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RPGWatch Forums » Games » General RPG » Dart and Thrasher - the great ME Debate

Default Dart and Thrasher - the great ME Debate

November 19th, 2012, 20:14
I feel like I should be ashamed, but am liking Mass Effect 2 quite a bit, and more than ME 1.

Why?

Many more companions and their quests, which has been Bioware's strength in fairly recent times (e.g. DA:O). Much more variety in levels rather than the copy paste planet buildings/mines in the first game. And, removal of one of the shittiest inventory systems in memory.

I feel much more connected to the companions in this story. I guess the storytelling is better for them and their issues. Surprise… Some of them I thought were really well done. I actually was emotionally moved by Samara's tragic tale. Great writing / voice acting / animation there.

So yeah, I guess I'm a fan, even though the roleplaying elements are weaker (i.e. fewer choices in inventory and character building) and planetary exploration has no Mako, planet scanning is boring, and planetary surface exploration is less open than ME 1. Cinematic and all that… Well it's not much of an RPG, more of an interactive movie + cover shooter, but still good at times.
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November 19th, 2012, 20:45
Many things can be said about Thrasher, but I always felt he had a decent taste in games. Now, that is lost too

How tragic!
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November 19th, 2012, 21:57
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
Many things can be said about Thrasher, but I always felt he had a decent taste in games. Now, that is lost too

How tragic!
So you purposely recommended to me a game that was bad? Why am I not surprised? Shame on you!
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November 19th, 2012, 22:43
Originally Posted by Thrasher View Post
So you purposely recommended to me a game that was bad? Why am I not surprised? Shame on you!
It's not bad - but ME is clearly the best of the bunch!
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November 20th, 2012, 00:10
That ME1 inventory killed any pleasure it could have given me. But inventory management is my pet peeve. It did the thing I dislike the most, as bad as possible, and I still liked the game. But not as much as a result… Plus I didn't connect or care about any of the ME1 NPCs.
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November 20th, 2012, 04:42
The NPC cast was the only thing I liked better about ME2. I preferred ME1 in pretty much all other aspects.
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November 20th, 2012, 08:15
Originally Posted by JDR13 View Post
The NPC cast was the only thing I liked better about ME2. I preferred ME1 in pretty much all other aspects.
Since the RPG elements are so weak (in both games), they really don't affect my opinion either way. A disappointment in that regard, but I knewit going into it. :/
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November 20th, 2012, 09:23
I really disliked the ME2 NPCs for the most part (except for that loyal Soldier black dude - he was pretty good and plausible). Then again, I'm not a big fan of modern Bioware NPCs - WAAAYYYY too edgy and extreme - especially that assassin character and the insane woman from the asylum, ugh. Talk about trying too hard to get your attention. Miranda would look good in my bed - but her story was one big cliché. The "Illusive" Man? Please! Oh, and the less said about Mordin Solus the better.

It was even worse in DA2 and ME3.

I found characters like Liara, Tali and Garrus much more well-rounded and more like ones you could actually encounter.
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November 20th, 2012, 17:54
Ugh. I found Jacob (i.e. token black guy) the most boring of the me2 npcs. So many of the others were far more interesting. Still appreciating the different level designs and environments. Me1 was far less interesting in this regard.
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November 20th, 2012, 18:06
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
Didn't we finish our ME debate? Or was that someone else. I'll be the big man for once and refrain from retorting
That one finished debate won´t make all your other ME related postings immune to my reactions, sorry .
However, I thought that, maybe besides the ME3 "retort", my wording was quite clear in not being exactly an invitation to a debate, I intentionally refrained from what I´d consider tangible arguments.
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
Well, except that I'm not surprised that Bioware found its audience somewhere. Not unlike most modern TV shows (24 being a good example) - there seems to be a massive audience for that kind of edgy and implausible "let's desperately provoke an effect and reaction" nonsense.
I don´t see a need for every game to adhere to the concept of down to earth or "plausible" characters. Sometimes "edgy" may be refreshing and ME2 is, unlike DA2, competent, not desperate, at being "edgy" in my book. It also quite fits with the Dirty Dozen/Ocean´s 11 concepts. Plus, "edginess" is not a sole defining characteristic of ME2 characters anyway.
Also, I don´t watch shows like 24 .
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
That said, I'm finding myself in agreement with your Dishonored assessment. Particularly the bit about being surprised how it turned out, because I also expected a lot more. I stopped playing it, actually.
Reasonable. I was hoping for some aces in the sleeve in the last few missions, but none appeared.
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November 20th, 2012, 18:42
Originally Posted by DeepO View Post
That one finished debate won´t make all your other ME related postings immune to my reactions, sorry .
However, I thought that, maybe besides the ME3 "retort", my wording was quite clear in not being exactly an invitation to a debate, I intentionally refrained from what I´d consider tangible arguments.
Ehm, so you just made intangible arguments not expecting anything tangible in return? Sure, whatever you say

