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Default RPGWatch 2008 Game of the Year - Best RPG

January 9th, 2009, 15:13
So should I bite the bullet and give fallout a proper go then? I made it out into the wasteland in the end but it's just not engaged me at all.
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January 9th, 2009, 15:15
Originally Posted by Xizor View Post
Dhruin, the wording I chose was designed to kick a conversation off. More people will join in if you call it a lie than a stretch. It was not meant to be insultive, I really appreciate the work that is put in this site.

I do not take polls seriously, do enjoy a good argument though.
For the example, if I wanted to kick things further I'd say that in a fictional poll on whether the stoning of unfaithful women is good and just, in certain parts of the world a poll would say yes. Does it make it good in any way?
For me personally, I think it's very important to say exactly what you mean. When you say that Fallout 3 is just as bad in an "exploratory" way as Mass Effect - it's helpful if you actually mean it. If what you really want to say is that you find Fallout 3 just as bad OVERALL as Mass Effect, or dreary in some general way - whatever - then say that instead.

But if you don't actually mean what you say - you're going to struggle a bit when your words are challenged. Such misunderstandings are not beneficial - or at least I don't think so. Then again, I don't care for conflict for conflict's sake, even if it's amiable like it usually is around here.

Beyond that, I strongly recommend being able to back up any claim that lies in a factual realm. For example, I'd argue that exploration is a relatively concrete concept and if you think Fallout 3 is bad in this way, it should be easy for you to present why you think so - in a logical and consistent fashion. You failed to do that.

As far as a simple subjective opinion such as "Fallout 3 is boring", it should be enough to say that and not mix it up to cause a reaction.

I can promise you that whenever I see something I disagree with - that I care about, even in a small way - I'm going to challenge it. There's no need to spice it up.
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January 9th, 2009, 15:22
Originally Posted by Xizor View Post
I generally like more linear approach to gaming, such as BioWare exhibits in their games. Open ended elements like in the GTA series (just driving, exploring cities, routes, hidden things) mostly do not peak my interest, after completing missions in GTAs I simply stopped playing. Practically the only games I enjoy that are not strongly story driven are 4x games. So, even though I could not be considered an expert on exploration I do enjoy the sense of discovery. For the example System shock series were excellent to me in that regard, even though they are probably not the most non-linear games around.

Back on topic, I sure do hope that some of the upcoming titles in 2009 (Dragon Age, Age of Decadence etc), make up for this one. Perhaps the hope is forlorn, but I will not relinquish it.
Well, I'm a great fan of freedom in pretty much every way - but content is essential for entertainment. In my opinion the GTA series have always suffered from a lack of content. That may sound odd, but I'm talking about having a great open world with nothing but meaningless and trivial activities to actually do. The storyline is typically quite good and there are interesting characters, but the mission design is not always as good and the archaic trial-and-error approach is downright horrible. I want meaningful side quests and character development before I consider GTA more than an amusing time waster.

As for System Shock, being my all-time favorite game, I can't argue with you there. I'm an explorer before pretty much anything else when I play games, and System Shock is all about exploring and discovering the story bit by bit. The original was actually quite non-linear as well, and though certain areas of the space station were off-limits at the beginning, it opens up relatively quickly and it stands as one of the best examples of level design I've ever seen.

The genre originated with the old step-by-step games, most notably Dungeon Master from 1987. These games hold a special place in my heart, and though System Shock did away with most of the RPG elements, it stands as the ultimate evolution of the genre. You could argue, though, that Xenomorph which came out 4 years prior (I think) is the real inspiration and is often overlooked as a major innovator - especially in terms of introducing a strong sci-fi theme and the "disk logs" concept.
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January 9th, 2009, 15:27
Originally Posted by Xizor View Post
Dhruin, the wording I chose was designed to kick a conversation off. More people will join in if you call it a lie than a stretch. It was not meant to be insultive, I really appreciate the work that is put in this site.

I do not take polls seriously, do enjoy a good argument though.
For the example, if I wanted to kick things further I'd say that in a fictional poll on whether the stoning of unfaithful women is good and just, in certain parts of the world a poll would say yes. Does it make it good in any way?
But that doesn't make your point about exploration a very good argument.

I was dissapointed by Mass Effect planetary exploration parts. I had hoped to 'explore' additional alien cultures outside of the Main Storyline. Or even a destroyed world, yes we did get some of those in the Main Storyline locations, but I'd rather would have had 5 more inhabited planets with quests unrelated to the main quest than the dozens of empty planets that only center around the collecting of items on desolate planets. Or quests in very similar looking dungeons.

