|
Your continuous donations keep RPGWatch running!
RPGWatch Forums » Comments » News Comments » Mass Effect - Review @ Boomtown

Default Mass Effect - Review @ Boomtown

December 13th, 2007, 11:44
Originally Posted by Thaurin View Post
Oh, hell yeah. That would be fantastic. I haven't finished the game yet, but I'm sure it's not possible. However, Saren is an interesting character. I guess it's probably because of the prequel book Revelation that I read. He's a bit cliched to be sure, but the cold, mechanical efficiency with which he works is contagious, even though it looks like he's only doing what he's doing because he wants power. Siding with this "evil" side would be very interesting.
I'll try not to spoil anything, but once you play through the game you'll find out why joining Saren is not an option.

However, speaking of motivated evil: Saren's reasons for doing what he does is actually pretty darn believable. Misguided? Absolutely, but nevertheless very believable.

"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
fatBastard() is offline

fatBastard()

fatBastard()'s Avatar
Hello, I'm a Zombaholic

#41

Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Just outside of Copenhagen
Posts: 778

Default 

December 13th, 2007, 12:36
What some people seem to forget is that these games make money because a lot of people like them and are willing to spend their money on them. It's all fine that you have distinguished tastes and crave for more intelligent fare, but the reason that fantasy and sci-fi novels are popular is that they entertain many people.

There is nothing wrong with at one point deciding that you've had enough of that and want to spend your time more thoughtfully on entertainment that has a little more depth to it. It is equally fine to decide not to, or to do both.

Hollywood has never stopped producing good movies. They have produced both horrible and unnecessary movies, without doubt. I'm just glad that not everything is "art." I'd go starking mad in short amounts of time, most likely.

Originally Posted by fatBastard() View Post
I'll try not to spoil anything, but once you play through the game you'll find out why joining Saren is not an option.

However, speaking of motivated evil: Saren's reasons for doing what he does is actually pretty darn believable. Misguided? Absolutely, but nevertheless very believable.
Oh, more detail to the story! Well, I did read so many reviews praising the writing (regardless of whether it is "art" or not), but I just haven't progressed far enough into the game to reveal much of the story yet (even though my save game says 11 hours). Lots of stuff to look forward to. Like more scenes with Saren in it— he's acted and animated so awesomely.
Thaurin is offline

Thaurin

SasqWatch

#42

Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: The Netherlands
Posts: 2,406

Default 

December 13th, 2007, 14:53
Originally Posted by aries100 View Post
There's no way to side with Saren, as I understand it in Mass Effect? - as of yet.
Given the story that would be rediculous.

Spoiler – ME story spoiler, really, don't read this if you are playing or going to play ME
BillSeurer is offline

BillSeurer

BillSeurer's Avatar
Eternal Supreme Dictator

#43

Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Minnesota, USA
Posts: 1,727

Default 

December 13th, 2007, 15:33
Originally Posted by Prime Junta View Post
By that definition, evil would be as good as non-existent. I'm sure the guy operating the gas chamber at Auschwitz-Birkenau had it all clear in his head that gassing Jews, gays, Communists, and Romany doesn't count as murder… even if he might woken up screaming in the night on occasion (chalk that up to weakness of character).

The whole point of the kind of evil I'm after in games is that it is understandable and motivated. People are really good at rationalizing things to themselves, whether it's genocide or just a little white lie. That does not make the act any less evil — it just means that whoever did it succeeded at lying to himself about it.
What I'm asking is that the developers take the resources they now put into writing boring, clichéd, stupid, strangle-passing-kittens-muhahaha evil, and write believable, psychologically motivated, understandable evil instead.

I don't want more evil. I want better evil.
An interesting thread, not sure where to jump in but I'll join here I think.

