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RPGWatch Forums » Comments » News Comments » Baldur's Gate - Enhanced Edition: Review Roundup #2

Default Baldur's Gate - Enhanced Edition: Review Roundup #2

December 7th, 2012, 03:39
Here are a new bunch of Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition reviews.
GameBanshee
Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition could have been great, a tribute to a classic RPG and a promise of things to come for the franchise and for party-based RPGs in general. Its creators clearly had their hearts in the right place in trying to update Baldur's Gate for a newer generation, that's hard to deny. It's also hard to argue with new characters, quests, areas to explore, and a new adventure, all of which are, for the most part, competently done, if ultimately non-essential.
IGN, 8.1
The clue’s in the name. Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition isn’t a remake of the famed RPG classic; instead, it acknowledges the many improvements modders have created over the years while seasoning the content with some worthwhile content additions. Despite a dearth of immediately obvious changes, Baldur’s Gate has aged well, and new players will find many hours’ worth of fun if they approach it with an understanding of its increasingly antiquated framework.
Toppcgamesreview
But outside of these tweaks it’s still Baldur’s Gate. You still get to pick a team of six (or fewer, if you fancy a stiffer challenge or are just a bit of a hermit) characters and travel to classic fantasy-world places (forests, dungeons, medieval towns and castles), doing fantastic things (summoning monsters, hitting nasty things with big swords). The core of the game then, remains true to its 1998 incarnation, and that’s a good thing.
Gamezebo, 4.5/5
Since I first played Baldur’s Gate all those years ago, RPGs have morphed beyond all recognition into a genre driven by action and story, mutated to the point where the line between them and even frantic shooters has become blurred. Many of the modern games are brilliant. But this Enhanced Edition is a gentle reminder that just because the model they left behind is old doesn’t mean it has no value. Stat crunching is good. Slow paced combat is good. Dungeons & Dragons is good. And combining all three seamlessly together remains very good indeed.
Eurogamer, 8
Nevertheless, frustrating as these problems are, none of them derail the game. After all these years, it still stands up as gorgeous, engrossing, witty and bloody-minded RPG - and a difficult one, compared to the games it has sired. This is a faithful enhancement that hasn't diluted or modified the original game to bring it in line with modern tastes. There are no achievements to unlock, few second chances and plenty of completely unfair challenges to stumble into. I firmly believe everybody who loves RPGs should play Baldur's Gate; that's a given. The real question is, should you buy it in this enhanced form?
PocketTactics (iPad version impressions)
So far as the interface goes, my quibbles may seem many but they amount to little. With the exception of the blasted hidden doorways mentioned above, the developers have sidestepped all the obvious ways that the new interface might have harmed the game. Even better, they’ve taken advantage of the touchscreen to make Baldur’s Gate play better than ever in a lot of crucial ways. In my first hour of play my stance evolved from skepticism, to cautious optimism, to outright exuberance. BG:EE for the iPad works, and if you’re like me that’s all you need to hear.
Ars Technica
[quote]
The fog of war, rare in RPGs but common in strategy games, and the contiguous nature of the map are possibly a unique combination in RPG history. That seems odd because they work very well together. It's possible to crawl through the world of Baldur's Gate and explore every nook and cranny, feeling confident that you've mastered the Sword Coast. At its best, Baldur's Gate ties narrative progression, geographical progression, and character progression together better than any role-playing game before or since. That's enough to recommend Baldur's Gate as a game i…More information.
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December 7th, 2012, 03:39
"but gamers after a more casual or relaxed diversion may find it more frustrating than fun."

relaxed diversion… It made my day. Let's translate that: casual gamers who find talking, reading, paying attention, making long conversation and pause need too boring to care - well Bioware delivered - DA2.

I have my criticism about EE but when I think what BW became with their awesomnesssss, and more recent ignorance about story building (guess whats on my mind), I cannot say harsh words about Oster's work.
Now BG:EE, in future Project Eternity.. there are lights about RPGS future. Both in story telling and the gameplay.


Bioware made such lights in the past;
in 2007 there was Mass Effect - with great plot, unfortunately the potential was wasted
later was DA:O, which needed to be polished, which had its idiotic solutions like questbags, but tried to remind tactic rpgs… but then DA2 came.
Dunno what mr Laidlaw or Hudson think - but relying only on IGN or other a**lickers is not the best way to keep the pride of once great studio.
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December 7th, 2012, 05:34
Does anyone know what the sales have been like so far? It would have been really nice if the graphics could have been bumped up a bit, but I am still happy with what they have done.

Although BG needed a dressing-up, BG II is a more polished product. I wonder what will be done to make their mark. I really hope these enhanced editions build the way to a BG III…
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December 7th, 2012, 10:45
"Stat crunching is good. Slow paced combat is good. Dungeons & Dragons is good. And combining all three seamlessly together remains very good indeed."

"There are no achievements to unlock, few second chances and plenty of completely unfair challenges to stumble into. I firmly believe everybody who loves RPGs should play Baldur's Gate; that's a given."

