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Default Dart and Thrasher - the great ME Debate

November 20th, 2012, 21:46
Well the ME1 planet quest hubs were fewer and locations were larger, without a doubt especially (the Citadel which was my favorite). But fewer details and less variety. To each his own, I suppose.

I thought most of the level designs in both games were basically long tunnels, and enemy encounters also mostly predictable in both. No big difference there.

Really do miss the open Mako planet surface exploring though, even though the things found were generic and most copy paste copies of such found previously. But beats ME2 planet scanning by a long shot.
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November 20th, 2012, 21:48
I think we can just conclude that Thrasher and DeepO are younger at heart and more easily impressed by the shooting gallery spectacle and edgy characters
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November 20th, 2012, 22:26
Bland repetitiveness is something that impresses old farts, apparently.
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November 20th, 2012, 22:32
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
I mind clichés that are being presented as something special or new - and I think Thane wins the award there.
His alieness is new but not his situation. I'd rather have a cliche situation with an interesting background than a cliche with also a cliche boring background. To each his own.
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November 21st, 2012, 02:01
Originally Posted by Thrasher View Post
Bland repetitiveness is something that impresses old farts, apparently.
Funny, I never thought of you as an old fart before.

Perhaps a mod could move this page to a new thread?
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November 21st, 2012, 09:26
Originally Posted by Thrasher View Post
His alieness is new but not his situation. I'd rather have a cliche situation with an interesting background than a cliche with also a cliche boring background. To each his own.
I'd rather have an honest cliché than a deceitful cliché, but to each his own
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November 21st, 2012, 10:20
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
I really disliked the ME2 NPCs for the most part (except for that loyal Soldier black dude - he was pretty good and plausible).
You liked JACOB??? He was the most annoying douche in ME2 =.= To think that he is a romance option for FemShep creeps me out. Makes me want to punch whoever thought it was a good idea to make him a romance option. Probably second most horrible romance option I've came across - worst award goes to Casavir from NWN2.

On the other hand, I really liked most of other NPCs (in particular, Garrus, Mordin, Samara, Thane and Legion). To my surprise, I actually quite like Miranda and Jack as well. For some reason, I actually disliked Tali (who is a huge favourite for many ME fans out there).

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November 21st, 2012, 11:13
Originally Posted by purpleblob View Post
You liked JACOB??? He was the most annoying douche in ME2 =.= To think that he is a romance option for FemShep creeps me out. Makes me want to punch whoever thought it was a good idea to make him a romance option. Probably second most horrible romance option I've came across - worst award goes to Casavir from NWN2.

On the other hand, I really liked most of other NPCs (in particular, Garrus, Mordin, Samara, Thane and Legion). To my surprise, I actually quite like Miranda and Jack as well. For some reason, I actually disliked Tali (who is a huge favourite for many ME fans out there).
Yes, I really liked the writing for Jacob - and found him an appealing character, if a bit dull.

If you read the thread, you'll discover my reasons.
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November 21st, 2012, 17:59
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
I'd rather have an honest cliché than a deceitful cliché, but to each his own
I don't see anything deceitful. Sometimes people take their games too personally, as if they have to be believable otherwise they are deceitful. Anthropomorphising games is not very rational. Science fiction is not reality. I have enough realism in my life already that I'd prefer games to provide something engaging, first, realism comes in a far second.
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November 21st, 2012, 19:05
Originally Posted by Thrasher View Post
I don't see anything deceitful. Sometimes people take their games too personally, as if they have to be believable otherwise they are deceitful. Anthropomorphising games is not very rational. Science fiction is not reality. I have enough realism in my life already that I'd prefer games to provide something engaging, first, realism comes in a far second.
What I mean by deceitful, is that Bioware is trying to present what's essentially a very familiar cliché as something new and special - by adding an alien "environment" into the mix.

Maybe deceitful is a bad word for this, because it's not impossible that the writer/designer is simply not aware that what he's doing is not new or special - but something that's been done a million times before - dressed up a bit.