It's the rationalising that's the key, the greatest evil in real life is generally done by people who have convinced themselves that they're doing good. Generally by any moral system people recognise they don't do evil, they don't often say "I know this is horrific but I'm doing it anyway because I'm pure evil!". They do it either because they've developed a moral system where it's not evil or because they've so detached themselves from the impact of their actions that they just don't recognise what it is that they're doing. Sounds like the witcher has picked good subject matter for that by taking racial tensions which are generally founded on inability to see the other race as being as "real" as you are.

Although I don't think that the cliched kitten strangling evil is necessarily always a bad thing if used well. It's fantasy, there's always scope for some absolute evil (against some absolute moral frame of reference), but I'd say it needs someone who's not entirely bad brought down by it, seduced by power then forced into atrocity yet unable always to stop it.

You mentioned earlier the almost visceral dislike you felt when trying to choose some of the evil options, I'd like to see a game that really used that to full effect. Not having the same path then in every conversation offering you a "do you eat this baby" type blindingly obvious evil choice, but offering you earlier on a few choices that seemed relatively innocent even if a bit wrong then later on having the evil acts occur whether you want them or not (or having events unfold so that you don't have much option, or at least have to severely weaken yourself to get out of them). That way you get the visceral reaction but your character doesn't feel like an unconvincing monster you can't empathise with, he finds it as repugnant as you do but you both have no choice.
Benedict is offline

Benedict

SasqWatch

#44

Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: London
Posts: 2,348

Default 

December 13th, 2007, 17:57
One assumption many people here are making is that people play CRPGs for realism.

Some do, certainly, but personally, I can get shades of gray with no clear moral choices in real life. When I play a video game, I want to be a good guy who whacks bad guys.

Realism is certainly one valid playstyle, but it's not the only one.
PatrickWeekes is offline

PatrickWeekes

Sentinel

#45

Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 261

Default 

December 13th, 2007, 18:18
Originally Posted by Benedict View Post

It's the rationalising that's the key, the greatest evil in real life is generally done by people who have convinced themselves that they're doing good. Generally by any moral system people recognise they don't do evil, they don't often say "I know this is horrific but I'm doing it anyway because I'm pure evil!". They do it either because they've developed a moral system where it's not evil or because they've so detached themselves from the impact of their actions that they just don't recognise what it is that they're doing. Sounds like the witcher has picked good subject matter for that by taking racial tensions which are generally founded on inability to see the other race as being as "real" as you are.

Although I don't think that the cliched kitten strangling evil is necessarily always a bad thing if used well. It's fantasy, there's always scope for some absolute evil (against some absolute moral frame of reference), but I'd say it needs someone who's not entirely bad brought down by it, seduced by power then forced into atrocity yet unable always to stop it.
Very good analysis. The scariest evil is in the cumulative, petty, almost ignorable flow of little choices that people make without actually realizing them. In RL, evil actually often does come from the wholly self-centric view that many games imperfectly display as mere arrogance. (I'm not a big Stephen King fan, but he has a gift for portraying this takeover in normal people very well, especially in books like Tommyknockers and Needful Things. )Where games fail is in not following this path to the inevitable conclusion very well. Evil always progress and takes over those who welcome it, and in games, it remains static and shallow.


Originally Posted by PatrickWeekes View Post
One assumption many people here are making is that people play CRPGs for realism.

Some do, certainly, but personally, I can get shades of gray with no clear moral choices in real life. When I play a video game, I want to be a good guy who whacks bad guys.

Realism is certainly one valid playstyle, but it's not the only one.
I think that viewpoint really expresses the action rpg genre, Patrick. Nothing wrong with that—I play and enjoy that genre when it's well done, and even when it isn't, sometimes, but without story, writing, identification, dialogue and meaningful choices(shades of grey), you have something that, serious or not, isn't exactly a crpg the way it's generally defined—which god forbid we even get into.

