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Default Mass Effect 3 - Analyzing the Plot

April 3rd, 2012, 01:17
Gareth Fouche (Naked Ninja) has a lengthy examination of the plot in Mass Effect 3 on his blog. Since I haven't played much of ME3, I haven't read most of this, but the summary is pretty negative:
I’m uncertain where to lay the blame though. My instincts say that Bioware is changing since joining the EA collective, 2 games in a row now with such obvious missteps. Also, ME3 introduced team-based multiplayer and is built around a core mechanic that allows easy plug-in DLC and expansion products. Maybe if they’d spent less resources on building an MP architecture and more on what their existing fans love them for, roleplaying and storytelling, the SP game would be better? But you know what the publishers are saying right, gotta fight them pirates. Every big new game property needs an online component and has to offer a “platform” for DLC now. It could be that Bioware has simply reached their pinnacle and slipped over the edge into decline, as is the natural cycle of things, but I suspect EA is giving them a push here, as they have so many other developers in the past.
More information.
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April 3rd, 2012, 01:17
I can't be the only person in the world who enjoys (well-done) DLC, because otherwise they certainly would've stopped making it by now. So why is it a bad thing that they planned ahead and made it easy to link in? I vastly prefer the 'expand the existing game seamlessly' style DLC of Lair of the Shadow Broker to The Missing Link in Deus Ex where it's story-wise part of the original game, but presented as a separate mini-story/application to run. That's just awkward.
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April 3rd, 2012, 02:21
I'm a latecomer to Mass Effect, and am currently playing through the very first one. Naturally I'm trying to avoid spoilers, but from what I can tell from this snippet, it seems the devs made the exact mistake that Rocksteady (Batman Arkham City) deliberately avoided - Bioware made a multiplayer mode instead of concentrating on making the best single player experience possible.

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April 3rd, 2012, 05:18
I think fans are angry that they are selling back parts of the game that should have been including in the begining.Bioware bilds the a game around DLC not DLC around the game.Bio/EA go way overboard with DLC in my opinion plus its overpriced.
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April 3rd, 2012, 05:54
Personally, I enjoyed ME3 much more than ME2 and ME1, and I did not buy the From Ashes DLC, nor did I feel any impact of its absence. Simply because there were some Prothean voice files on the the retail disc image, or whatever it was, doesn't mean the game suddenly has a huge hole without that DLC.

I might pick up some future ME3 DLC if it has a lot of content, or perhaps a "GOTY edition" if it goes on sale very cheap.

A lot of folks complain about day one DLC, but in my view it's the same as any other DLC. Either I will wait to buy it on sale for a couple of dollars from Steam, for example, or I will simply do without the DLC. I'd be inclined to pay a bit more for a large expansion DLC, but never really had much interest the type of smaller DLC that adds new weapon packs or companions.
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April 3rd, 2012, 09:51
I played the From Ashes DLC last weekend. I thought it was pretty cool, but a bit short, as expected. It's not like I felt it was missing from the original game, but I do think it fits right in there. I don't necessarily believe that they had it finished even before ME3 went gold, but if it would have shipped with it, no one would think of it as DLC. It's really more of the same and it would have been cool had it been included at release time.

I'm not bitter, though, the NPC in Dragon Age asking me to buy DLC was a lot more awkward. I did not buy that one.
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April 3rd, 2012, 10:09
I am (or at least was until I saw to the ending) a ME fan so I got the From Ashes DLC right away. The actual mission where you get your new team mate is indeed not very long but in my opinion that mission wasn't the main reason for the DLC. Bringing Javik along on your missions puts a Prothean spin on many of the things you experience and a Prothean commentary on many of the races you encounter.

In fact, as Liara quickly realizes, it turns out that the Protheans were not at all as we thought

However, nothing of the main story is lost by not buying the DLC but as far as DLCs goes it wasn't half bad; nowhere near the Borderlands DLCs of course but okay.

"Chess in particular had always annoyed him. It was the dumb way the pawns went off and slaughtered their fellow pawns while the kings lounged about doing nothing that always got to him; if only the pawns united, maybe talked the rooks around, the whole board could've been a republic in a dozen moves." - Commander Vimes in Thud! by Terry Pratchett
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April 3rd, 2012, 11:14
After having finished all 3 games now I think that ME2 was my favourite of the 3. Action wise the third one is probably the best while the first one, as many would agree, is the most "RPG-like" in the series. The second was a good mix of everything.