I don´t see a need for every game to adhere to the concept of down to earth or "plausible" characters. Sometimes "edgy" may be refreshing and ME2 is, unlike DA2, competent, not desperate, at being "edgy" in my book. It also quite fits with the Dirty Dozen/Ocean´s 11 concepts. Plus, "edginess" is not a sole defining characteristic of ME2 characters anyway.
Also, I don´t watch shows like 24 .
Oh, there's no need as such. It's down to what you like and what you prefer. Personally, I don't consider plausible boring or down to earth boring. It all depends. While Jacob wasn't a particularly interesting character (ok, he was dull) - he was the one character I can remember liking in the game because he seemed real and not constructed to fit in a box to provoke a specific response.

Very much unlike most of the others, and Mordin Solus in particular - whose very existence seemed to be about making people think about how "good" people can do "bad" things, as if the audience was made up of 12 year olds. He was an extremely manipulative character that was created to be endearing DESPITE his oh-so-horrible acts that he oh-so-regretted. Yawn.

I love characters with an edge to them, and I appreciate straying from the norm. But it takes a writer who understands human psychology to make it plausible. Oh, and if you're going to do edgy aliens with a very human personality - the same goes for that as well.

Bioware seem to want to provoke an emotional reaction before they want to write plausible characters. Problem with that, for me, is that I have a hard time reacting when I can smell that as the primary motivation. It's probably because I consider truth the most moving thing in the world - and I've never been moved by detectable lies. In this case, implausible characters with forced extremities strike me as lies.

Sometimes, it's hard to quantify and I have a hard time remembering details from ME2. It's more like I have an almost empathic reaction to these things - where I have an instinctive notion of what the writer is doing. Naturally, that's a conceit - but when I feel the writer is trying too hard to make an impression, I react negatively.

You don't watch 24? You'd probably like it
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November 20th, 2012, 20:22
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
While Jacob wasn't a particularly interesting character (ok, he was dull) - he was the one character I can remember liking in the game because he seemed real and not constructed to fit in a box to provoke a specific response.
Well he provoked a response in me. He seemed cliche and almost a racist portrayal. The way he bared his teeth unrealistically like a gorilla really turned me off. All I could think is that the designer must have been racist. Oh well…
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November 20th, 2012, 20:26
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
Bioware seem to want to provoke an emotional reaction before they want to write plausible characters. Problem with that, for me, is that I have a hard time reacting when I can smell that as the primary motivation… but when I feel the writer is trying too hard to make an impression, I react negatively.
I agree. Mordrin was somewhat cringe worthy for this reason. But some of the characters were not for me at least (Tali, Samara, and Thane to some extent). I'd rather have a mixed bag with some good and some bad rather than the bland NPCs from ME1.
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November 20th, 2012, 20:26
Well he provoked a response in me. He seemed cliche and almost a racist portrayal. The way he bared his teeth unrealistically like a gorilla really turned me off. All I could think is that the designer must have been racist. Oh well…
Racist? Sure, whatever

I agree. Mordrin was somewhat cringe worthy for this reason. But some of the of characters were not for me at least (Tali, Samara, and Thane to some extent). I'd rather have a mixed bag with some good and some bad rather than the bland NPCs from ME1.
Tali is Tali - and I like her. Samara was OK - but the whole Mother/Daughter thing and their function was just another extremity. Thane looked cool - but boy how I couldn't stand the quick cuts and emo-driven narrative with his son. I have a hard time imagining a more juvenile way to create sympathy for a straight-up murderer.