This Mass Effect exploration quickly became a chore. While with Fallout 3 I'm still finding new background stories.

Also the "mining facility," "space ship" or "space station" dungeons of Mass Effect really suffered from the same problems of the Oblivion dungeons. There really wasn't variance in appearance or layout (well, even Oblivion still might have an edge on the layout front). While Fallout 3 does re-use the same assets or variations of them, the layout, theme and background story (with help of holotapes or terminals) do give the dungeons their own character.
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January 9th, 2009, 15:49
I'm very surprised by the editor's choice,I would never think that F3 could top in a site like that but seems like I'm wrong.
I fount F3 really nice but just for a limited time,after about 20hours it was just so boring that I wouldn't even doubleclick the launcher.Example:Watching a headshot in VATS for over 200 times is really frustrating and the real time FPS was mediocre.
I haven't played Mass Effect because my rig could not run it above 5 FPS
Kings bounty on the other hand was never boring and I still play it,it may not be an RPG but it is a blast to play.
Really bad year for cRPGs I hope 09 will have some high quality games.
Last edited by Kostas; January 9th, 2009 at 16:18.
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January 9th, 2009, 16:01
Comparing the stories, I think Mass Effect is as all about the main plot with cookie-cutter side-quests thrown in; FO3 is all about side-quests and involving exploration, its main quest far plainer than some side quests (Those! is my favourite).

I just finished FO3. An excellent game. But I wish the concept was closer to FO1&2, where you travel to varied communities, make decisions that influence their development and see how it all ties in together in the final narrative. It would be great to have multiple solutions (like in FO1's Cathedral and Stronghold), too. I guess it's too much wishful thinking .
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January 9th, 2009, 16:33
As for "RPG hybrids" dominating - I do not consider Mass Effect an RPG hybrid. Having FPS combat does not automatically make it a hybrid - was Might & Magic 6 ever considered a "RPG + FPS hybrid"?. It certainly has FPS combat, but beyond that it has nothing in common with action games. Combat, in my opinion, has absoluttely nothing to do with whether or not a game is considered a real RPG or not.
It is just plain out wrong to say M&M has FPS combat! It kind of has "realtime" combat, but it has no aiming or dodging or any such kind of thing to make it an FPS, in that case you could even call Wizardry 8 an FPS when you choose the phased-combat.
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January 9th, 2009, 17:14
Originally Posted by Maylander View Post
I voted for Mass Effect, since I loved the story, characters and overall game universe. FO3 would've been a close second though, so I don't mind the two topping the poll.

As for "RPG hybrids" dominating - I do not consider Mass Effect an RPG hybrid. Having FPS combat does not automatically make it a hybrid - was Might & Magic 6 ever considered a "RPG + FPS hybrid"?. It certainly has FPS combat, but beyond that it has nothing in common with action games. Combat, in my opinion, has absoluttely nothing to do with whether or not a game is considered a real RPG or not.
OMG, Mass Effect is indeed a hybrid… actually, it's a 75% shooter 25% RPG hybrid. In my eyes, it deserves less the term RPG than, say, King's Bounty.
When I played ME, I forgot to 'level up' my character for hours and I was doing just fine, then when I realized it, I went to the level up screen and had like 25 points left to assign (that's like what, 8 level ups?). That only tells you that all those stats and skills do exactly … nothing. If stats don't matter, then it's not an RPG, at least not my definition of RPG. Choosing an answer to a question here and there doesn't make it an RPG, an adventure game does that too (and many times… better)
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January 9th, 2009, 19:05
Originally Posted by wolfing View Post
actually, it's a 75% shooter 25% RPG hybrid. In my eyes, it deserves less the term RPG than, say, King's Bounty.
When I played ME, I forgot to 'level up' my character for hours and I was doing just fine, then when I realized it, I went to the level up screen and had like 25 points left to assign (that's like what, 8 level ups?). That only tells you that all those stats and skills do exactly … nothing. If stats don't matter, then it's not an RPG
I think you're exaggerating. The stats did matter, if only for unlocking new powers to use and building them up. You could play the whole game as a shooter, gunning things down. I think that was the whole thing. Bioware decided to give the player that choice. However, unless you're a soldier, I found that the game was difficult without proper use of my skills and planning my battles.

I don't know, maybe the rest of the world is just uber at FPS and I suck. But in the end, not simply gunning down everything in sight was the more satisfying way of playing, anyway.
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January 9th, 2009, 19:25
Originally Posted by Thaurin View Post
I think you're exaggerating. The stats did matter, if only for unlocking new powers to use and building them up. You could play the whole game as a shooter, gunning things down. I think that was the whole thing. Bioware decided to give the player that choice. However, unless you're a soldier, I found that the game was difficult without proper use of my skills and planning my battles.