It feels as if the series went from being relatively high on RPG element and poorish combat to pretty excellent combat and almost no RPG. The way I see it, if they'd kept improving the combar sequences without dropping the quality bar in RPG and story-telling department, ME probably would have been the greatest series in gaming history.
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April 3rd, 2012, 11:22
I just played all of them for the first time - 1 through 3. 1 was my favorite as far as RPG factors. 2 was way more actiony and restricted - although the charatcers seemed deeper and more dialogue which I liked. 3 was also very good in that regard and added a little RPG back but not much.

So from a game mechanics point I preferred 1 most. From a story and companion point I preferred 2 and 3 (tied pretty much).

The ending? Did not like it. I won't say hate as that is to strong of a word. But I would have preferred a choice between sad/tragic, neutral, and positive. Certainly could have done without … well you know :-)

Up until the last 10 minutes I fully enjoyed the whole series.

Character is centrality, the impossibility of being displaced or overset. - Ralph Waldo Emerson
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April 3rd, 2012, 12:09
Originally Posted by rich ruffo View Post
Bioware bilds the a game around DLC not DLC around the game.
I think this kind of behaviour would rather fit to EA than to Bioware.

And, from this perspective, it is absolutely PERFECT to limit second-hand sales ! Or at least to get EA's "Project 10 Dollar" through.

“ 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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April 3rd, 2012, 19:20
The counter-argument to day1 DLC complaints is that I'd rather have the extra content available when I'm actually playing the game, rather than having to wait.

I very much enjoyed ME 1 and 2. I played 1 immediately, but didn't get the (very late) DLC. For ME2, it was obvious that there was going to be a fair bit of DLC, so I waited until it was all released before playing the game. It was all extremely enjoyable, and I explored the DLC as it seemed appropriate during the main game.

Having most of the DLC available day 1 or shortly after means that I can get on with my playthrough sooner rather than later!

Right now, I have played through FF-13-2 and finished it all. I suspect I won't be buying further DLC for it simply because I'm done with it, but I *did* buy the early DLC (despite it being fairly poor) because I wanted to experience all of the extras while I was playing it.
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April 3rd, 2012, 19:41
To act like Bioware isn't responsible for the DLC model is incredibly naive. Bioware is owned by EA. Bioware develops these DLC and promotes them. Bioware isn't forced to do this. They willingly do it. I doubt there is someone from EA watching over their shoulders the whole time. I guarantee that the Prothean was cut from the original game and put in as a DLC. It doesn't matter if they developed the mission he's in afterward. He's on the disc. They had everything written (his dialogue) and planned ahead for him to be in the original game.
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April 5th, 2012, 13:45
Huh ?

http://www.ibtimes.com/articles/3234…st-boycott.htm

http://www.forbes.com/sites/insertco…rica-now-what/

Related : http://www.forbes.com/sites/insertco…good-business/

It seems with each new release comes another bold push from EA to pry more money out of gamers’ pockets. But it doesn’t work for consumers to yell “I hate you!” as they hand over their cash. The trade right now seems to be that gamers pay EA a tax in order to access titles they love. The rate keeps going up and up, but what choice do gamers have? Well, they could abandon these franchises and support companies that actually appreciate their players, rather than try to exploit them.

But that’s not realistic in today’s industry. Giant companies like EA and Activision control too much of the market for average gamers to boycott their titles. For every one proud activist who refuses to buy their games out of principle, there are a hundred more who simply don’t care. They’ll buy the titles, pick and choose what DLC they want, be annoyed with DRM and deal with a growing lack of creativity due to corporate interference. But in doing so, the industry gets a little worse with each new title.

“ 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)
Last edited by Alrik Fassbauer; April 5th, 2012 at 14:13.
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April 5th, 2012, 14:14
My suggestion of free DLC as a peace offering to quell both consumer’s ire at the company’s seemingly exploitative practices, and their dissatisfaction with the ending, is to me…a worthwhile business decision. Can they offer new ending DLC for a price, and make money? Yes, but then we’ll be forced into another news cycle covering further rage as fans ask “how dare they?” Yes, they would be at fault for buying it, but to paraphrase one fan, “the ending is so unspeakably bad, I’d throw $10 at it just to make it go away.” They might make money exploiting their own mistake, but making your beloved series end on such a sour note that people will pay to make the pain go away is not a sound decision from a business or creative perspective. “Pay us to make your game suck less” is a trick that’s going to work once, and never, ever again.