Where there's smoke, there's mirrors.
magerette is offline

magerette

magerette's Avatar
Hedgewitch
RPGWatch Team

#46

Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 7,929

Default 

December 13th, 2007, 18:26
Even on a really basic level I think games miss some obvious evil routes. I think we've all experimented with killing a shopkeeper only to find that the items on him are crap compared to the items to buy, at the least I'd expect there to be some seriously cool items that one can only pick up by being a complete arse.
Benedict is offline

Benedict

SasqWatch

#47

Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: London
Posts: 2,348

Default 

December 13th, 2007, 18:33
Originally Posted by magerette View Post
I think that viewpoint really expresses the action rpg genre, Patrick. Nothing wrong with that—I play and enjoy that genre when it's well done, and even when it isn't, sometimes, but without story, writing, identification, dialogue and meaningful choices(shades of grey), you have something that, serious or not, isn't exactly a crpg the way it's generally defined—which god forbid we even get into.
No, no, let's. Explain to me what a CRPG is. I enjoy hearing how our most recent game isn't one from people who haven't played said game.

You're free to like or dislike any flavor of ice cream, but you don't get to frame the debate by saying that anything that doesn't have chocolate chips isn't really ice cream.
PatrickWeekes is offline

PatrickWeekes

Sentinel

#48

Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 261

Default 

December 13th, 2007, 18:48
Let me just clarify things a bit then When I said that I would have liked to see a option to take sides in the conflict, I used joining forces with Saren as an example.
Maybe our Spectre agentcould also have met a member of the opposing forces and they could have convinced him to take sides - with the geth.

I'm just discussing options here, you see, inspired by this thread comments about The Witcher's, Geralt's, ability to take sides, in the game. I mean, there must be a reason that Bioware highly recommends The Witcher other than the developer, CD Project, licensed their Aurora engine…
aries100 is offline

aries100

SasqWatch
RPGWatch Team RPGWatch Donor

#49

Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Denmark, Europe
Posts: 2,019

Default 

December 13th, 2007, 18:50
Originally Posted by Benedict View Post
Even on a really basic level I think games miss some obvious evil routes. I think we've all experimented with killing a shopkeeper only to find that the items on him are crap compared to the items to buy, at the least I'd expect there to be some seriously cool items that one can only pick up by being a complete arse.
I think the main reason for evil paths in games is to provide a genuine element of moral choice. Without Hell, Heaven would have no meaning; that sort of thing.
Prime Junta is offline

Prime Junta

RPGCodex' Little BRO

#50

Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 8,540

Default 

December 13th, 2007, 18:53
Originally Posted by Prime Junta View Post
I think the main reason for evil paths in games is to provide a genuine element of moral choice. Without Hell, Heaven would have no meaning; that sort of thing.
I'd assumed it was because they thought there was a marketing advantage in suggesting two different paths, cynic that I am.
Benedict is offline

Benedict

SasqWatch

#51

Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: London
Posts: 2,348

Default 

December 13th, 2007, 18:55
Originally Posted by PatrickWeekes View Post
No, no, let's. Explain to me what a CRPG is. I enjoy hearing how our most recent game isn't one from people who haven't played said game.

You're free to like or dislike any flavor of ice cream, but you don't get to frame the debate by saying that anything that doesn't have chocolate chips isn't really ice cream.
I wasn't talking about Mass Effect and didn't know you were, Patrick. I was responding to the statement " I just want to be a good guy that whacks a bad guy" which to me is the arpg/fps approach. Thought we were discussing evil and shades of grey and video game experiences in general. Sorry if I seemed to be targeting your game… You're right, though, it's very unlikely I'll play this one since I don't own an XBox.

Where there's smoke, there's mirrors.
magerette is offline

magerette

magerette's Avatar
Hedgewitch
RPGWatch Team

#52

Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 7,929

Default 

December 13th, 2007, 18:59
I don't believe anyone can believably argue that Mass Effect isn't a role-playing game. At least, not without discarding many other games that are widely considered to be cornerstones of the genre. Sure, Mass Effect plays out in a more action-oriented style, but underneath I don't see much difference with other Bioware games like the Baldur's Gate series. Those games may have been a bit more laid back with the extensive text descriptions and auto-pause function, but I don't believe we should define role-playing games by the amount of side-quests, the measure in which you can influence a story (as long as you can in some way) or its depiction of "good" and "evil."

