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Default Mass Effect 2 - Scrambled @ The Brainy Gamer

February 9th, 2010, 10:27
Originally Posted by JemyM View Post
Every single character in the western civilization is based on some kind of hollow one-sided template, as long as your criteria is abstract enough.
My comment was based on my criteria exclusively.

Fictional characters can be plausible and they can feel real, but with ME2 - Bioware has reached a point where their methods for developing characters have become visible to me - and I find the result boring and predictable.

I've felt like that for a while, but not until ME2 has it been an issue. Generally, I don't focus on story and writing in the games I enjoy. But when there's little else to focus on, I have little choice.
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February 9th, 2010, 10:43
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
My comment was based on my criteria exclusively.

Fictional characters can be plausible and they can feel real, but with ME2 - Bioware has reached a point where their methods for developing characters have become visible to me - and I find the result boring and predictable.

I've felt like that for a while, but not until ME2 has it been an issue. Generally, I don't focus on story and writing in the games I enjoy. But when there's little else to focus on, I have little choice.
As far as I concern, they have played around with archetypes since Baldur's Gate II and if you stretch it enough you can trace reused attributes throughout their games. They are one of few companies on the market who make NPC's more than skin deep, even playing around with philosophical questions to expand their characters even more.

It might just be that you developed a philosophical level during the past 12 years that make you less surprised since you already pondered many of the questions that the NPC's raise.

Personally I can barely enjoy movies anymore since there's so little that surprise me.

Mankind must put an end to war or war will put an end to mankind. - John F Kennedy
An eye for an eye, and soon the whole world is blind. - Mahatma Gandhi
The world is my country. To do good is my religion. My mind is my own church. This simple creed is all we need to enjoy peace on earth. - Thomas Paine
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February 9th, 2010, 10:58
Originally Posted by JemyM View Post
As far as I concern, they have played around with archetypes since Baldur's Gate II and if you stretch it enough you can trace reused attributes throughout their games. They are one of few companies on the market who make NPC's more than skin deep, even playing around with philosophical questions to expand their characters even more.

It might just be that you developed a philosophical level during the past 12 years that make you less surprised since you already pondered many of the questions that the NPC's raise.

Personally I can barely enjoy movies anymore since there's so little that surprise me.
It's true that I'm the sort of person who likes to waste oodles of time doing nothing but asking myself philosophical questions - but I don't particularly crave new insights.

Much like yourself, I don't get surprised or impressed anymore - or at least almost never. But when it does happen, it's generally not by new profound insights, but rather by reality- or characters/stories that feel real or have some bearing on the world I personally perceive.

Bioware has always been about the player being the ultimate hero because they think that's what we all want to be. Maybe they're right in most cases, but I couldn't care less about being a hero.

I just want to be me and evolve my own person - and I don't want anyone placing me in little boxes made up of commercial-level mass market writing.

That's ultimately why I prefer sandboxes and non-linear games - because no one is there to restrict my actions.
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February 9th, 2010, 10:59
Truth is that human character variation IRL isn't that great , each one has his/her own agenda and this is how things go , same with games , even in fantasy worlds you can not expect any surprises .
I am much more concerned with controlled levelling rather than "character progression" , okay decisions and consequences are nice to have but how many games you ended feeling that you have done something wrong?
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February 9th, 2010, 11:14
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
It's true that I'm the sort of person who likes to waste oodles of time doing nothing but asking myself philosophical questions - but I don't particularly crave new insights.

Much like yourself, I don't get suprised or impressed anymore - or at least almost never. But when it does happen, it's generally not by new profound insights, but rather by reality- or characters/stories that feel real or have some bearing on the world I personally perceive.

Bioware has always been about the player being the ultimate hero because they think that's what we all want to be. Maybe they're right in most cases, but I couldn't care less about being a hero.

I just want to be me and evolve my own person - and I don't want anyone placing me in little boxes made up of commercial-level mass market writing.

That's ultimately why I prefer sandboxes and non-linear games - because no one is there to restrict my actions.
I enjoy characters that captures a human situation or emotional/moral challenge. Story writers that confess that the human situation isn't as easy as rationality wish it to be.