I pitty the fools who think that role playing is all about stat crunching, slow paced combat (a.k.a. dice rolling and number crunching in P&P RPGs) and Dungeons & Dragons and no second chances and unfair challenges. The real problem with Baldur's Gate isn't the outdated graphics and UI, the outdated game mechanics and the scarce voice acting (though all these are problems that come with the age…). The real problem with Baldur's Gate and all the other "good old fashioned cRPGs" is that they captured the worst side of P&P role playing games, which is the aspects mentioned on the reviews above: number crunching, slowness, a strategic approach to action and combat, lack of real immersion in the game world (having, instead, immersion in the game mechanics and the strategical aspect of gaming), an uncanny love for the kind of lame fantasy portrayed in most Dungeons & Dragons scenarios and (and this one is the big thing for everybody who is loving the resurrection of dead cRPGs) is the difficulty. The difficulty, by Jove! As if being more difficult had anything to do with role playing, interpreting characters and immersion in a fictional universe. On the good old days combat was hard, enemies were tougher, all happened in appalling turn based slow motion and there were no pointers to your objectives, so you had to spend hours dwelling on dungeons or whatever, searching for something you might not even know what it was. Great role play, indeed… Granted, they did the games like that because the multimedia and interactive aspects of emulating the "real" role playing experience was beyond them at that point, either for technical or monetary reasons, or both most probably. The easiest way to do it was to simulate the dice rolling and strategy parts of games like Dungeons and Dragons.
But guess what? Many role players hated that concept for many years - ever since other games and other concepts came out in the world of P&P. I'm sure that modern cRPGs have much more in common with first person shooters than Baldur's Gate had, but they also have fast paced action, interesting storytelling, nice voice acting (at least when compared to the "good ole' days"), rather nice looking graphics and emphasis on storytelling and interaction with NPCs- and that is the best way to emulate a good role playing experience ("role playing" meaning interpreting characters in a fictional story and not "roll playing"…).
It's a shame that this kind of hipster-geek fashion wave of good old games seems to be announcing the end of evolution of cRPGs. Maybe not the end, but the beginning of a cycle of repetitive retro bullshit, which, because is low-cost and have a solid base of fans desperate to throw away their money at kickstarters for projects that don't even exist yet. I really hope Bethesda and Bioware and other companies still interested in investing in cRPGs don't move to greener pastures when all those kickstarters start showing that a guy who lives in his parent's garage can make a cRPG (comparatively) almost as successful as a big budget game. Sigh.
Last edited by MigRib; December 7th, 2012 at 12:55.
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December 7th, 2012, 14:36
Originally Posted by MigRib View Post
"Stat crunching is good. Slow paced combat is good. Dungeons & Dragons is good. And combining all three seamlessly together remains very good indeed."

"There are no achievements to unlock, few second chances and plenty of completely unfair challenges to stumble into. I firmly believe everybody who loves RPGs should play Baldur's Gate; that's a given."

I pitty the fools who think that role playing is all about stat crunching, slow paced combat (a.k.a. dice rolling and number crunching in P&P RPGs) and Dungeons & Dragons and no second chances and unfair challenges. The real problem with Baldur's Gate isn't the outdated graphics and UI, the outdated game mechanics and the scarce voice acting (though all these are problems that come with the age…). The real problem with Baldur's Gate and all the other "good old fashioned cRPGs" is that they captured the worst side of P&P role playing games, which is the aspects mentioned on the reviews above: number crunching, slowness, a strategic approach to action and combat, lack of real immersion in the game world (having, instead, immersion in the game mechanics and the strategical aspect of gaming), an uncanny love for the kind of lame fantasy portrayed in most Dungeons & Dragons scenarios and (and this one is the big thing for everybody who is loving the resurrection of dead cRPGs) is the difficulty. The difficulty, by Jove! As if being more difficult had anything to do with role playing, interpreting characters and immersion in a fictional universe. On the good old days combat was hard, enemies were tougher, all happened in appalling turn based slow motion and there were no pointers to your objectives, so you had to spend hours dwelling on dungeons or whatever, searching for something you might not even know what it was. Great role play, indeed… Granted, they did the games like that because the multimedia and interactive aspects of emulating the "real" role playing experience was beyond them at that point, either for technical or monetary reasons, or both most probably. The easiest way to do it was to simulate the dice rolling and strategy parts of games like Dungeons and Dragons.
But guess what? Many role players hated that concept for many years - ever since other games and other concepts came out in the world of P&P. I'm sure that modern cRPGs have much more in common with first person shooters than Baldur's Gate had, but they also have fast paced action, interesting storytelling, nice voice acting (at least when compared to the "good ole' days"), rather nice looking graphics and emphasis on storytelling and interaction with NPCs- and that is the best way to emulate a good role playing experience ("role playing" meaning interpreting characters in a fictional story and not "roll playing"…).
It's a shame that this kind of hipster-geek fashion wave of good old games seems to be announcing the end of evolution of cRPGs. Maybe not the end, but the beginning of a cycle of repetitive retro bullshit, which, because is low-cost and have a solid base of fans desperate to throw away their money at kickstarters for projects that don't even exist yet. I really hope Bethesda and Bioware and other companies still interested in investing in cRPGs don't move to greener pastures when all those kickstarters start showing that a guy who lives in his parent's garage can make a cRPG (comparatively) almost as successful as a big budget game. Sigh.
Wow, why don't you tell us how you really feel?