Like I said, genres can be so useless. You may claim that you like role-playing games and totally hate one RPG and love the other. Even role-playing games can have fundamental differences in their design.
Thaurin is offline

Thaurin

SasqWatch

#53

Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: The Netherlands
Posts: 2,406

Default 

December 13th, 2007, 19:04
Mass Effect = Space Opera

By including the standard tropes of a Space Opera it is doing exactly what it set out to do. That you wanted more is the product of your own expectations.

It is a pretty good game and has some good bits to it, it is not the game to end all games, but it's a Bioware game with all that entails.

I know classifying genres is fruitless and only effective for the person making the distinctions but I see the Bioware games as a specific brand of RPG that is mostly adventure, with small combat bits and a few choices thrown in. It's got a fairly interesting story and it's well made which is a lot more than can be said for a lot of games I've played.

I do find it amusing that a lot of people here are implying that Bioware should change their style - people buy Bioware because of that style, just like people go to any other brand expecting a certain thing.

As to the whole evil, etc. Without knowing any specifics (other than assuming you're talking about Mass Effect and maybe some Bioware games) it sounds like the people that complain that none of the music is good anymore or who rail against "those basketball thugs." There are certainly a lot of games that just set up evil, grrr. I don't see why that's so bad when most games aren't stories about that person, why they're evil, etc. That said, Mass Effect has fairly interesting "evil" characters with motivations and influences.

I think that viewpoint really expresses the action rpg genre, Patrick. Nothing wrong with that—I play and enjoy that genre when it's well done, and even when it isn't, sometimes, but without story, writing, identification, dialogue and meaningful choices(shades of grey), you have something that, serious or not, isn't exactly a crpg the way it's generally defined—which god forbid we even get into.
This doesn't make sense to me. The antagonist's evilness or motivations should have nothing to do with the genre.
mactbone is offline

mactbone

Traveler

#54

Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 17

Default 

December 13th, 2007, 19:13
Originally Posted by aries100 View Post
Let me just clarify things a bit then When I said that I would have liked to see a option to take sides in the conflict, I used joining forces with Saren as an example.
Maybe our Spectre agentcould also have met a member of the opposing forces and they could have convinced him to take sides - with the geth.

I'm just discussing options here, you see, inspired by this thread comments about The Witcher's, Geralt's, ability to take sides, in the game. I mean, there must be a reason that Bioware highly recommends The Witcher other than the developer, CD Project, licensed their Aurora engine…
If they would've let you take sides with the Geth - but you were transformed into a machine in a cut scene and the game ended, would that have been sufficient? Would it have been OK if the difference between joining different sides is who you talked to at the end of the game?

I just have this feeling that what you're asking for is another 10 hours of completely different content if you chose to side with a different group. That seems like a lot to ask for a game - especially one which has always been designed as a trilogy.
mactbone is offline

mactbone

Traveler

#55

Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 17

Default 

December 13th, 2007, 19:14
Originally Posted by Benedict View Post
Even on a really basic level I think games miss some obvious evil routes. I think we've all experimented with killing a shopkeeper only to find that the items on him are crap compared to the items to buy, at the least I'd expect there to be some seriously cool items that one can only pick up by being a complete arse.
Games don't handle that situation because it is, frankly, stupid.

