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Default Why Titles Like Mass Effect Are Not Good Games @ 2L

May 24th, 2011, 22:14
The title of this editorial is meant to generate traffic but the substance is less controversial - Second Letter Media argues the presentation of Mass Effect hides less than stellar gameplay mechanics:
The Mass Effect series is arguably one of the best gaming sagas to ever be released. I'm definitely a fan. But, the more I ponder its greatness, the more I believe the game portion of the Mass Effect presenation has nothing to do with its awesomeness.
Crazy? Maybe. But hear me out. When you strip away the epic cut-scene delivered story, the loveable and hateable characters and the fresh coat of graphical paint, what you're left with is an average-at-best 3rd Person Shooter. Both Mass Effect games suffer from hindered mechanics and sometimey artificial intelligence. They also employ perochial (read overly simplistic and pointless) RPG elements and grotesquely linear combat environments.
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May 24th, 2011, 22:14
I think he ment to say all Bioware AI and not just the MassEffect one does is "ther's an enemy nearby? rush towards him! um… yea, rush! what do you mean I'm dead? what traps on the floor? what turrets on the wall?"

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May 24th, 2011, 22:45
When you strip away the epic cut-scene delivered story, the loveable and hateable characters and the fresh coat of graphical paint
I have no idea why that is considered a proof of anything. Pretty much the entire point of Mass Effect is the "epic cut-scene delivered story", why on earth would you want to strip it away? Just to prove that once you strip one of the most important elements of something what remains is not really complete? That's self evident isn't it? It seems to me like saying that if you strip all the brown, green and yellow paint off 'Mona Lisa' what you're left with is an old dirty canvas.

Also I see yet another case of how someone who attempts to say something even slightly unflattering about a successful game has to make absolutely certain to repeat half a dozen times how perfect that game was and how much he loved it.

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May 24th, 2011, 23:33
Yeah, lost me when he couldn't even spell parochial before being condescending enough to define it for me.
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May 24th, 2011, 23:39
There was a game portion to Mass Effect?
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May 24th, 2011, 23:43
Originally Posted by holeraw View Post
I have no idea why that is considered a proof of anything. Pretty much the entire point of Mass Effect is the "epic cut-scene delivered story", why on earth would you want to strip it away? Just to prove that once you strip one of the most important elements of something what remains is not really complete? That's self evident isn't it? It seems to me like saying that if you strip all the brown, green and yellow paint off 'Mona Lisa' what you're left with is an old dirty canvas.

Also I see yet another case of how someone who attempts to say something even slightly unflattering about a successful game has to make absolutely certain to repeat half a dozen times how perfect that game was and how much he loved it.
So did you really just compare mass effect to the mona lisa? Which character in your party shall die the fiery death now? You make the call! Sounds like the work of a master to me. Or maybe you meant it's similar to the mona lisa in how overrated it is, which is the only similarity I can imagine.

Anyway, the point here is some people like to actually have a game to go with their juvenile cut scenes which seem to be written by and for 13 year olds.
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May 24th, 2011, 23:54
I'm not going to get involved in an argument that keeps repeating itself. Its been done before and will be done again countless times.

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May 25th, 2011, 00:30
A better comparison to Mass Effect would be an expensive glaze on rotten meat.
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May 25th, 2011, 09:08
Originally Posted by Dhruin View Post
The title of this editorial is meant to generate traffic but the substance is less controversial - Second Letter Media argues the presentation of Mass Effect hides less than stellar gameplay mechanics:
More information.
Umm…yes? The news there in the editorial is exactly what?
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May 25th, 2011, 11:09
In the end, all that matters is: I liked it.
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May 25th, 2011, 12:40
Originally Posted by holeraw View Post
I have no idea why that is considered a proof of anything. Pretty much the entire point of Mass Effect is the "epic cut-scene delivered story", why on earth would you want to strip it away? Just to prove that once you strip one of the most important elements of something what remains is not really complete? That's self evident isn't it? It seems to me like saying that if you strip all the brown, green and yellow paint off 'Mona Lisa' what you're left with is an old dirty canvas.
The point is that if the cutscenes are the most important aspect of a game it might not be the best of games. Compare it to heavy rain if you will, it does not focus that much on actual gameplay rather it shares more similarities with movies because the gameplay seems more like an afterthought than the main focus of the game.
While the Mass Effect series aren't as extreme they can easily be compared.

One could also draw parallels to Planescape: Torment, even if the story isn't nearly as well told in ME and PS:T does not encourage much combat at all. The problem here is that the quality of the "epic" cutscenes of Mass Effect never reach even the lower standards of film, neither in acting, writing nor cinematography. You just can't compete with proper films, but you can do some decent writing in games which PS:T did.

Finally, if you spend half the game hiding behind chest high walls and shooting stuff it better be good, sadly Bioware does not seem to realize this as evident by the many dull and repetitive encounters during the games. Mass Effect is a Mona Lisa painted with feces, it's nice to look at from a distance but it stinks.
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May 25th, 2011, 12:42
What he's saying is that Mass Effect is a captivating movie - but a middling game.