Don't you think there's room for both? I love games like skyrim or the witcher, with action combat and great immersion. I get lost in skyrim for hours exploring and meeting npc's. especially with pc mods but…

I also enjoy the strategic party based games with slow methodical number crunching combat. I guess I see room for both and hope both continue. I see no reason to get rid of one just to have another.

Btw, I own my own company, have loads of cash (which ive invested some in kickstarters)and live far from my parents basement. So your demographic for people that like old school games might be a bit off.
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December 7th, 2012, 14:48
Wow, why don't you tell us how you really feel?
Do I sound angry? Nah, just a bit frustrated about all this.


Don't you think there's room for both? I love games like skyrim or the witcher, with action combat and great immersion. I get lost in skyrim for hours exploring and meeting npc's. especially with pc mods but…

I also enjoy the strategic party based games with slow methodical number crunching combat. I guess I see room for both and hope both continue. I see no reason to get rid of one just to have another.
I sure hope there's room for both. But just take a look at the news in RPG Watch. Excluding Cyberpunk 2077 (which will probably come out near 2077) and the new Skyrim DLC, it's all about indie old school RPG, either in kickstarster, beta phase or about to be realeased form. And this is not to say that the problem is with the site, they are just announcing what's out there. If it were not for open world games like Far Cry 3 and things like Dishonoured, which although it is clealry not an RPG, it offers many choices, the last thing I had played would have been Mass Effect 3, a long time ago. So… Yeah, there's room for everything, but I suppose there's a pattern of RPG retro fashion here.

Btw, I own my own company, have loads of cash (which ive invested some in kickstarters)and live far from my parents basement. So your demographic for people that like old school games might be a bit off.
I was just joking about the quantity of old school RPGs coming out these days. Some of them might really be made by some kid in his parent's home and be a success. Not that that investing a lot of money in a game makes it good, of course, but it is obvious that producing retro games, with retro graphics, retro mechanics, no voice acting and using the role playing internet network instead of big publicity campaigns reduces so much the cost of games that soon the market can very well be flooded with old school new RPGs.
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December 7th, 2012, 19:03
There's definitely room for both types of games… and I personally will enjoy the diversity.

In other news, for those interested, the iPad version of BGEE is now available.
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December 7th, 2012, 19:40
D&D 2e is a particularly poor choice for a cRPG due to its development heritage ("Let's toss this in too!"). Things are ill thought out with different resolution systems for different tasks, it's all unbalanced, the classes are all over the place in usefulness at various times in the game, … The BG games made this worse by showhorning in some 3E stuff. A good table top DM makes this sort of mess less messy but in a cRPG it tends to slap you in the face at every turn.

And note that I still loved most of the D&D cRPGs.
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December 7th, 2012, 21:32
Originally Posted by MigRib View Post
"Stat crunching is good. Slow paced combat is good. Dungeons & Dragons is good. And combining all three seamlessly together remains very good indeed."

"There are no achievements to unlock, few second chances and plenty of completely unfair challenges to stumble into. I firmly believe everybody who loves RPGs should play Baldur's Gate; that's a given."

I pitty the fools who think that role playing is all about stat crunching, slow paced combat (a.k.a. dice rolling and number crunching in P&P RPGs) and Dungeons & Dragons and no second chances and unfair challenges. The real problem with Baldur's Gate isn't the outdated graphics and UI, the outdated game mechanics and the scarce voice acting (though all these are problems that come with the age…). The real problem with Baldur's Gate and all the other "good old fashioned cRPGs" is that they captured the worst side of P&P role playing games, which is the aspects mentioned on the reviews above: number crunching, slowness, a strategic approach to action and combat, lack of real immersion in the game world (having, instead, immersion in the game mechanics and the strategical aspect of gaming), an uncanny love for the kind of lame fantasy portrayed in most Dungeons & Dragons scenarios and (and this one is the big thing for everybody who is loving the resurrection of dead cRPGs) is the difficulty.
Running numbers, stats crunching is not roleplaying. Players interested in this do not play roleplaying games. They most likely play a war game at a skirmish level.

Therefore computer games that include those features do not capture the worst side of P&P RPGs because that does not belong to RPG. Those video games are simply war games.

The difficulty, by Jove! As if being more difficult had anything to do with role playing, interpreting characters and immersion in a fictional universe. On the good old days combat was hard, enemies were tougher, all happened in appalling turn based slow motion and there were no pointers to your objectives, so you had to spend hours dwelling on dungeons or whatever, searching for something you might not even know what it was. Great role play, indeed…
Difficulty does not relate exclusively to combat. Role playing should be made difficult to give any substance to role playing.

As to the other things, there are no shortcut for certain activities. Getting lost means getting lost and allocating time being actually lost. Kind of a problem for present days' games when gamers claim they want to experience getting lost but refuse to allocate any time while playing to actually be lost.
It would be clearer from them they do not want to experience being lost.