I can enjoy Hamlet for this as much as I can enjoy a character such as Jack or Thane. They might be a bit clichι, but I like the stories around them anyway, because when watching their stories develop I re-experience their inner journey.

I also enjoy the Hindu/collectivist idea explored in Legion. The same idea was explored in one of the endings of Deus Ex 2.

These alternate takes on human destiny allows me to escape for awhile and get into the clothes of another person, another situation, another destiny. I can always create my own, but how limited are we not by being trapped within this body in this current reality, in this current now? It also helps me to interact with reality in another way, I am excited to learn how others perceive their situation and there's only so many I can ask in reality before they begin to see me as annoying or pushy.

In the end, they aren't unreal. I meet Mirandas, Jacks and Samaras out there all the time. I see Miranda in almost any super model or corporate executive that was made into a pleasing image, but who's inner emotional side is completely forgotten or pushed aside. I see Jack in almost every anarchist or rebel who decided that everything is just lies and bs and it's better to just f' it all but is still just an emotional child beneath the surface. I see Samara in almost any rigid interpretor of any doctrine that makes the person into a complete robot that sure knows every rule in the book and follows them but loose something human in the process.

But this is the psychologist rambling again.

Mankind must put an end to war or war will put an end to mankind. - John F Kennedy
An eye for an eye, and soon the whole world is blind. - Mahatma Gandhi
The world is my country. To do good is my religion. My mind is my own church. This simple creed is all we need to enjoy peace on earth. - Thomas Paine
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February 9th, 2010, 11:21
I'm not denying human aspects to individual characters. I'm saying I don't think they feel real. They're all extreme individuals to fit the extreme heroic storyline.

If you think they feel like real people or someone you could meet in reality, then the writing works for you - and that's great.

To me, the entire idea of a small band saving the world taking the actions they're taking (like jumping as good as blind through the mass-relay) is absolutely ridiculous.

But that's what gamey stories have always been, and that's why I don't take them seriously. Bioware seems to want me to pretend I'm a hero and take all these heroic actions, and that's ok - but please PLEASE don't try to humanise that which is not human and could never be human.
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February 9th, 2010, 11:25
If it makes it easier to understand, I feel exactly the same about 95% of the movies I watch.

People praise The Dark Knight because it's dark and deals with "real" issues and I just sit there with a strange expression on my face. Did we watch the same movie???

But that's just me.
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February 9th, 2010, 11:30
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
I'm not denying human aspects to individual characters. I'm saying I don't think they feel real. They're all extreme individuals to fit the extreme heroic storyline.
If you think they feel like real people or someone you could meet in reality, then the writing works for you - and that's great.
To me, the entire idea of a small band saving the world taking the actions they're taking (like jumping as good as blind through the mass-relay) is absolutely ridiculous.
But that's what gamey stories have always been, and that's why I don't take them seriously. Bioware seems to want me to pretend I'm a hero and take all these heroic actions, and that's ok - but please PLEASE don't try to humanise that which is not human and could never be human.
I find the theme common in RPG's and epic stories in particular. Ponder awhile on the core story of Lord of the Rings and Star Wars and you find a similar pattern. The basic draw of these stories is precisely because they deal with a small group of individuals facing a challenge together, usually requiring them to overcome their differences/weaknesses in the process. Listening to those who watched it they usually identify themselves with, or enjoy a few characters, and hate some others.

Symbolically, the epic challenges symbolizes the smaller challenges in our everyday lives. The real story is that of the individuals. A weak story tend to overdo the overall plot but make the characters hollow and "along on the ride".

I think these kind of stories draw from the individualist paradigm of the western civilization and an American perspective. The cultures who are more collectivist in thought will probably perceive things very differently because the individual aspect of it is scaled down.

One could say that ME1 is about humanity proving itself.
One could say that ME1 is about Shepherd.

Two very different perspectives.

ME2 doesn't have a "bigger picture" when it comes to factions, beyond the "going to war with geth" subplot.

