Discussion in 'Article Discussion' started by Lizard, 19 Dec 2010.
Mass Effect 2 was fun, Dragon Age was not.
I prefer Terry Pratchett's view of elves myself. (Anyone remember Mankin from Discworld Noir?)
The Dragon Age DLC was so bad it made my inner child start self-harming. But the DLC for ME2 was so good it had the opposite effect and my inner child turned his life around.
The combat in DAO was ten times as strategic and complex as the generic run of the mill dog easy combat in ME. Me is a gerneric Sci fi, not a good RPG, not a good shooter. neither are that good as bioware are the kings of run of the mill, recycle the same story and cliche's over and over. DAO is better then Me over all , but not saying much, bioware is overrated and over hyped. The witcher is better then either, even with its love or hate it combat.
Also, so many of the complaints about DAO in this artivle are simply moronic falsehoods. Graphics are fine on PC, and gameplay ? graphics. Me = Style over substance.
Bit-tech has so massive ME fangirls its starting to get sickening.
I felt the same way.
I preferred the graphics of ME2 but that's about the only thing I preferred. I thought the combat was as dumbed down as it gets and I hated every minute of it. I didn't think Dragon Age 2 was exactly great, but it was pretty good.
A lot of that stuff is what people expect from an RPG. Slogging through a dungeon, that is the bread and butter of RPG's... Complaining about that is like buying Fifa and complaining that there's too much football.
Although, a lot of what they did with the game was pretty mediocre. The enemies were repetitive, the quests were often more chores than epic adventures, some of the characters were fake and annoying, it dragged on in parts that weren't very good, and it was cut short on bits that I enjoyed. I still think Baldur's Gate 2 was infinitely better, but still, it was ok.
Have to say, massive lulz @ the writer who things a dumbed down Gears of War clone is "fresh and innovative".
For the record, I didnt like Dragon Age, but I respected it as an earnest attempt to recapture that classic awesomeness of the Baldurs Gate era, where games were big, complex and required time and love to complete and enjoy. Not just sitting on your fat ass for 2 hours a night aiming a recticle at a mook and pulling a trigger until it dies, then hiding behind cover until your health regens.
Honestly, I, like a load of folks believe ME1 kicks the living POO out of ME2. Sure, ME1 is hideously flawed and has some incredibly questionable elements, but to anyone with a brain larger than a pea, ME2 has exactly the same things, while aiming to achieve much, MUCH less. Even with key things, like a "cohesive and impact story" or "characters who have a place and an impact on said story".
DAO, like ME1, TRIES to achieve much more than ME2. The only things they tried to achieve in ME2 were tighter shooter mechanics, tighter visuals, and shoving said two tighter elements into a tighter, more dumbed down and linear series of short missions. Slop on a generic busywork plot that barely holds the game together, painting the remaining missions as "character driven", and thats about it for ME2.
Oh, and before anyone does trot out the "character driven" excuse, no, the game is NOT character driven. Not one iota. The game is shooter driven. Once you have traversed from point a to b, using all the cover littered through to shoot your enemies, you will get a "loyal" squadmate, who has no further interaction with the plot that is unique to them. They may have an errand during the endgame, but these are so interchangeable with all other characters it hurts.
Basically, ME2 is not fresh, innovative, ambitious, vivid, varied or any of the other hyperbolic trash used in this comparison. Is is derivitive, and it is above all else: safe.
Its so painfully obvious with ME2 that more than anything else, they tried to focus on the elements they thought could make them the most money, even above Biowares holy chalice of "story and characters".
This is why the dumbed down, unambitious little turd known as ME2 occupies its place as not only the worst sequel I have ever played, but the most disappointing, dumbed down game I have ever played.
I would strongly recommend Bioware get back to some form of "balance" in their game design with ME3, and not just "lets polish the shooter mechanics to try and make us loads of cash". More importantly, I would even more strongly recommend they simply get back to just MAKING A MASS EFFECT GAME. Yes, make a Mass Effect game, not a TPS game. That was supposed to be an ELEMENT of the game, not the focus of the game itself.
tl;dr Mass Effect 2 is a dumbed down, unambitious little money grubber that is as flawed as DAO, minus the attempt to achieve something greater that was in DAO, so I must disagree, and say that DAO is by far the better game than that grotty little Gears of War ripoff that insulted my intelligence.
Agreed Macgready, its a sad state of affairs when such a simple watered down game as ME2 is looked on as innovative, it does absolutely nothing new, and it only does what it does Ok, not great,
As far as I'm concerned it comes down to whether a game is enjoyable or not; I couldn't give a rats ass to whether it's dumbed down or not or if it's a 'proper RPG'.
I've been gaming far too long to care about elitist this and dumbed down that; if I enjoy it then it's all good whatever the game, genre or platform.
The fact is I immensely enjoyed Mass Effect, Mass Effect 2 (even more so) and DOA and it's expansion.
People here seem to get so worked up over games not being like the 'old days' and people buying games these days are just idiots; the thing is I don't care and I highly doubt that many other people who are enjoying them care either.
The 'elitism' on this forum is getting somewhat sickening as well in my opinion but there you go.
