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Default Mass Effect 2 - Review Flood #1

January 29th, 2010, 20:26
The criticism itself can be valid as long as it remains in the realm of subjectivity. As in, that's not MY idea of a CRPG.
Right, except people hardly ever say it with a subjective tone. "Not a real RPG" is usually said with the implication that there is such a thing as a Real RPG, like the Real Men who play them. So there's this ring of objectivity to it, as if the phrase "real RPG" actually meant something solid and tangible, something that everyone agrees upon, which of course it doesn't.

In the end, what matters is that the game is (from what I hear) very good. You can call it a side-scrolling platformer for all I care.
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January 29th, 2010, 20:42
Exactly … it is a really good game that touches genres I love to different extents.

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January 29th, 2010, 20:47
It's odd that you never hear that phrase used with other genres. You don't hear people complain that a game is "not a real platformer!" or "not a real shooter!" or "not a real survival horror game!"

I guess that has something to do with either the love/devotion people have for RPGs, or else a certain elitism about playing them. Probably both.
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January 29th, 2010, 20:59
You need to spend more time at PC FPS sites … or maybe not

Seriouly, every genre and every platform has this crap - we had a 'what is a crpg' thread and I described it as too often used as a sort of baseball bat to beat people down.

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January 30th, 2010, 02:08
I think a lot of these uh.. misunderstandings come from the fact that the term RPG, or more specifically CRPG in the digital world, can mean two things. Originally it was a more or less well defined genre. If there were stats and story and an inventory and dialogue with NPCs and character development and a big world to explore etc., it was an RPG (as opposed to classic adventures, jump'n'run and all the others). First person shooters didn't even exist yet, so there was no way you could mistake one for the other. Then games started to expand or reduce features and change them and implemented elements to varying degrees, and they were still called RPGs. So now we have the specific idea of RPG in a more classical sense and we have the the idea of RPG in a general sense that could mean any game with a fairly good portion of RPG elements. And who knows where to draw the line between "RPG" and "no RPG" when even the definition isn't clear (and it never will be.) It can only be subjective.

Still, when someone says "this is not an RPG, because it's lacking this and that", I can often see the point, because even with all the uncertainty about what constitutes an RPG or even a hybrid, I do have certain personal expactations of what RPG means to me and what minimum amount of freedom or choices and consequences in all aspects of gameplay it needs to offer to satisfy these expactations.

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January 30th, 2010, 02:44
Originally Posted by Anderson View Post
It's odd that you never hear that phrase used with other genres. You don't hear people complain that a game is "not a real platformer!" or "not a real shooter!" or "not a real survival horror game!"
Originally Posted by txa1265 View Post
You need to spend more time at PC FPS sites … or maybe not

Seriouly, every genre and every platform has this crap - we had a 'what is a crpg' thread and I described it as too often used as a sort of baseball bat to beat people down.
Every genre, really? I have never seen it, except applied to RPGs. Maybe it's a PC thing, because I visit mostly console forums, and I hardly ever hear anyone talk in these terms about other genres.

Originally Posted by Arhu View Post
… Originally it was a more or less well defined genre. If there were stats and story and an inventory and dialogue with NPCs and character development and a big world to explore etc., it was an RPG. … Then games started to expand or reduce features and change them and implemented elements to varying degrees, and they were still called RPGs.
Right, and in addition you have other game genres adopting many of the so-called defining features of an RPG, but without being labelled RPGs. GTA, for example, would fit your description. So would dozens of other games, including the one I'm playing now (Assasin's Creed II), which no one thinks of as an RPG.

And who knows where to draw the line between "RPG" and "no RPG" when even the definition isn't clear (and it never will be.) It can only be subjective.
I know. And it's almost like, as other genres mix with it, the attempts to define an RPG get more and more narrow. "An RPG must have _________, or it is not an RPG." Like, as the genres blur, there's an retreat and entrenchment, the fundamentalist wing of the RPG party takes over or something …

Still, when someone says "this is not an RPG, because it's lacking this and that", I can often see the point, because even with all the uncertainty about what constitutes an RPG or even a hybrid, I do have certain personal expactations of what RPG means to me and what minimum amount of freedom or choices and consequences in all aspects of gameplay it needs to offer to satisfy these expactations
I suspect the category "RPG" is like the term "pornography" for most people — they know it when they see it. And their sense of what counts as an RPG is based mostly on the RPGs they have played in the past. If something deviates too far from that personal gaming history template, then it is "not a real RPG." Whereas other people, who have played different games, disagree.

p.s. I find it funny that both Mass Effect threads are engaged in this same discussion regarding real RPGs. … Perhaps we need a new genre label to make everybody happy. We can call Mass Effect and other games like it NR-RPGs.

Last edited by Anderson; January 30th, 2010 at 03:06.
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January 30th, 2010, 03:40
While I agree that "not an RPG" is thrown around with wild abandon to denigrate games, I think most people are really saying "it lacks the depth I'm looking for". Using ME2 as the current example, I think most RPG fans are reasonably accepting of the genre mashup of shooter and RPG elements but ME2 does water down some aspects a long, long way - skills, for example - such that some RPG fans just are going to see little more than a shooter. And shooters are fun but I rarely find them as satisfying as a good RPG.