Granted, they did the games like that because the multimedia and interactive aspects of emulating the "real" role playing experience was beyond them at that point, either for technical or monetary reasons, or both most probably. The easiest way to do it was to simulate the dice rolling and strategy parts of games like Dungeons and Dragons.
Actually, BG explored how to import RPG to computers. Certain sides show that the game had partial understanding of the role a player might get to assume and therefore can provide reciprocity to it. It is more advanced than most of so called RPGs of today.

But guess what? Many role players hated that concept for many years - ever since other games and other concepts came out in the world of P&P. I'm sure that modern cRPGs have much more in common with first person shooters than Baldur's Gate had, but they also have fast paced action, interesting storytelling, nice voice acting (at least when compared to the "good ole' days"), rather nice looking graphics and emphasis on storytelling and interaction with NPCs- and that is the best way to emulate a good role playing experience ("role playing" meaning interpreting characters in a fictional story and not "roll playing"…).
All these features signal a narrative game. Not a RPG. Story is secondary and non essential in a RPG. RP does not require a story. RP requires situations to install the character in his role. A story in a RPG is only good as the RP situations it brings.

For narrative games, it is another story: the story is central and essential to this kind of games.

So basically, it is wargamers versus narrative players, none being interested in RPGs for their content, only for the label.
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December 7th, 2012, 21:32
Originally Posted by MigRib View Post
"Stat crunching is good. Slow paced combat is good. Dungeons & Dragons is good. And combining all three seamlessly together remains very good indeed."

"There are no achievements to unlock, few second chances and plenty of completely unfair challenges to stumble into. I firmly believe everybody who loves RPGs should play Baldur's Gate; that's a given."

I pitty the fools who think that role playing is all about stat crunching, slow paced combat (a.k.a. dice rolling and number crunching in P&P RPGs) and Dungeons & Dragons and no second chances and unfair challenges. The real problem with Baldur's Gate isn't the outdated graphics and UI, the outdated game mechanics and the scarce voice acting (though all these are problems that come with the age…). The real problem with Baldur's Gate and all the other "good old fashioned cRPGs" is that they captured the worst side of P&P role playing games, which is the aspects mentioned on the reviews above: number crunching, slowness, a strategic approach to action and combat, lack of real immersion in the game world (having, instead, immersion in the game mechanics and the strategical aspect of gaming), an uncanny love for the kind of lame fantasy portrayed in most Dungeons & Dragons scenarios and (and this one is the big thing for everybody who is loving the resurrection of dead cRPGs) is the difficulty. The difficulty, by Jove! As if being more difficult had anything to do with role playing, interpreting characters and immersion in a fictional universe. On the good old days combat was hard, enemies were tougher, all happened in appalling turn based slow motion and there were no pointers to your objectives, so you had to spend hours dwelling on dungeons or whatever, searching for something you might not even know what it was. Great role play, indeed… Granted, they did the games like that because the multimedia and interactive aspects of emulating the "real" role playing experience was beyond them at that point, either for technical or monetary reasons, or both most probably. The easiest way to do it was to simulate the dice rolling and strategy parts of games like Dungeons and Dragons.
But guess what? Many role players hated that concept for many years - ever since other games and other concepts came out in the world of P&P. I'm sure that modern cRPGs have much more in common with first person shooters than Baldur's Gate had, but they also have fast paced action, interesting storytelling, nice voice acting (at least when compared to the "good ole' days"), rather nice looking graphics and emphasis on storytelling and interaction with NPCs- and that is the best way to emulate a good role playing experience ("role playing" meaning interpreting characters in a fictional story and not "roll playing"…).
It's a shame that this kind of hipster-geek fashion wave of good old games seems to be announcing the end of evolution of cRPGs. Maybe not the end, but the beginning of a cycle of repetitive retro bullshit, which, because is low-cost and have a solid base of fans desperate to throw away their money at kickstarters for projects that don't even exist yet. I really hope Bethesda and Bioware and other companies still interested in investing in cRPGs don't move to greener pastures when all those kickstarters start showing that a guy who lives in his parent's garage can make a cRPG (comparatively) almost as successful as a big budget game. Sigh.
Good grief. I guess I'm one of those people who you so nicely brand as "fools". I better don't ask what you consider to be "unfair challenges" in Baldur's Gate, which is a rather easy game. If you want to see difficult, try some of the Wizardry games.

I find the fear that these old school RPGs might somehow be able to kill AAA games pretty laughable. They cater to a rather small audience, too small to make AAA-style games viable. While there may be some people who object to modern graphics, most simply see that this is not affordable for makers of what you call "old school" RPGs. If you love RPGs, like I do, you just watch in horror how this whole genre is of the way of dying a slow death. Not everyone loves these ever more rule-free hiking simulators a la Skyrim or soap operas a la modern Bioware. These games don't only lose features all the time (what you consider the tedious rule set), but actually also roleplaying aspects that you claim to hold that high, in the sense that most of your deeds are without consequence and therefore meaningless.

Obviously, non-tactical battles with hardly a chance at losing in pretty scenery or elaborate pixelated "relationships" of the embarrassing kind are very popular, but not everyone loves them. You know, I like to have some game in my game.