I remember one guy whining that a game (Fallout perhaps?) was broken because he had killed everyone he met and "the plot wasn't advancing". Yeah, it was the first time he had played an RPG and he didn't realize you were supposed to talk to people and not just kill everything that moved.
BillSeurer is offline

BillSeurer

BillSeurer's Avatar
Eternal Supreme Dictator

#56

Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Minnesota, USA
Posts: 1,727

Default 

December 13th, 2007, 19:16
Originally Posted by PatrickWeekes View Post
You're free to like or dislike any flavor of ice cream, but you don't get to frame the debate by saying that anything that doesn't have chocolate chips isn't really ice cream.
What a perfect analogy (Careful with that. You might hurt somebody). I'm fairly shocked to find a game developer talk about realism that way. Aren't you guys firmly committed to realistic simulation these days?

I say that because I keep seeing everything in more and more detail with every new game I play. From over here that seems like realism. But at the same time, I keep experiencing less and less depth. That seems like…well, less — not only less realistic, but often less enjoyable.

Shouldn't you guys be trying to make the games more interesting and fun instead of making them more visually detailed? Which realism don't you like? I'd vote for more of the good stuff and less of the unnecessary stuff, more narrative and less graphic detail.

Oh, I wish I had a river I could skate away on. But it don't snow here. It stays pretty green. I'm going to make a lot of money, then I'm going to quit this crazy scene. — [Joni Mitchell]
Squeek is offline

Squeek

Squeek's Avatar
connoisseur of tidbits

#57

Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Orange County, California
Posts: 1,807

Default 

December 13th, 2007, 19:27
Originally Posted by mactbone View Post

This doesn't make sense to me. The antagonist's evilness or motivations should have nothing to do with the genre.
Well, it wouldn't make sense, since I was talking about the protagonist. And I'm sorry that my remarks were perceived as a slam on Mass Effect. I don't slam games I haven't played. Obviously Bioware has a large and supportive fanbase because they please those fans with how they make games—and I hope I know better than to get into genre definition and the "My crpg is better bigger and has more choices than your crpg" debate.

Mass Effect is a game that's selling at high volumes, has superlative reviews, and is quite obviously going to be up for GotY awards and so forth. Is it really so threatening for me to say that " a good guy whacking a bad guy" is not the sum total of what one expects from an RPG? AFA I know, Mass Effect HAS all the other things I mentioned—story, dialogue, etc. I wasn't even talking about Mass Effect, but if the shoe fits wear it. If it doesn't, then what's the big deal?

Where there's smoke, there's mirrors.
magerette is offline

magerette

magerette's Avatar
Hedgewitch
RPGWatch Team

#58

Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 7,929

Default 

December 13th, 2007, 19:27
Originally Posted by mactbone View Post
If they would've let you take sides with the Geth - but you were transformed into a machine in a cut scene and the game ended, would that have been sufficient?
Kind of like if you join the supermutants in Fallout (or maybe Fallout 2, I forget).

Would it have been OK if the difference between joining different sides is who you talked to at the end of the game?
The whole end sequence, probably the last hour, would have had to be different.

I just have this feeling that what you're asking for is another 10 hours of completely different content if you chose to side with a different group. That seems like a lot to ask for a game - especially one which has always been designed as a trilogy.
The usual way of handling this is to just pick one ending and use that as the setup for the later game(s). Of course that sucks if yours isn't the one that they picked. I remember starting up Baldur's Gate 2 and wondering why Jaheira (sp?) was around at all and why I gave a r*ts *ss about Imoen when Jaheira had died early on when I played BG 1 and I had dropped Imoen at some point and forgotten about her.
BillSeurer is offline

BillSeurer

BillSeurer's Avatar
Eternal Supreme Dictator

#59

Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Minnesota, USA
Posts: 1,727

Default 

December 13th, 2007, 19:30
…Really, how many books/films are about good and evil? I think the more important factor is if we can sympathize or antipathize with the characters presented in them.
Dusk is offline

Dusk

Sentinel

#60

Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 278
RPGWatch Forums » Comments » News Comments » Mass Effect - Review @ Boomtown
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

All times are GMT +2. The time now is 07:08.
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Copyright by RPGWatch