That's why I like Jacob - because it's like they know he's "standard". He's just another loyal soldier - and he's not trying to be in-your-face special or have something oh-so-profound to say (or those cringeworthy soap opera quick cuts of Thane). He is what he is - and nothing more. I like that.

I don't think you can accuse me of taking games personally. Well, obviously you can - but you'd be quite wrong

I just respond to what's there.
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November 21st, 2012, 19:21
Yeah, I was just taking issue with the word deceitful. I don't think the writers are trying to fool anyone. Why would you think a writer intended to fool us? I think they are just trying to write the best story/dialogue they can. I can't imagine why they would try to do otherwise.

There aren't that many new ideas under the sun, so of course most game fiction is going to be cliche or at least highly derivative of previous work to anyone who is well read in the genre.

Now, the marketing department, their business is to convince (or fool for particularly bad products) people into buying their product. Using deceitful for them would be entirely appropriate. But I don't really want to get into another semantics runaround.
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November 21st, 2012, 19:25
Originally Posted by Thrasher View Post
Yeah, I was just taking issue with the word deceitful. I don't think the writers are trying to fool anyone. Why would you think a writer intended to fool us? I think they are just trying to write the best story/dialogue they can. I can't imagine why they would try to do otherwise.
Yeah, it's a bad word. Let's call it a lack of talent or insight. That said, I wouldn't exclude the possibility that writers can use existing clichés and willfully make them appear as something else.

There aren't that many new ideas under the sun, so of course most game fiction is going to be cliche or at least highly derivative of previous work to anyone who is well read in the genre.
But you'll note that I'm not requesting new ideas. I'm requesting honesty or a straightforward sale. I just want plausible characters with strong underpinning. I don't need anything new. I find the old stuff can be incredibly powerful - if told well and with heart. Don't try to innovate if you can't do it. Just be honest and know psychology. If you can do that - and you can write, you'll be a much better writer than someone who can write well but can't accept his own limitations or the limitations of the art.

Now, the marketing department, their business is to convince (or fool for particularly bad products) people into buying their product. Using deceitful for them would be entirely appropriate. But I don't really want to get into another semantics runaround.
Let's not go there, no. Wouldn't be good
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November 21st, 2012, 19:37
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
But you'll note that I'm not requesting new ideas. I'm requesting honesty or a straightforward sale. I just want plausible characters with strong underpinning. I don't need anything new. I find the old stuff can be incredibly powerful - if told well and with heart. Don't try to innovate if you can't do it. Just be honest and know psychology. If you can do that - and you can write, you'll be a much better writer than someone who can write well but can't accept his own limitations or the limitations of the art.
Fair enough. As I've said MANY times before, my expectations are pretty low with video game fiction. I have to admit I read and spacebar'ed through more of the repetitive bland dialogue in ME1 than I did in ME2. Not because one was less cliche than the other, but because the delivery and "wrapping" was more interesting. Superficial, yeah, but there it is. If you put lipstick on a pig it at least makes you look twice.
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November 21st, 2012, 19:44
Originally Posted by Thrasher View Post
Fair enough. As I've said MANY times before, my expectations are pretty low with video game fiction. I have to admit I read and spacebar'ed through more of the repetitive bland dialogue in ME1 than I did in ME2. Not because one was less cliche than the other, but because the delivery and "wrapping" was more interesting. Superficial, yeah, but there it is. If you put lipstick on a pig it at least makes you look twice.
I can't say I was overly enthralled with ME dialogue. To me, the strength of ME was the setting, the lore and the mystery. The actual characters and their dialogue were kinda "meh" for the most part. I found ME2 nauseating in comparison - but I think I can appreciate how a lot of people would find that kind of writing more engaging. Those checking out pigs with lipstick, for instance

As a sidenote, I found Dragon Age very superior to both games in terms of characters and dialogue. The lore as well, but I must admit that science fiction is very close to my heart - and I definitely prefer Mass Effect for its atmosphere. Dragon Age had a pretty dull world with a pretty dull atmosphere, unfortunately.