To make this clear: I'm not a rabid old school fan who wants everything to look like in the late 90's. I loved BG and BG II, and Morrowind is also one of my favorite games. They are all pretty easy games, and Morrowind has lots of warts (also in the "lack of consequences" department), but they still had at least some gaming elements and worlds that had some thought behind them. I wouldn't mind games of this kind with pretty graphics. It's just that nobody has the money for it.
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December 8th, 2012, 01:45
Running numbers, stats crunching is not roleplaying. Players interested in this do not play roleplaying games. They most likely play a war game at a skirmish level.

Therefore computer games that include those features do not capture the worst side of P&P RPGs because that does not belong to RPG. Those video games are simply war games.
Yes, I already know about that opinion of yours, but I guess it is obvious that old school games are much more closely related to war games than the modern (so called) playing games. Which, I guess, you would, call action/ adventure games or something like that.


Difficulty does not relate exclusively to combat. Role playing should be made difficult to give any substance to role playing.
In role playing the difficulty involves the choices you make. It could take you time time for the choice making, but you are not supposed to repeat the same scene time and time again, saving it and reloading until you got the "right" choice.

All these features signal a narrative game. Not a RPG. Story is secondary and non essential in a RPG. RP does not require a story. RP requires situations to install the character in his role. A story in a RPG is only good as the RP situations it brings.

For narrative games, it is another story: the story is central and essential to this kind of games.
I do think that story is as almost as important in a role playing game as in a narrative game. You can not play your character in a story you are not interested in, the same way that in a story that you are completely immersed in. Maybe that's just opinion, but it's what I feel about it.
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December 8th, 2012, 01:56
Good grief. I guess I'm one of those people who you so nicely brand as "fools". I better don't ask what you consider to be "unfair challenges" in Baldur's Gate, which is a rather easy game. If you want to see difficult, try some of the Wizardry games.
I was just the reviewer in the original review roundup… I can't really brand Baldur's Gate challeneges as fair or unfair, because Baldur's Gate is a game I just tried a lot of time ago. I know that most of old school had a combat difficulty that was ridiculous, as the game itself created other difficulties beyond the necessary ones, because of it's graphical problems: the scene would be too small to see the details, sometimes you couldn't even detect the enemy…


I find the fear that these old school RPGs might somehow be able to kill AAA games pretty laughable. They cater to a rather small audience, too small to make AAA-style games viable.
I did not mean all AAA games, just role playing games. Most of them aren't AAA, and even those are just a very small niche. And when AAA companies decide that even that little niche is not valuable? There are still lot's of fantasy cRPG, but what about other genres? I don't really like fantasy and I fear that sci fi cRPGs are almost dead now, that Mass Effect 3 had that terrible effect.
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December 8th, 2012, 07:47
To make this clear: I'm not a rabid old school fan who wants everything to look like in the late 90's. I loved BG and BG II, and Morrowind is also one of my favorite games. They are all pretty easy games, and Morrowind has lots of warts (also in the "lack of consequences" department), but they still had at least some gaming elements and worlds that had some thought behind them. I wouldn't mind games of this kind with pretty graphics. It's just that nobody has the money for it.
By the way, it's good that you are not a rabid old school fan. But when you say that you like "some game in your game", and "worlds that had some thought behind them" and "consequences" you are comparing Morrowind and Baldur's Gate to what? Because, no matter what the label tells us, Baldur's Gate, Planescape: Torment, Fallout 1 & 2 and most so called "old school RPGs" have little with common with RPGs. They are, in fact, more closely related to strategy games. Not so? Well, they have isometric view, for a better strategic approach to combat and better view of the battlefield/ dungeon. Check. They are mostly turn based, an archaic method of time control, still used by some strategy games. Check. They usually have parties of characters, and not just one character, or one character plus one or two followers - never send a man to do a squads job, like in any strategy game. Check. The are third person… Hmmm, well, OK, that's not a strategy-only thing, but that kind of isometric third person perspective looks a lot like Stracraft and X-Com which are… Strategy games. Check.
So old school games have well thought worlds, have "some game in their game" and lots of consequence? Well, it's nice when strategy games have a well thought world, and of course they are true games, not interactive movies, they are strategy games, after all. And there are consequences, of course, you win or you loose (which is not a role playing thing, this wining or loosing bit).
I'm not trying to sell you anything, but most point-and-click adventure games have more of a RPG feeling to them than your average "old school role playing game". That's why "old school" aren't really role playing games. Just as playing D&D in pen and paper form. Most of the time D&D gamers are practicing their arithmetic and map making skills, while making tactical decisions about their party of characters, while they are supposedly role playing. Just supposedly… As in the "old school" kind of games, where the tactical aspect, and the win or loose kind of mentality rules. That's why most non-professional reviews (and some of the professional too) are focused on that nostalgic "where are all the difficult games gone?" kind of discourse. And the usual speech that consists of "I hate all this modern games that have objective pointers, and maps with markers" and "Devs are always dumbing down the games for kids to buy them". I frankly don't give a damn about difficult games, but if I did I would turn up the difficulty of the game. I play for the story and the immersion, not to feel bright for beating the computer or clever for wining the game. Role playing games aren't about difficulty, although there has to be goals with a certain amount of difficulty, else the game gets boring easily, and they aren't about tactical maneuvers, wining or loosing, they are about playing a character, immersing in a world and having fun doing it. Saving and reloading all the time because we are trying to beat the PC in a tactical win or loose situation is a chore, not fun.
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December 8th, 2012, 09:34
Originally Posted by MigRib View Post
I do think that story is as almost as important in a role playing game as in a narrative game. You can not play your character in a story you are not interested in, the same way that in a story that you are completely immersed in. Maybe that's just opinion, but it's what I feel about it.
It is an opinion not based on facts.

