RPGWatch 2008 Game of the Year - Best RPG
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January 9th, 2009, 18:26
Well, stats and skills might have mattered - but I think the point is that the progression was mostly unnoticed.
First of all, they simplified both the character development system and the itemization to what I would consider an extreme - at least compared to the typical CRPG. But what's worse is that they didn't reward you with toys that you expect in a good CRPG. You don't excite players by having all weapons look almost identical and be called "Tornado I, Tornado II, etc." That's what I would call absolutely horrible game design. The same is true for the skills which gave you +1 damage, +2 damage, etc.
I personally think that for a company as experienced as Bioware, with the amount of cash available to invest in development - it's almost inexcusable to come up with such uninspired and lazy implementations of classic RPG features. It would have been better as a simple action/adventure shooter. At least then we wouldn't have expected actual depth to the development and progression of your character.
Then again, I still think Jade Empire represents the worst they've done. I knew enough when they sold out to Microsoft and that exclusive Xbox deal. Everything since then, like the EA deal, is just the natural evolution of a complacent company that turned greedy.