I don't know, maybe the rest of the world is just uber at FPS and I suck. But in the end, not simply gunning down everything in sight was the more satisfying way of playing, anyway.
This could have some validity if the game asked you in the beginning if you wanted to play it as a shooter, and by doing so, it would automatically level your stats/skills without your interaction. But this is not the case, I was pretty much killing everything without raising any stats or skills (and I'm most certainly not 'uber' at FPS). Maybe when you fight the 2 or 3 main bosses it might make a difference (not sure as I had already applied the points then), but for 95% of the game it doesn't.
It would be interesting to try and play the game without ever going to the level up screen.
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January 9th, 2009, 19:26
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.
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January 9th, 2009, 19:27
Wait! WAIT!! I didnt' get to vote!

Crap!

Next year wait for me, huh? :-P
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January 9th, 2009, 19:36
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
it's almost inexcusable to come up with such uninspired and lazy implementations of classic RPG features….. Everything since then, like the EA deal, is just the natural evolution of a complacent company that turned greedy.
Yes, this is exactly how I felt about Mass Effect when I played it; this is also the reason why I'm not leaping to buy anything that comes out of Bioware going forward. They have been moving closer and closer towards the EA model of "paint by numbers, to make the numbers" with each successive game.

FO3, even though a severely gimped/bastardized version of FO, at least tried to offer real exploratory possibilities. In fact, the core gameplay involves simply grabbing your gun and heading out into the wilderness to see what happens. Doing that in Mass Effect, as opposed to following the main plot line, becomes oppressively boring.
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January 9th, 2009, 21:32
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
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.
I agree somewhat, although I think Bioware actually started going in that direction even earlier. It was KotOR that made me start to lose respect for them.

Having said that, I still think Mass Effect is a very good game, and Jade Empire wasn't bad either. They just weren't as good as anything from the pre-KotOR years.
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January 9th, 2009, 22:20
Originally Posted by wolfing View Post
It would be interesting to try and play the game without ever going to the level up screen.
Supposedly one reviewer from a FPS site did this and couldn't finish. He got to a certain point and it was just too hard.

The thing about Mass Effect's progression system is that YOU START OUT COMPETENT (in basic things). When you level up you are adding an incremental boost on your already pretty good skills. In most other RPGs you start out as an utter schmuck who dies when someone sneezes. Going from 1st to 2nd level in those games is a big deal as it can literally double your effectiveness at everything.

I really like this and I hope they continue with it. Literature is filled with many fine stories that aren't farm boy becomes demigod and overthrows super boss monster.
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January 9th, 2009, 22:31
Originally Posted by Kostaz View Post
I'm very surprised by the editor's choice,I would never think that F3 could top in a site like that but seems like I'm wrong.
I expected that sort of reaction but, honestly, I can't think of a different way for me to vote. Yeah, Fallout 3 was flawed all over the place (which we say) but I still enjoyed it more than anything else on that list - warts and all.

-= RPGWatch =-
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January 9th, 2009, 23:03
Originally Posted by Dhruin View Post
I expected that sort of reaction but, honestly, I can't think of a different way for me to vote. Yeah, Fallout 3 was flawed all over the place (which we say) but I still enjoyed it more than anything else on that list - warts and all.
I guess you're right after all I can't think of a great RPG in 2008.
I guess I'll have to quote a guy from Codex(I don't do that)

There were RPGs released in 2008?
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January 9th, 2009, 23:41
Hahaha, that was a killer quote! There are definetely people craving for a great CRPG and so am I!

Now if I could just find enough graphics artist to finish my project everything would be solved for 2009 including the 2009 game of the year
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January 9th, 2009, 23:50
Originally Posted by skavenhorde View Post
I would of
Would've = correct
Would of = incorrect and makes absolutely no sense.

Sorry but this is the 4th time I've come across this error today and it annoys the crap out of me (see it daily on boards)!!!

Back to topic: this was a pathetic year for CRPGs and it's sad but 1st person action/RPGs will soon become the standard. We can thank all the FPS console gamers for that (Fallout 3, Oblivion, Mass Effect all major successes, all on XBox/PS3).

Not to knock console gamers, I'm one myself. And that being said Persona 4 released last month on the PS2 and its predecessor are far more entertaining than any CRPG I've played in the last 2 years.

The Persona games ooze style, uniqueness, have challenging combat, are well written (relative to their settings, they both center around a bunch of High School kids so this isn't Shakespeare), have a good deal of humor, and a tremendous degree of polish (from cut scenes to interface, heck to title screens!).