What makes consumers happy is not some great mystery. DLC that adds to the game without feeling cleaved out of it. A finale that reflects the grand scale of the story being told, rather than one minute of confusion which ends a hundred hours of a rich tale. No, you’ll never satisfy everyone, but pleasing 90% of fans is better than 5%, which is certainly how it feels with Mass Effect 3 today.

For content creators and the journalists that cover them to say fans are “whining” or “entitled” is missing the point. Keeping the fans happy is what keeps them coming back to the brand. If being great once upon a time sold tickets, M. Night Shyamalan’s box office receipts might rival James Cameron‘s. But once that trust fades, it doesn’t take long to go from eager anticipation to dread, wondering how badly they’ll screw something up next.
I love this quote. Thanks for the link Alrik. Its nice not being called an entitled crybaby from the media journalist for once.

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April 5th, 2012, 14:23
This is perfectly matching my long-standing philosophical approach of "if a game isn't treated as a game anymore, but instead as a tool to generate money profits, then it isn't a game anymore".

EA is imho doing exactly that.

And, o be frank, EA is in my eyes nohing more than a Parasite : Buying creative companies and sucking them off their ideas & creativity.

And then letting the empty hull fall down, or maybe even revive it into some undead "living" much later (the "Origin" brand, for example).

EA has become a life-less emotion-less, a robotic exisdtence feeding on the cash off its consumers. It's a pure drain nowadays.

It is acting like a virus which needs others lives (read: money) in order to exist.

And right now, there are too many corporations like that. Money is their ultimative goal.

Not consumer satisfaction.


And what makes me shiver is that this way of "being" of such a "meta-entity" is partially caused by its heads : The are directing the company so that their pockets get filled, because they are usually among the bggest shareholders.

It's like a vicious circle : "The more you get, the more you want".

It's like cancer. In the business world.

“ 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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April 5th, 2012, 16:42
The origins of the Mass Effect story go back to the time when BioWare principals were selling the company to EA, or were in the midst of a decision whether to sell to EA or another conglomerate. It is quite possible that the Mass Effect story arose out of that conflict as follows.

The Reapers represent EA (collecting and sucking the life out of organics). Organics are either 'family-type' businesses like old Bioware, or the human development personnel there. The Illusive Man is one or both of the BioDocs, i.e., Muzyka and/or Zeschuk, (who are trying to convince the former bioware entity and/or former bioware personnel that the BioDoc(s) are engineering a merger with EA/Reapers for the benefit of organics (BW personnel), and not simply to further the BioDoc(s)' own delusional quest for wealth and power, AND that the goal of the merger is for organics (BW personnel) to take control of the Reapers/EA, led by the BioDoc(s) of course, and to use the great power of the Reapers/EA for the good of organic RPG game developers). And in the end !!! SPOILER ALERT!!! PROCEED AT YOUR OWN RISK !!! the organics have to choose among options of: (i), controlling the Reapers (the Bio Docs take over EA and everything will be great, or so they say); (ii), destroying the Reapers and Reaper technology (thereby threatening continued existence of organics, as organics have become dependent on EA/Reapers, on EA/Reaper funding of game development, and on EA/Reaper game publishing and distribution technology, represented by Mass Effect Relays); or (iii), Synthesis (EA becomes more like Bioware, and Bioware becomes more like EA — a big happy family).

Heh. Based on recent events, particularly ME3, which features a non-organic ending tacked onto a nearly organic main content, it appears the organics chose option iii.

Having said all of that, in all fairness I've also got to add that video game development history is filled with developers and companies who made good, great, even stellar, games and then could not sustain the business, and failed. Nowadays costs for video game development often run in the neighborhood of a million dollars (US) or more per month. Video game companies must be run as businesses or they will fail. That's not to say that financial goals must be the be-all and end-all of video game companies. Passion for making great games must also be a core value in tandem with the core value of running a successful business.

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