As for ME:

Liara. I found her a well-written nerd with a genuine passion for her work. Not a particularly exciting character - but I have a thing for female nerds.

Garrus. He was borderline "edgy" - but somewhat more subdued and with better underpinning. He was also among the more interesting characters.

Wrex. A super typical Bioware character written 100% for effect. He's the Mass Effect version of HK-47. But HK-47 was written by someone with a great talent for that type of character. Not sure who wrote Wrex, but if it's the same person - he should consider retiring. I DID like the whole genophage thing, though.

Kaidan. A somwhat dull character with an excellently written background. I really liked the writing for this one - but found the person boring and uninteresting.

Ashley. Hottie, sure - but too one-sided. But not implausibly so. Quite well written, actually.

Tali. I loved the whole Flotilla concept - and though she's more about her race than herself as a unique individual - I think it ties in well with her background and motivation. She's a selfless character - and therefore it's not all about her.

The best part of Mass Effect is the overall setting and the lore behind it. ME2 didn't really expand on that much - and is quite barren in terms of creating an intriguing setting and world to explore. Again, it's about getting together a team - and it's just too focused on the immediacy and the nauseating characters.
Last edited by DArtagnan; November 20th, 2012 at 20:38.
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November 20th, 2012, 20:38
Yeah, the Thane stuff was sort of shallow. But at least it wasn't cliche like Jacob.
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November 20th, 2012, 20:40
Originally Posted by Thrasher View Post
Yeah, the Thane stuff was sort of shallow. But at least it wasn't cliche like Jacob.
A murderer trying to redeem himself by saving his son that's going down a similar road?

Nah, that's not a cliché

To be fair, though, Bioware is one huge cliché in terms of writing.
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November 20th, 2012, 20:59
Originally Posted by Thrasher View Post
Still appreciating the different level designs and environments. Me1 was far less interesting in this regard.
I found nothing interesting about the environments in ME2. They were incredibly predictable in their layouts, and you can instantly tell when and where you're going to encounter enemies by merely looking around the level.

For me, the fact that the levels in ME2 are more varied than those in ME1 is undermined by the way they're just linearly strung together. The exploration in ME1 wasn't great by any means, but at least it was there. To remove that aspect completely in ME2 was a huge letdown for me.
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November 20th, 2012, 21:06
Also, I found the main planets of ME far more interesting than anything in ME2. I especially loved Feros and Noveria - which both had wonderful and spooky atmospheres, with the latter being my favorite - given the Aliens vibe.

As mentioned elsewhere, the Citadel was a great and visually interesting hub with a lot of stuff to do - where ME2 had tiny predictable places in comparison.

Also, nothing beats the sci-fi atmosphere of the music in C-Sec:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WV56iJ9KFlw

Heck, all of the music is great:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oOoRrl8dFZg

The only location in ME2 which had me really intrigued was that planet where you find Jacob's insane father - even if it's a carbon copy of the Colonel Kurtz scenario.

Ok, the ships of the main enemy were also really cool.
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November 20th, 2012, 21:41
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
A murderer trying to redeem himself by saving his son that's going down a similar road?

Nah, that's not a cliché

To be fair, though, Bioware is one huge cliché in terms of writing.
Yeah but at least his and alien background was interesting, but Jacob had nothing piquing except a father who abused his power for his own benefit. Even more cliche, in my book.
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November 20th, 2012, 21:44
Originally Posted by Thrasher View Post
Yeah but at least his and alien background was interesting, but Jacob had nothing piquing except a father who abused his power for his own benefit. Even more cliche, in my book.
I concede that the background for Thane in terms of his planet and environment (I forget the details) was quite interesting.

As for which is the more cliché - I wouldn't know how to answer that. I don't mind clichés in themselves - because there's a reason they exist.

I mind clichés that are being presented as something special or new - and I think Thane wins the award there.
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