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March 20th, 2011, 10:22
Originally Posted by txa1265 View Post
Sure you can nuance the quote, but I think the shifts to Dragon Age 2 back up my opinion. This is the core Bioware attitude:
Mmm the streamlining argument, again. Well play DA2 first then comment it…

So, now you play it and feel it streamlined and less good because it is streamlined? The problem I have with that is that none of the streamlining quoted for the demo makes it less good:
  • Combat speed increase: In fact it's not really a problem, because the combat feel the same than in DAO, despite the speed increase. And the fights are even quite more tactical overall than in DAO. Moreover it's quite clear they polished more the design of fights to design each with more care, and to put more care about the diversity.
  • Class design: Ok ok skills removed and that's bad, but skills was close to pointless crap in DAO and now the classes are quite complicated with multiple trees of talents or specialization, cross links between trees and classes, so all in all a quite complicated class system more complicated than in DAO and that can easily make flee in terror any casual player.
  • New dialog system: I don't even quote it. But ok I'll admit this one could be a true streamlining with perverse effects I don't quote.
  • Story simplification: DA2 gave up the somehow simple but efficient plan they constantly used in RPG, for something quite complex that is breaking a comfortable linearity taking by hand the player to follow a story. In DA2 it's just the reverse, the player is much less guided, quite more stuff are put out of the pointed paths, all in all it's the reverse of design streamlining.
  • Companion equipment limitation: Yeah this is a bit of streamlining but if I wouldn't want it for all party RPG until the end of time, in fact it works very well and still involve the management of 28 slots, plus 30 secondary slots, pick up any other non party RPG around, even the marvelous and already wonderful TES8 will be ridiculous when compared on this point. And that many slots keep you busy and don't make DA2 casual nor less good, from far.
  • New special resource system: Well this new system is just great, now collecting resources is fun and rewarding.
  • Use of plenty symbolic icons in inventory: This is done with simplified and ugly icons, lol no I don't think that ugly icons are a streamlining. Yes this isn't very pleasant and it decrease a little the global mood, but well for hardcore RPG players this should be a detail, we are above shiny graphics, or you aren't?
  • Simplified look of the interface: Could perhaps be considered as a bit of streamlining and with the flaw to be another little damage to the overall mood. But again, it's just a shiny detail that has disappeared in DA2, I could hope Hardcore RPG players are above that sort of shiny details but it seems not. Now Hardcore players look a lot more like magpies than anything else, in my time that sort of stuff wasn't considered a Hardcore quality.
  • Abuse of area reuse: In no way it's to classify in the streamlining category, myself I consider it working half well and half not well, it's perhaps a key point making overall DA2 less fun, but I don't think it's the center point.

I like a lot DA2 and take a lot of fun playing it, but if I wasn't a fan of fights, then I'm not sure that I would really like it more than "ok it's good but not more". I haven't clear hypothesis about that, my current feeling is:
  • The global design is to let the player more on his own and this doesn't work that well because of exploration design. I consider DA2 improves significantly this point in comparison of what's Bioware is used to do, I consider only from NWN1. But they start from so low quality that anyway in DA2 the exploration isn't that good. And it isn't enough good to sustain well this more free design of DA2 with less structure. Also the duplicates areas doesn't help on this.
  • And the attempt to spread companions living out of the camp, ie out of their house is only half successful and tend decrease the overall efficiency to setup companions personality, even if in my opinion they are more attaching.

To come back about general games streamlining: The sad truth about Hardcore players and gaming streamlining is that more and more "Hardcore" players are like under a drug effect and can't anymore play and enjoy games that aren't in the A category. That's this player superficiality that will kill Hardcore games if it ever happen. The perverse effect is there is no counter balance so an indie hardcore game can't have a huge success making people doing business look at the market differently. Nope as only A games are under the radar of Hardcore players, this involve the tendency that changes can only come from big budget games, this limiting a lot the possibility of having overall values change to something more Hardcore.
Last edited by Dasale; March 20th, 2011 at 10:37.
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