Mankind must put an end to war or war will put an end to mankind. - John F Kennedy
An eye for an eye, and soon the whole world is blind. - Mahatma Gandhi
The world is my country. To do good is my religion. My mind is my own church. This simple creed is all we need to enjoy peace on earth. - Thomas Paine
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February 9th, 2010, 11:45
Originally Posted by JemyM View Post
I find the theme common in RPG's and epic stories in particular. Ponder awhile on the core story of Lord of the Rings and Star Wars and you find a similar pattern. The basic draw of these stories is precisely because they deal with a small group of individuals facing a challenge together, usually requiring them to overcome their differences/weaknesses in the process. Listening to those who watched it they usually identify themselves with, or enjoy a few characters, and hate some others.
Lord of the Rings is something different, in my opinion. But that's because Tolkien created a mythology in its entirety.

He created a universe where everything fits together within that space and I have absolutely no problem accepting that, because he took the time to make it all interconnect. Basically, everything is explained and a brain was used for consistency and cohesion.

It's true that his characters are black/white heroes - but he doesn't ask the reader to pretend it could be him. At least, that's not the sense I'm getting. I'm not participating.

But the most important aspect is that while he used his sources of inspiration, he basically spent half his life creating something that had never been done. He made a gigantic impact.

He didn't recycle a blueprint for commercial gain - and that's why his story has a soul and I can take it seriously.

Star Wars is a pathetic piece of crap in terms of writing consistency - and I would never be able to take it seriously. But it has a completely unique blend of ideas - what with lightsabers, samurais, and the force. That was a new take on sci-fi, and that means something.

ME2 is a game, first and foremost. That means I'm meant to participate. That wouldn't be a problem if I was enjoying the participating bit - meaning the gameplay. I don't particularly enjoy that, so I have to actually take note of the story. The universe is fine, and a lot of work was put into it. But the characters? No, they're simply not interesting and while they're not "bad" in gamey terms, they're horrible in terms of the game being "dark" and wanting me to pretend I'm actually there and doing something real with these people. They cross that barrier - and it just doesn't work for me.
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February 9th, 2010, 12:04
Originally Posted by Dhruin View Post
Guhndahb sends in this excellent article at The Brainy Gamer that doesn't so much look at Mass Effect 2 or even the critical praise but some of the commentary that has accompanied the game - in particular, the assertion that ME2 represents the refined future of RPGs. Genre classification is a related topic covered. A bit of a lengthy clip as introduction:

More information.
Sorry but i really had to comment on the ridiculous hype over Mass Effect 2. I've been almost through 2 playthroughs and here's my two cents:

First off, the premise that ME2 should even be classified as an RPG is highly arguable. Its a level shooter interrupted frequently by cut-scenes, thats about it. Where is the role-playing when the main chacracter is now so well solidified that changing roles is fundamentally impossible. You are Shepard, full stop.

They have stripped the stats and usual RPG info completely away from ME2, instead implementing game mechanics which are so directed towards the shooter market Im surpirsed any one who truly loves RPG based games can call this an RPG.

is someone kidding by stating that this is the new RPG genre? Help us all if that is the case, because if future RPGs are this dumbed down then we might as well call Half Life 2 an RPG.

Please, has no-one here played Deus Ex? Now that is an action/rpg in most genuine form because your PC has a multitude of choices as to how he/she progresses through the game, and even though its linear (as all games at their heart) Deus Ex was able to take the player off the game rails and let him find clever innovative game paths.

So Deus Ex was a exponentially superior action/RPG/shooter than Mass Effect 2.

The replayability value of Mass Effect 2 is almost nil because its so much on rails the player hardly has any meaningful choices, or squad configuration because of the tremendous dumbing down from the original ME.

I cant even finnish my second playthrough the game is that boring, predictable and in fact tedious.

Ya some nice cut-scenes and reasonable but again predictable combat makes Mass Effect 2 a very ordinary game if it was not for the Bioware fanbois who will worship anything that company does.