Story is non essential in a RPG. All it takes in a RPG is situations.

P&P RPGs rely on scripted stories because there is barely no other way to introduce RP situations and string them together.

RPGs in other fields do waste time with scripting. A RP situation is handed down and players role play.

Computers can deliver stories in different ways: through scripting or by letting the player string by himself narrative events that the game world produces. While the second is usually better done than the first, and totally appropriated to developp a RPG around. Unsurprisingly, RPGers by title prefer the first option over the second.

Immersion is too vague a concept to mean anything.
Certain players consider this feature does not immerge while they dismiss another feature of the same wood, that is as immersion breaking as the previous one.

Developping a game requires direction and one defined, north stays north, east stays east, south stays south and west stays west.
Changing directions every day might end with people going round. Which might be the case in terms of RPG on computer games.
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December 8th, 2012, 09:57
A good tool to part this from that is when NPCs are involved.

In a RPG, NPCs act according to their role. it means that they should be partially to totally independent of the PC.

So it goes to the the famous party-based games.

The idea of role playing a party is mind crushing. It might be possible but heavily stressing.

Anytime, a party is potentially playable by one player only, big chances the game is not a RPG but a war game, skirmish level. You are just the strategic commander of a small band of adventurer.

When looking at BG, the devolution on this side is clear. BG made the choice of trying to import RPG to computers by emulating table experience and bringing proxies for the other players involved in a P&P game(since online gaming was not that available) The idea was that as technology allows, the emulation of the other party members would get better.

BG has some dimension of that, with NPCs acting by themselves on certain opportunities, leaving what could not be delivered properly to the PC.

FO has also a similar dimension.

As years passed, the slider did not go toward making NPC involved in a party more independent of the PC but more dependent, going to give all control to the player.

I expect Dead State on that point. They stated they wanted to go on the partially controlled party members way. Probably not for RPG concerns by the way as they want to deliver a game expressing the tension that can exist among a group of people in apost apocalypse settings. Giving total control on the NPCs will allow to game the tension management easily. A member is near the breaking point. If partially controlled, he might snap during the next mission, jeopardizing the outcome. Fully controlled, it is all up to the player to succeed in the mission to rebuild confidence.
They also stated they know they will have to patch to adjust that dimension. For RPG players, this dimension is no concern as it is essential in a RPG. For war gamers, it is unbearable as the deployment of the strategy(the essential in war gaming) is spoiled by this dimension.
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December 8th, 2012, 12:57
It is an opinion not based on facts.
It is based on personal experience. Have you experienced all the facts in the world? I guess not…

Story is non essential in a RPG. All it takes in a RPG is situations.

P&P RPGs rely on scripted stories because there is barely no other way to introduce RP situations and string them together.
Well, that's just wrong. First, story IS essential for RPG, at least in the sense of RPG as entertainment, not as a method for achieving goals. It seems to me that you keep confusing the kind of role playing used in psychology or in professional formation with role playing just for entertainment purposes. If in the first two cases mere situations are enough, in the second case a story has to exist. Many stories, indeed. A world composed of many stories, the background stories of main characters and NPCs. The story which comes out of what happens during the game. This stories may never be written (although some of them should be, at least partially), but they are stories nevertheless.
Also P&P RPGs DO NOT rely on scripted stories. If they do, then you are doing it (very much) wrong. Just read the rules for beginners in any RPG core book and it's all there, clear as water. Scripted stories are know as "railroading", and even if it happens sometimes, the players will not be satisfied to be just playing pawns in the game masters own script… In cRPGs, of course, it's different.

Computers can deliver stories in different ways: through scripting or by letting the player string by himself narrative events that the game world produces. While the second is usually better done than the first, and totally appropriated to developp a RPG around. Unsurprisingly, RPGers by title prefer the first option over the second.
Ok, true.

Immersion is too vague a concept to mean anything.
Certain players consider this feature does not immerge while they dismiss another feature of the same wood, that is as immersion breaking as the previous one.
Although it is vague, it is the only way to describe a personal taste for a kind of role playing. People who play to create better characters and amass loot and experience points or just kill the most enemies are immersed in a different way of the gamer who prefers exploring the world, having dialogues with NPCs and knowing the lore of the fictional world. I would say that real immersion exists only in the second kind of gamer, but that would be my opinion. As I never was one interested in the "accounting" part of role playing I can not be sure if they ever feel immersed in anything.
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December 8th, 2012, 13:03
Originally Posted by ChienAboyeur View Post
A good tool to part this from that is when NPCs are involved.