See, I can be brief when there's nothing more to it
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May 25th, 2011, 13:09
I guess the message could also be stated positively: Even a game with poor gameplay can be a great experience. Just goes to show that "video games" today includes formats that only have a tenuous realtionship to their heritage as games, but rather represent various forms of "digital interactive entertainment". Not really new either - text adventures were an early from of that, I would say. As long as there are still games that are primarily about gameplay as well, I do not mind.
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May 25th, 2011, 13:19
Originally Posted by Second Letter Media
one of the best gaming sagas[…]awesomeness.
"Not worth reading" tags.
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May 25th, 2011, 13:20
My statement wasn't inherently negative or positive, though.

I liked Mass Effect a lot.

Personally, I can't help but think of what it would have been as a great game on top - but that's me
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May 25th, 2011, 13:28
Originally Posted by Jack View Post
The point is that if the cutscenes are the most important aspect of a game it might not be the best of games.
Maybe, but still if cutscenes are the indeed the most important aspect of a game judging that game while ignoring the cutscenes is pointless.

Games as a medium is possibly the most complex one. It has all the qualities of film and tv - moving image, sound etc. + interactivity. For a game to be 'good' all those elements must work well together ie. it's not so important for each element to be good on its own but it is crucial that it will be part of the team, sometimes by not clashing with the rest to attract all the attention - it's not so important for the story of Mass Effect to 'reach the standards of film' but it is crucial that it will work within the game. (and if you ask me, I think it doesn't do the best job there, but that's not the point at all)

Think of the soundtrack of a film as such element for example. You might think that the Beatles singing 'she loves you yeah, yeah, yeah' is one the peaks of pop music. Now think of putting it as soundtrack in, say, the scene from Psycho during the murder scene in the bathtub. In the way many game critics think: great music + great acting, story etc = great movie… but you know that just wouldn't work.

I remember reading once that many great operas have rather simplistic libretos that don't come near the complexity of storytelling of good theater plays. That was explained as being a necessity because, quite simply, if the audience had to pay too much attention to the plot they wouldn't listen to the music and if they focused on the music the story would confuse them. (And no I'm not comparing Mass Effect to Psycho or the Beatles or La Boheme or anything… just saying.)

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May 25th, 2011, 16:52
Originally Posted by holeraw View Post
I have no idea why that is considered a proof of anything. Pretty much the entire point of Mass Effect is the "epic cut-scene delivered story", why on earth would you want to strip it away?
The problem is two-fold :

1st, Mass Effect is seen as one of THE RPGs of the recent years - which means nothing burt : "influence" !

2nd, Bioware HAS influence over the genre. With Mass Effect. Just like Blizzard had. With their action-RPGs.

The main problem I see here is that Mas Effect MIGHt be well DEFINING the future of what is called an "RPG" …

“ Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage – to move in the opposite direction.“ (E.F.Schumacher, Economist, Source)
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May 25th, 2011, 17:18
Originally Posted by Jack View Post
The point is that if the cutscenes are the most important aspect of a game it might not be the best of games. Compare it to heavy rain if you will, it does not focus that much on actual gameplay rather it shares more similarities with movies because the gameplay seems more like an afterthought than the main focus of the game.
While the Mass Effect series aren't as extreme they can easily be compared.

One could also draw parallels to Planescape: Torment, even if the story isn't nearly as well told in ME and PS:T does not encourage much combat at all. The problem here is that the quality of the "epic" cutscenes of Mass Effect never reach even the lower standards of film, neither in acting, writing nor cinematography. You just can't compete with proper films, but you can do some decent writing in games which PS:T did.

Finally, if you spend half the game hiding behind chest high walls and shooting stuff it better be good, sadly Bioware does not seem to realize this as evident by the many dull and repetitive encounters during the games. Mass Effect is a Mona Lisa painted with feces, it's nice to look at from a distance but it stinks.
so its good for what it is?

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May 26th, 2011, 07:50
I think the author hoped for his article to be read by Bio, so he took the intelligent approach , a little flattery then a little dirt. Maybe this will be the thing that will make them open to critique.
Anyway, something nobody said, i think Bio should really put more effort in the character development and design. Those cut-scenes suck ! The characters are cartboards .. put some emotion in it damnit!
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May 28th, 2011, 04:45
Originally Posted by borcanu View Post
I think the author hoped for his article to be read by Bio, so he took the intelligent approach , a little flattery then a little dirt. Maybe this will be the thing that will make them open to critique.
Anyway, something nobody said, i think Bio should really put more effort in the character development and design. Those cut-scenes suck ! The characters are cartboards .. put some emotion in it damnit!
Actually, I had this conversation with one of the devs last year and he agreed with my points to a degree. The flattery is sincere. I'm actually surprised by how much I like the Mass Effect series. But I'm also honest about the fact that I don't like the "gaming" parts.

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