 6, while everyone else around her is overclocking on 11. Normally one of my biggest gripes with characters is how they're too normal in the face of imminent death, but for some reason it really fits with Aileen because you see this seamless transition and it doesn't feel that out of place. Her thoughts are also effectively chilling when she's got her guard up.
What does feel a bit out of place, though, is her language. Normally it's not too noticeable when someone speaks robotic, but when she's around characters with notable speech patterns such as Owen, Joe, Travis, Hansel, etc, it becomes apparent. She does get characterized by other people as "that chick who uses big words to make people think she's smart" and there are times when that characterization fits fine. Other times though it just feels a bit clunky and robotic and, once again, extremely noticeable.
Her characterizations with other people are a mixed bag too. She's usually either suspicious or hostile of anyone she meets (Lauren, Jessica, Naomi, Cammy, etc) or she warms up to them pretty fast in her own way (Owen, Joe). The former to me goes a bit overboard. The latter, however, are where I kind of like her. When she's not using big words to make herself sound smart or being an over-pragmatist she has a sense of vulnerability about her that I don't think she likes to let people see. She lets down that guard to interact with the people who she's traveling with the most, and it's all the more noticeable with Joe. In fact, like I said, I really liked the chemistry between the two and would have preferred them traveling together more. However, I did like how the one person she actually did let her guard down the most to ended up being the one who indirectly lead to her death. She trusted him, and for a moment she trusted his friend well, and she paid the price.
- [+] spoiler
Unfortunately, her biggest strike against her is the writing. I know English isn't Bik's first language and he did his best, but there's a fair few grammar, tense and spelling problems in the narrative and it's hard to overlook. When it's alright, it gets the job done. There's not much there, but it's not a bunch of one-line posts either. She's not overly flowery but she doesn't really do much to paint a picture either. It matches her character far too much. But it's fine, like I said English isn't Bik's first language so I don't expect him to chug out gold and paint vivid pictures for me because as a reader I demand it. The mistakes in grammar/spelling/tense/etc are the biggest problems with the story I'd say.
Also the gunshot barely played into the story after that one thread, which was sort of questionable.
I wasn't planning on doing a scorecard but I'll see if I like doing it or not:
The main thing that can be improved upon is the bare necessities, such as spelling/grammar/etc. After that, I'd say the biggest thing to improve on would be making sure she flows consistently as a character, maker her motivations move through the story with her and mold her. It did feel like she was a passive force at times just floating along and her personality swathed around a bit too much (such as going from having genuine moments with Owen in the haunted house to coldly threatening Jessica in the next thread, not much insight as to why, only that it happened). Nail it down and shape the story to that next time.
When she was consistent though, I liked her. Like I said she worked great IMO with Joe and good with Owen, her pragmatic personality meshing well as a contrast. When she let down her guard we saw a side of her that I liked to see.
I'd mostly recommend reading Aileen for her story, because she does intersect with some pretty big characters and she bounces well off some better than others. It's the story of a girl who puts up a barrier for herself because most people hate her, she tries to stick along with people in spite of that, she makes some genuine connections, she makes the wrong move at the wrong time and pays the price for it.
Alright, up next, Marcus Leung.
And someone else can request a single v5 character now.