In a RPG, NPCs act according to their role. it means that they should be partially to totally independent of the PC.

So it goes to the the famous party-based games.

The idea of role playing a party is mind crushing. It might be possible but heavily stressing.

Anytime, a party is potentially playable by one player only, big chances the game is not a RPG but a war game, skirmish level. You are just the strategic commander of a small band of adventurer.

When looking at BG, the devolution on this side is clear. BG made the choice of trying to import RPG to computers by emulating table experience and bringing proxies for the other players involved in a P&P game(since online gaming was not that available) The idea was that as technology allows, the emulation of the other party members would get better.

BG has some dimension of that, with NPCs acting by themselves on certain opportunities, leaving what could not be delivered properly to the PC.

FO has also a similar dimension.

As years passed, the slider did not go toward making NPC involved in a party more independent of the PC but more dependent, going to give all control to the player.

I expect Dead State on that point. They stated they wanted to go on the partially controlled party members way. Probably not for RPG concerns by the way as they want to deliver a game expressing the tension that can exist among a group of people in apost apocalypse settings. Giving total control on the NPCs will allow to game the tension management easily. A member is near the breaking point. If partially controlled, he might snap during the next mission, jeopardizing the outcome. Fully controlled, it is all up to the player to succeed in the mission to rebuild confidence.
They also stated they know they will have to patch to adjust that dimension. For RPG players, this dimension is no concern as it is essential in a RPG. For war gamers, it is unbearable as the deployment of the strategy(the essential in war gaming) is spoiled by this dimension.

Unfortunately NPCs acting their own way, independent of the main character doesn't make a role playing game, other aspects must be there. Or are you telling us that although you do not accept the label of RPG on most modern computer games that use it (as I recall you already said that the Mass Effect trilogy, both Dragon Ages, FO3 and FONV, both Witchers, all Deus Ex and Skyrim are not RPGs), you consider old school to be true RPGs? Is that so? For you, Baldur's Gate is adequately labeled as RPG because NPCs sometimes do something that the main character didn't? Hope not, because old school games are very closely related to strategy games in most aspects, and that is a very non-RPG thing.
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December 8th, 2012, 19:26
Originally Posted by MigRib View Post
By the way, it's good that you are not a rabid old school fan. But when you say that you like "some game in your game", and "worlds that had some thought behind them" and "consequences" you are comparing Morrowind and Baldur's Gate to what? Because, no matter what the label tells us, Baldur's Gate, Planescape: Torment, Fallout 1 & 2 and most so called "old school RPGs" have little with common with RPGs. They are, in fact, more closely related to strategy games. Not so? Well, they have isometric view, for a better strategic approach to combat and better view of the battlefield/ dungeon. Check. They are mostly turn based, an archaic method of time control, still used by some strategy games. Check. They usually have parties of characters, and not just one character, or one character plus one or two followers - never send a man to do a squads job, like in any strategy game. Check. The are third person… Hmmm, well, OK, that's not a strategy-only thing, but that kind of isometric third person perspective looks a lot like Stracraft and X-Com which are… Strategy games. Check.
This whole paragraph is so wrong, I don't quite know where to start. I have the feeling you read too many of these brain-dead editorials, where some guy with questionable background in gaming tries to redefine the definition of games. Your definition of RPG is called action adventure. Wrong genre.

An RPG is a game where you replace your own capabilities by those of one or several characters, the role(s) of which you take over. To make this possible, your own capabilities are replaced by sets of numbers that play out in conflict resolutions of any kind. This is a problem with many modern RPGs that implemented shooter mechanics, as they suddenly fall back on player skill for fighting, which is a loss of an RPG element (you use your own "stats", not those of the role you play). Story is secondary, though nice to have to keep you interested in playing. Actually, a good story is very difficult to reconcile with the idea of an RPG, as a good story tends to set you on rails, or it's not a good story. That becomes clear if you think of Planescape:Torment, which has an excellent story, but with very mediocre gameplay elements. The old Fallouts are the opposite case.

It's actually the same with PnP games. The good games are the ones where the DM recognizes when to abolish the story he had in mind and just let the players do their thing. A good DM accepts the deeds of the players as story and doesn't force the grand story he had in mind on them. All in all, story is a completely unimportant aspect of RPGs and often enough gets in the way. Of course, a computer can never replace a human being in this regard, so some railroading becomes necessary.

Really, the closest you get to real RPGs (like D&D) are all these old games that you try to redefine as strategy games, because it fits your agenda. A game like Baldur's Gate manages to capture the mood of a real life RPG session quite well. You don't even have to rely on me: Bioware made it very clear that the Mass Effect series isn't really pure RPG anymore, but an RPG/shooter hybrid.
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December 8th, 2012, 21:20
This whole paragraph is so wrong, I don't quite know where to start. I have the feeling you read too many of these brain-dead editorials, where some guy with questionable background in gaming tries to redefine the definition of games. Your definition of RPG is called action adventure. Wrong genre.