Go play Planescape: Torment, Baldur's Gate II, Fallout, and Arcanum, and tell me that Mass Effect 2 or Dragon Age is a better game, much less a better RPG than any of them. Yes, I enjoyed several games that came out this year, Mass Effect 2 among them. That doesn't mean that we can give a pass to developers whose only improvement over previous generations of games is when it comes to visuals. Mass Effect 2 is a thrill ride, and a beautiful one, to be sure, but does it offer a single iota of originality? Was the gaming landscape in any way altered by its creation, other than its contribution to the sequel aristocracy that is making it harder and harder to bring new, original ideas to fruition?
I think that the videogame medium is one of the only in history where regression from the standards set a decade earlier is considered "innovation".
I'm not saying it's a better 'RPG', I'm saying it's a great game which deserves its place at the top of the poll; one I enjoyed immensely as did many others.
Mass Effect 2 is probably the best pure RPG I've ever played because the developers took the time to really purge the asinine stats and grinding elements from it. I mean there is some levelling and whatnot there still, but no more than you'd get in a Battlefield game. That's how it should be. RPGs should be about the story, about feeling like you are playing a character, not about number crunching, spreadsheets and swords +1.
LMAO @ Hovis, best pure RPG you ever played, low standards, ME is barely an RPG and it sure as hell is not a pure RPG. LMAO. The story in ME is woefully cliched, full of typical sterotypical bioware characters. Its basically the same sci-fi story we have seen 4-5 times already. Hovis - clueless, wouldn't know what an RPG is. Havign a story doesn't make a game an RPG, if thats the case Grand Theft auto is an RPG. Thats not how it should be.
Mass Effect = Below avg RPG, Average shooter, full of cliche's and superficial choices. Its a testament to how immature gaming is as a medium if Me is considered Innovative, what did it innovate? How to turn a RPG into an bad shooter?
I'm not sure we played the same game. But, more importantly, this gives me an opportunity to talk about a problem about misconceptions about RPGs by the general gaming community.
Mass Effect 2 has a strong cast of characters with a relatively weak narrative full of plot holes and stupid decisions holding it together, and occasionally, as the player character, you have a choice in how events play out. However, the impact of these choices is almost always inconsequential - the world and story are not changed significantly at all, Shepard never grows as a character or has much say in how the game's events progress and end, and while the end result is that your decision to complete side-quests dictates who lives and who dies at the end, the actual decisions you make have very little effect on this. Basically, the entire loyalty mechanic has nothing to do with doing and saying things for different outcomes, but rather is built entirely around 100% completion of the game.
On top of that, the mostly cosmetic decisions you're given are often inconsistent in tone and degree. While this isn't quite as much of a problem as in Mass Effect 1, in Mass Effect 2, "paragon" can mean everything from "child-hugging softie" to "proud, determined hero"; "renegade" has even more variability, usually finding its place somewhere between "racist asshole", "smarmy jerk" and "raging psychopath". Shepard's decisions are things you often have no control over, and it's not always clear what's going to happen when you select a dialogue option, but even worse than that, the character you're supposed to be playing is woefully inconsistent and can never make up his or her mind. Where there should be at least three or four consistent "roles" you can play throughout the game, there's actually about twelve, but only two tend to be available at any one time. Giving in-game rewards for sticking to the same character path throughout despite whatever situational feelings the player may have only serves to reinforce that you're not dictating your own story, but rather, being led through one in which you get to determine how much of a jerk the protagonist is. Oh, and as for you guys that like to take a neutral course through the game? Yeah, sorry, you're out of luck, since your decisions don't count for **** in BioWare's world of moral extremes.
And, of course, there's the major, most damning problem Mass Effect has, and that is that it almost never allows the player to explore multiple solutions to problems. If all the best CRPGs out there had one thing in common, it was that as the player, you had more than just an influence on events, but you were actually able to use your unique skill set to seek out alternative solutions to problems that wouldn't be available to another player. How many times in Mass Effect 2 can you resolve a situation through more than two means which are directly related to your character's abilities? How about opening doors using your heavy weapons skill, or taking out an enemy commander from afar because you're good at sniping, or saving some hostages because your biotics can disable the baddies guarding them? What about a character treating you differently because of your moral alignment? Your appearance? Your intelligence? Your abilities in combat? I can't think of a single one.
See, here's the thing that people (you included, I'm afraid) miss out, and that is that the CRPG, in all its stat-driven glory, doesn't contain "spreadsheets" for the sake of having spreadsheets. The reason those stats exist is because CRPGs are extremely complex interworking systems, wherein the ability of your character determines outcomes; in fact, generally CRPGs are no different than many other genres, save for the depth of those systems. RPGs always expose these numbers not because they're "for nerds", but because knowing these numbers is integral to understanding the complexity of the systems that govern the game. If I'm going to be operating in a world with manifold possibilities, then I'm going to need to know how and why my actions are influencing the world, or all that choice and consequence is for nothing. While this doesn't mean that everything has to be based around die rolls, it does mean that it's good to know you can't open a door because your lockpicking skill isn't high enough, or that you can't use a certain type of weapon because you have no training with it. Pretty much every game with some sort of ability progression does this, but RPGs simply increase the possibilities available - increasing your Intelligence by +3 to buff up your spells is no different than getting a new spell in an action-adventure, except that in an RPG, you have some paths open and some paths closed based on how you've developed your character.