But when it comes to good writing in games - I think we agree that it's extremely rare. For this, I consider The Witcher 2 among the best - and I think Bioforge is still my favorite game in terms of writing
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November 21st, 2012, 19:47
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
I think we can just conclude that Thrasher and DeepO are younger at heart and more easily impressed by the shooting gallery spectacle and edgy characters
I suppose I might be a toddler at heart in that case, as I actually enjoyed the third game the most out of the three.

I hated the Paragon/Renegade system in ME2. You must nearly always choose either the "rude" or "pushover" responses, regardless of whether they fit with your character concept, in order to unlock important content later in the game and squad members like Morinth. You were penalized for any attempt to roleplay the way you think your character would choose to respond. As a result, the dialogue options became a sort of mindless, repetitive mini-game and I never felt any identification at all with the Shepard character.

It was liberating to later play ME3 - with the neutral reputation points, I was finally able to identify with the character I was playing and choose whichever dialogue responses that best fit the role.

Also the levels in ME3 were much more open and interesting compared to the ME2 level design, which was largely corridor, cut scene, corridor, cut scene.

The weapon modifications and slight expansion of the skills was also a nice change.

The choose-your-color ending was pretty lame, but up to that point it was by far the best game out of the three. I believe the ending has been enhanced with a DLC. At any rate, I've never enjoyed passively watching long cutscenes in games, what's more important to me is the gameplay, so the ending didn't bother me too much.

Never finished ME1, so I can't yet compare it in great detail. I played a little under 20 hours. I loved the idea of flying around to various planets and exploring each one, but they were mostly empty except for the base or whatever you were supposed to find there. Would have been wonderful to have some sort of random encounter system for sandbox gameplay. The combat was a little glitchy at times, and I didn't fully understand the inventory and skill system. Not sure whether the Paragon/Renegade system was identical to ME2, but I don't recall feeling like I had to mindlessly choose the same "rude" or "pushover" response over and over.
Last edited by CountChocula; November 21st, 2012 at 20:27.
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November 21st, 2012, 19:49
I should probably come clean and admit that I didn't get far in ME3. I got to… where was it. That planet where you had to recruit some general for the cause. I think it's 2-3 primary missions in.

I just couldn't stand it anymore at that point. Maybe I should get back to it? It just seemed so incredibly rushed and half-assed.
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November 21st, 2012, 19:52
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
To me, the strength of ME was the setting, the lore and the mystery.
This is true for me too. But of course by the time you're done with ME1 and on to ME2, that is all old news and no longer as engaging. The game (and series) suffers for it. The collectors weren't as interesting. But that's the downside with a series that does mst of its big reveal in the first episode. They should have thought it through better, quite frankly. I loved Babylon 5 for the slow piecemeal lengthy reveal.
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November 21st, 2012, 19:57
Originally Posted by Thrasher View Post
This is true for me too. But of course by the time you're done with ME1 and on to ME2, that is all old news and no longer as engaging. The game (and series) suffers for it. The collectors weren't as interesting. But that's the downside with a series that does mst of its big reveal in the first episode. They should have thought it through better, quite frankly. I loved Babylon 5 for the slow piecemeal lengthy reveal.
Yes, Babylon 5 is quite exquisite - oh, and there are multiple references to B5 in ME

But I sense in you a hidden love for ME that overshadows your claimed love for ME2?

It's there… you just won't admit it!
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November 21st, 2012, 20:10
If it wasn't for the dreadful inventory UI, it could have been different.
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November 21st, 2012, 20:11
Originally Posted by Thrasher View Post
If it wasn't for the dreadful inventory UI, it could have been different.
Well, you have a point there. It really is dreadful. Especially dreadful, when you consider how superior the KotOR inventory UI is - which came out years before.
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