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January 30th, 2010, 03:58
Originally Posted by Dhruin View Post
While I agree that "not an RPG" is thrown around with wild abandon to denigrate games, I think most people are really saying "it lacks the depth I'm looking for".
Could be. I wish they'd just say that, then. Makes a lot more sense than "not an RPG."
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January 30th, 2010, 08:37
Originally Posted by Dhruin View Post
While I agree that "not an RPG" is thrown around with wild abandon to denigrate games, I think most people are really saying "it lacks the depth I'm looking for". Using ME2 as the current example, I think most RPG fans are reasonably accepting of the genre mashup of shooter and RPG elements but ME2 does water down some aspects a long, long way - skills, for example - such that some RPG fans just are going to see little more than a shooter. And shooters are fun but I rarely find them as satisfying as a good RPG.
QFT

Another observation is that the line between the "it is an RPG" and the "it isn't an RPG" seems to coincide with the line between the people, who like it (or expect to like it) and the people who don't like it (or don't expect to like it).

For me ME was an ok'ish action adventure (I found neither the RPG elements nor the shooter elements convincing and I love both genres, but the story was interesting enough to play through it once) . I will not buy ME2 at full price. However I know that all of this is purely subjective.

Small observation on choices and consequences: Even pure shooters have that, for example "Shogo -mobile armour division" (a shooter with mechwarriors) has story changing decisions in it. (You can get it at GoG by the way and I recommend it to story-based-shooter fans). You also feel very immersed in your role because ofthe strong story. So in my opinion C&C or story is not usable as a criterion for being an RPG. But as others said, there is probably no point in trying that at all..
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January 30th, 2010, 09:26
Originally Posted by Anderson View Post
Could be. I wish they'd just say that, then. Makes a lot more sense than "not an RPG."
Obviously, it's been established again and again that such things are subjective. No adult seriously believes his own definition of the genre is the only one - though we can all forget when being passionate.

But instead of insisting on the pedantic logic of subjectivity - then maybe you should consider the merits of the "human way" of dealing with this. Because it's certainly obvious to me that we're not talking about dictionary meanings and strict logic when we're saying ME2 isn't an RPG.

We're talking about what RPGs used to be - and even if it's hard for you to appreciate, some of us REALLY (as in, bigtime) like the features that used to be integral to games of that genre.

ME2 could be a "new kind of RPG" - you can call it whatever you like. It might even be a fantastic action game and there's NOTHING wrong with that.

But the thing is, you see, that those of us who would have strongly preferred more traditional RPG mechanics, actually believe Mass Effect and Mass Effect 2 would have been SIGNIFICANTLY better with certain "old-school" RPG mechanics in place. That's what we genuinely believe. It need not have been turn-based combat or endless numbercrunching. More like interesting character development, satisfying tactical combat, diverse loot system, and things of that nature.

It might be good or even great as it is, but it COULD have been so much better still - but only to enthusiasts who like that kind of game. It would most likely not have suited the casual market, and that's why I would never blame Bioware for going in that direction.

They're not who they used to be, and they're way too big to cater to minorities now. They don't want to interrupt the cinematic flow with cerebral moments that disrupt the movie-like immersion. That's fair. They streamline because they think that's the solution to horrible RPG design - and I agree, it's definitely one way to circumvent design challenges. The main difference between the artist and the businessman is that the artist listens to his heart, and the businessman listens to his audience. I know where Bioware fits in that equation.

I reserve the right to lament that, though, even if I have no right to anything else.
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January 30th, 2010, 13:08
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
[….] Instead of insisting on the pedantic logic of subjectivity - then maybe you should consider the merits of the "human way" of dealing with this. Because it's certainly obvious to me that we're not talking about dictionary meanings and strict logic when we're saying ME2 isn't an RPG.

We're talking about what RPGs used to be - and even if it's hard for you to appreciate, some of us REALLY (as in, bigtime) like the features that used to be integral to games of that genre.
There's no need to explain — I understand everything you're saying here; it not news to me. I think you're taking my criticisms of a particular use of the phrase to be a personal comment on you or others here. If that is the case, I need to clarify, I'm not talking about anyone here. I'm just speaking abstractly about the way some people sometimes use the phrase "not a real RPG." I'm not criticizing anyone here.

I'm talking about when people say "it's not a real RPG" and leave it at that, as a pat dismissal with no content. There is an air of contempt to it, you know they don't like the game, and you know it fails their personal definition of what an RPG is, but they don't tell you what that is or how the game fails it. There are no real specifics. They might as well have just said "This game sucks." I think it's a lazy and essentially meaningless way to bash a game. I wish they would give some actual reasons or specifics.

I reserve the right to lament that, though, even if I have no right to anything else.
Sure, lament away.

p.s. I'd like to drop this "not a real RPG" discussion. I think I've expressed my opinion sufficiently, probably too much actually (I have a tendency to overdo things), and now people are starting to misinterpret me as saying something I'm not, or thinking I'm criticizing what people here are saying, which I'm not. So, 'nough said.
Last edited by Anderson; January 30th, 2010 at 18:38.
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