An RPG is a game where you replace your own capabilities by those of one or several characters, the role(s) of which you take over. To make this possible, your own capabilities are replaced by sets of numbers that play out in conflict resolutions of any kind. This is a problem with many modern RPGs that implemented shooter mechanics, as they suddenly fall back on player skill for fighting, which is a loss of an RPG element (you use your own "stats", not those of the role you play). Story is secondary, though nice to have to keep you interested in playing. Actually, a good story is very difficult to reconcile with the idea of an RPG, as a good story tends to set you on rails, or it's not a good story. That becomes clear if you think of Planescape:Torment, which has an excellent story, but with very mediocre gameplay elements. The old Fallouts are the opposite case.

It's actually the same with PnP games. The good games are the ones where the DM recognizes when to abolish the story he had in mind and just let the players do their thing. A good DM accepts the deeds of the players as story and doesn't force the grand story he had in mind on them. All in all, story is a completely unimportant aspect of RPGs and often enough gets in the way. Of course, a computer can never replace a human being in this regard, so some railroading becomes necessary.

Really, the closest you get to real RPGs (like D&D) are all these old games that you try to redefine as strategy games, because it fits your agenda. A game like Baldur's Gate manages to capture the mood of a real life RPG session quite well. You don't even have to rely on me: Bioware made it very clear that the Mass Effect series isn't really pure RPG anymore, but an RPG/shooter hybrid.
I have no agenda, I make no money out of my views on role playing games. And I don't read many editorials about cRPGs. But…
I started playing role playing games (the P&P variety) in the early 90s, mostly as a game master, but many times as a player. I stopped playing them about a couple of years ago because life got in the middle. I played and game mastered a wide variety of games and genres, from horror, to cyberpunk, from fantasy, to hard sci fi. I can mention some of the games I played, among them Kult, Vampire, D&D, World of Darkness (and before that Vampire the Masquerade), Conspiracy X, Pendragon, Traveller, Trinity, Underground, Star Wars, Battlestar Galactica. The list goes on and on…
I know that this doesn't make an expert out of me. But please, do not try to teach what a role playing game is. I know, I had the time to learn it, I guess. No matter how stupid I may be, almost 20 years of hobby are enough to grasp it's basic meaning.
I also know that cRPGs are not the same thing as P&P. But, in my opinion, the more recent games (even though they mix other genres with role play - shooter, as you mention about Mass Effect, and I agree) are much closer to my experience as a P&P gamer and GM than the good ole classics. There are exceptions, naturally. I like Vampire the Masquerade Bloodlines, though it's a bit old by now, and I could like Morrowind if not for the motive that most people like it - the strange environment. But that's just a matter of taste. Deus Ex has rather bad voice acting, but in it's time was a great game nonetheless. Both KOTOR are great games. All these ones have nothing to do with strategy or tactical mentality. Baldur's Gate and all D&D inspired games have. And those I do not like.
Anyway…. Mostly, the good ole' classics were restricted by technical limitations, and it was easier to implement mechanics that emulated the rules of a P&P game than all the rest. And by all the rest I mean the creation of an environment that substitutes the players' imagination around the gaming table (this replacement is supposed to happen in a video game, even if the players imagination is still necessary), and that recreates the role of the game master - not just as a referee, but also as the one responsible for all the NPCs and the interaction of the gamers' characters with the imaginary space they are sharing. Good graphics, good music, good voice acting, are essential for all this - in my opinion. Good stories also, and those do not change because of technical issues. But it is my firm believe that the narratives and dialogues of the old school games were not better (I would even say they were normally much worse) than recent games. There are exception, of course.
Story is not secondary (though "story" is not the linear story which you seem to imply that it is the only one possible in RPGs), mechanics are not the most important thing in role playing. In fact, they are only tools for achieving a purpose. Role playing, as in "interpreting a character", is the most important thing, as the name "role playing game" implies. If you do not agree with this, then it is your agenda that is mixed up.
Last edited by MigRib; December 8th, 2012 at 21:37.
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December 8th, 2012, 21:50
Well, I'm still playing in D&D games and GMing a Star Wars game. Just to get that out of the way.

Originally Posted by MigRib View Post
If you do not agree with this, then it is your agenda that is mixed up.
Sorry, no. While you seem to put much stress on the "role playing" as, if I see this right, acting, you seem to completely neglect the "game" part. This confinement on "playing a role" makes the whole genre description meaningless. Then you end up with something like this being the epitome of role playing.

Regarding narratives, do you still find PS:T or Fallout level stuff nowadays? Most of it is so dumbed down that I have to ask myself why I have to listen to that garbage. I mean, with a story like in ME3, you have to just forget about logic and try to enjoy the game despite the awful narrative, not because of it. But that happens when you have to broaden your audience to an extent that you have to be careful to be "all-inclusive".

Sure, there were "old school" games where narrative didn't matter much. Goldbox games, for instance, which are quite primitive in this regard. With the Wizardries or M&Ms, narrative played also mostly second fiddle. But that's fine, they were first and foremost games, not soap operas where you press a button once in a while.
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