I've been catching up on my console/Japanese style RPGs this past year after finally getting a PS2 Christmas of 2007. I had a Gamecube but only a handful of RPGs came out for it and between the GC, PC gaming, a Dark Age Of Camelot addiction (now Warhammer, lol) and other things just had no time for a second console. Also became bored to tears during the end of the PSONE's heyday so I really gave up on the genre.

But playing Persona 3 & 4, Final Fantasy X & XII, and a few others I've realized that JRPGs have evolved a bit and for the best (FF XII's combat system and the massive scope of the game world are good examples). Persona's modern world settings do wonders for the genre as well. And I realized you just can't get as attached to PC CRPG characters the way you can to console JRPGs - there just isn't that level of characterization which in some games CAN be enough to sustain tired gameplay mechanics.

And even when JRPS eschew turn based for an action-centric style (Star Ocean, Tales games) there is still an element of strategy - of course it helps these are all party based. In other words they still "FEEL" like JRPGs.

But with CRPGs it's a whole other story. I just can't stomach 1st Person (or 3rd Person) action based RPGs. While they are beautiful to look at they don't feel like RPGs anymore.

The only really good party based CRPG released in the last few years was NWN: MoTB and if not for the great writing/story and setting it would have been as lackluster as NWN 2's OC because the NWN 2 engine fails on so many levels and the game suffers from cakewalk combat difficulty (as do most Bioware & Obisidian games, post BG 2).

Maybe I'm jaded with CRPGs in general. Or maybe I'm waiting for a game that will give me the feeling of elation I had when I first played Planescape or Fallout or BG 2.

Heck I reinstalled Wizardry 8 again recently. Now there's a 1st person game I don't mind playing - it's party based, turn based, challenging, and didn't have generic characters/classes. Is that too much to ask for in a CRPG?

And it just seems like CRPGs have no "heart" these days.
Last edited by Relayer; January 10th, 2009 at 00:01.
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January 10th, 2009, 00:57
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
For me personally, I think it's very important to say exactly what you mean. When you say that Fallout 3 is just as bad in an "exploratory" way as Mass Effect - it's helpful if you actually mean it. If what you really want to say is that you find Fallout 3 just as bad OVERALL as Mass Effect, or dreary in some general way - whatever - then say that instead.

But if you don't actually mean what you say - you're going to struggle a bit when your words are challenged. Such misunderstandings are not beneficial - or at least I don't think so. Then again, I don't care for conflict for conflict's sake, even if it's amiable like it usually is around here.

Beyond that, I strongly recommend being able to back up any claim that lies in a factual realm. For example, I'd argue that exploration is a relatively concrete concept and if you think Fallout 3 is bad in this way, it should be easy for you to present why you think so - in a logical and consistent fashion. You failed to do that.

As far as a simple subjective opinion such as "Fallout 3 is boring", it should be enough to say that and not mix it up to cause a reaction.

I can promise you that whenever I see something I disagree with - that I care about, even in a small way - I'm going to challenge it. There's no need to spice it up.
Ok so I'll try logically and consistent when being illogical has failed. (Up yours Sherlock Holmes ) So the explanation for my raving is:

Premise 1: I think that side quests in F3 are for the most part an uneventful experience (still better than the main quest). With bleak'n'weak characters. The quests try to be much more but IMHO fail. Some locations are nicely done, but empty.

Premise 2: The ME side quests do not try to be anything but cannon fodder for loot and XP. That is just miserable, however you quickly accept them as being such and either quit or move on for the sake of loot. The main story is told in a very good way, even though not the most original one in the bunch.

Premise 1a: The exploration in F3 is hindered by "canyoning" the world with debris and ruins. I strongly object to that. If it is an exploration I want to go wherever I want and by any means I want. Drudging along the metro is just not cutting it.

Premise 2a: The Normandy can take you anywhere, practically anywhen. Is a cool ship to boot. Although you do not really explore anything. You pick a system from the starchart, read some nice descriptions of the planets and land on !khazam! another copy-paste planet with bad guys.

Conclusion 1: Exploration in F3 is bad.

Conclusion 2: Exploration in ME is bad.

The degrees of suckiness may vary from person to person, however I still maintain that you cannot pick F3 superior "exploration" as a point over ME

For reasons stated before (being tied to F1&2, and liking a good story over other elements), I am more inclined towards ME than F3.

Thank you for a good conversation, flame on

Disclaimer: the premise-conclusion thing may not follow from a standpoint of formal logic
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