Let's take an example, and probably one of the best there is: Fallout. In Fallout, while your choices in conversations do have an impact upon events in the game, there's an even greater impact upon the game world by way of your actions. Your skill set, expressed numerically, is what determines what you are and are not capable of. Your character may be great at punching people and blowing things up, but has to make sacrifices elsewhere (maybe he's not so smart, or isn't very agile). This means that certain opportunities in the game are going to be available to him that aren't available to other characters, and some will be closed off, or will require a different means to accomplish. Perhaps you can get through a door by planting some explosives instead of lockpicking, or by bribing the guards, or stealing the key, or hacking a computer terminal. Any one of these solutions is just as valid as the next, but offers a fundamentally different mode of interaction with the game. Combined with dialogue options that help to influence how the story progresses, you have a system which allows players to not just explore a world, but to make a unique mark on it the way they want to.
It's the decisions made in building a character and interacting with the world, and the depth and breadth of those possible decisions, that RPGs are all about - not "good stories" or whatever similarly nebulous qualities you want to throw around, since otherwise everything from Grand Theft Auto, to Call of Duty 4, to Half-Life 2 would qualify. Now, I don't presume to tell you what games to play, or that Mass Effect 2 is a worse off game because it doesn't adhere to what I've stated above; I actually think it's a better game than the first Mass Effect despite its pared-down RPG mechanics. However, to call Mass Effect 2 a "pure" RPG represents a mindset which is totally disconnected from what RPGs are in the first place. At best, this mindset (which is held by many) is merely misinformed, and can be changed with experience, and at worst, it is poisonous, because by mislabeling certain types of games as RPGs, we set expectations for the industry and lower standards for future games in the RPG genre. Part of the reason true RPGs have nearly died out is that the notion of what constitutes an RPG has become so diluted that both players and developers have stopped supporting the genre; this isn't out of any malicious intent, but out of ignorance. I don't want to see the genre fade any more than it already has.
I liked both ME games, and I like DAO as well, but ME and, even more so, ME2 are only barely RPG's. Perhaps they should have a new catagory - RPG-L. (Role Playing Game - Lite) ^^
While I totally agree, that just isnt necessary.
I dont know about everyone else, but I define a games genre by what the game is dominated by in terms of content. It is IMPORTANT to differentiate. All these arrogant folks trying to look hip and cool saying "genres are bad man, I play games for fun!" or "I dont care about the genre, I just want good games", they need to shut the hell up.
I like the distinction between sports for example. Just because I like the thrill a certain sport gives me doesnt me I just want any kind of thrill from sports. Its important to know what does what.
Back to the original point, since 90% of Mass Effect 2 is cover based shooting (intersped with minor instances of dialogue), Id say the best way to define ME2 is just "cover based third person shooter with light RPG elements". Or just TPS. Its the dominant gameplay feature in ME2, so why not? They spent most of their effort on improving the shooter mechanics and forcing them on the player throughout the entire game (to the detriment of pretty much everything else), so in light of that the genre it deserves to belong to the most is simply TPS.
You can play through the entire game almost ignoring all RPG elements. Conversations massively scaled back on choice in ME2 as well to the point that they are now barely interactive cutscenes, so that doesnt count either. On the flip side, the shooter elements of ME2 are completely and totally UNAVOIDABLE.
Like it or not, shooter is by far the dominant element in ME2.
In ME1 it was a fairly equal aspect to RPG and exploration etc. Its why ME1 was more of an action/rpg hybrid. ME2 goes near full on for the action, and therefore needs to be labeled accordingly, and calling it an RPG just wont do.
Im pretty sure the devs will agree. I dont post at the Bioware forums (the place is a dungheap) but on the odd occasion Ive gone looking for information, Ive almost seen the devs outright ready to admit ME2 is more a shooter than anything else, and that they want new shooter fans more than they want to please so of the RPG diehards that still might be hanging around.
Its what they are doing with DA2 as well. Whether or not its EA influenced is really irrelevant now, simply put Bioware, who used to make Bioware games for Bioware fans, are now trying to make mainstream action games for mainstream action fans. Not only does this lower the quality of their games, it has this nasty habit of annoying people like me. Its the reason I detest ME2 so much, and why Im so inclined to rant when the overrated dumbed down shooter gets paraded about as the messiah of the RPG genre, when its actually murdering it and putting Gears of War in its place.
There's a lot of anger in both mastorofpuppetz and macready's posts. If people don't agree with you there is simply no need to tell them to shut the hell up of call them idiots, clueless etc.
It's almost as if you're the same person posting but I'm sure that's not the case; my old age must be making me cynical. I just guess you both really, really hate ME2.
It's true ME2 is barely an RPG, its basically a squad shooter/action game, but frankly who cares what genre it fits into. I think people are getting too hung up on what pigeon-hole the game should be placed in. It's a game. You either enjoyed it or you didn't.
Separate names with a comma.