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November 7th, 2012, 10:26
Originally Posted by DeepO View Post
No, it wasnīt.

ME was already a streamlined iteration of KotOR, an already streamlined game. Like ME2 and ME3, combat gameplay is already "shooter with powers", except shooting sucks, powers lack variety and punch (maybe except for singularity and lift) and interesting encounter design is almost non-existent. Plus, a pretty significant chunk is spent fighting in Mako, which is effectively free of RPG influences.
Indeed, Mass Effect was very streamlined. I'd say KotOR was the first of the "new Bioware formula" - but it can easily be argued to have been streamlined for consoles from BG2.

I was very disappointed with Mass Effect in terms of mechanics - and I think it's the worst part of the game. The character system was hollow and boring compared to D20 - and I especially missed the computer hacking stuff from KotOR.

Strangest of all was the inventory system. It's one of the worst inventory UIs I've ever seen - and that includes indie games. The KotOR UI was miles ahead of it - and that was designed for the even more restrictive Xbox 1 controller. Really odd.

Loot system is horrible, inventory is horrible and frogger minigame is omnipresent.A lot of time dialogue choices result in Shepard saying an exactly same thing. As implied above, exploration carries some atmosphere, but from the gameplay standpoint itīs a filler through and through.
As I said above, the mechanics were not done well - but the solution is not to remove them entirely. I'd much rather have bad versions of interesting gameplay than I want them removed. But that's me.

All in all, ME1īs "RPG aspects" bore a lot of redundancy and were often detrimental to the experience. Streamlining them "to oblivion" was an act of mercy .
Streamlining them was an act of design laziness and incompetence. It was an act of making the game into a hollow corridor/cover shooter

That may be true on the level design front, but when it comes to high level structuring, personally I consider ME2 to be the game that provides the most non-linearity in the trilogy.
What? High-level structuring? I'm talking about the overall gameplay structure. In Mass Effect - you have an entire galaxy at your disposal - with many, many planets to land on and explore. No, they weren't handled well - but again the solution is to remove the space exploration almost entirely? That's what you call better non-linearity?

Both games have mandatory prologue, both games have about the same amount of "planetary side quests" and in both games the meatier quests are designed to be completed in one go.
The difference is in the distribution of what I consider meaty content.
Prologues, endgames and running around hub(s) aside, both games come with the set of meatier self contained "episodes". ME1īs episodes are longer and usually more elaborate (Liara rescue being an exception) than the ones in ME2, but ME2 contains much, much more ofīem.
True, ME2 has a higher amount of linear content. I agree with that. Unfortunately, they all boil down to linear corridor/cover shooter areas.

Also, ME1 effectively has only one hub warranting quest-related re-visits, whereas ME2 has four.
ME1 has a huge and elaborate hub - and ME2 has boring and featureless hubs after you visit them first.

For better or worse, ME2 was simply designed as a game with a slimmer core story than ME1, but made up for it by containing a crapload more of not core plot related stuff. It can also be completed without ever visiting the Citadel, Illium or Tuchanka or engaging in quite a few of those meatier quests, whereas in ME1 pretty much all thatīs meaty is mandatory.
As a result, for me the sense of free roaming is stronger in ME2 than in ME1.
Well, I had zero sense of free roaming in ME2, I'm afraid. I agree that the content was tighter and more interesting - but it had all but lost the sense of mystery and freedom. Also, the cover-based combat was EXTREMELY predictable - and you knew exactly when enemies would appear before you engaged them. I almost fell asleep playing ME2 - it was so predictable.
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