DAO was way better, more involved, deep, tactical, configurable etc etc etc

So frankly im disguested that so-called hardcore RPG fans are hying Mass Effect 2. Well done guys because this is the quickest way to create a false dichotomy in the indiusrty if suddenly the brainless pap that is Mass Effect 2 becomes the standard.

Help us all.
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February 9th, 2010, 12:17
Originally Posted by wolfgrimdark View Post
IMO if ME2 is the future of "RPG" games then it is a sad day indeed. Certainly if Bioware continues this cinematic narrative trend I will stop buying from them. I use to be their biggest fanboi but lately I am seeing so many changes, small to be sure but added up are large, that has me pretty disillusioned with them.

Still I loved DAO so will have to see what happens. I just hope ME2 isn't the path of the future.
Agreed, thank heavens, some sanity.
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February 9th, 2010, 12:28
Originally Posted by themadhatter View Post
In what regard?
This is genuine interest, mate, as I can appreciate the logic on which both sides of his apparent conundrum are based.
Because the writer's SO right with it.

“ 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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February 9th, 2010, 12:41
@D'Artagnan & JemyM : In my current fantasy I dopn't even try to make my characters both plausible and "feel real".

All I want is - some unoriginality.

I try to erect this as an art in itself - Unoriginality - but on the other hand I feel that I will very likely fail.

“ 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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February 9th, 2010, 12:42
Originally Posted by JemyM View Post
Let me take a moment and officially declare two completely different kinds of RPG's.

Free-Roaming RPG
Examples: Gothic, Two Worlds, Divine Divinity, Fallout, Arcanum, Baldur's Gate, Elder Scrolls, Avernum
(…)
Jump Between Hubs
Examples: Baldur's Gate II, Jade Empire, KOTOR, Deus Ex, Vampire: Bloodlines
(…)

I enjoy ME2 as well, but it's a different kind of game, a different kind of experience. Just like Vampire: Bloodlines and Deus Ex, I would hope [it] to be the future of shooters, not the future of rpg's.
Amen to that.

I liked the article, but disagree that "Genre classifications are essentially meaningless, and it's time to drop them and move on". I'd say we need more genre types, not less, least of all none. If something doesn't fit any conventions and it seems clear there will be more of it, invent a new genre or sub-genre. I like genre classifications because they usually tell me things about a game in a very concise manner, things I'd like to know in advance, because there are genres I am simply not interested in as much as others. It's not enough for me to be told "This is a good game. Play it." — I need more info.

ME2, which I've only read about here so far — and probably ME1 as well — belong to a new, different breed of "RPG-likes" (or more aptly named shooter-likes, apparently). Just like tactical or strategy RPGs, which take one or two of the features I usually associate with RPGs and greatly focus on them while tuning down all the others, so that they really can't only be called "RPG", ME2 seems to be doing the same with a different feature set.

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February 9th, 2010, 12:53
Genres are useful tools to communicate stuff about games.

But I think people tend to forget that they can be very subjective definitions.

Personally, I'm mostly concerned with whether a game is good or not. As in, whether I enjoy it or not. I've never excluded games entirely because of genre - even if I do admit there are a select few established genres that appeal to me only very little - like sports games or platformers. But I remain curious and I do make exceptions when they have something that interests me.

I think it's a mistake for me to be rigid in those terms, and that's why I don't really care whether a game is an RPG or not - except for the fact that I TEND to enjoy that particular genre more than others.

That said, I'm very aware of what kind of features that I enjoy the most - and on the top of my list would be exploration and intricate meaningful game mechanics. But there are other aspects, and many genres can hold many features.
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February 9th, 2010, 12:53
Originally Posted by Arhu View Post
Amen to that.

I liked the article, but disagree that "Genre classifications are essentially meaningless, and it's time to drop them and move on". I'd say we need more genre types, not less, least of all none. If something doesn't fit any conventions and it seems clear there will be more of it, invent a new genre or sub-genre. I like genre classifications because they usually tell me things about a game in a very concise manner, things I'd like to know in advance, because there are genres I am simply not interested in as much as others. It's not enough for me to be told "This is a good game. Play it." — I need more info.

ME2, which I've only read about here so far — and probably ME1 as well — belong to a new, different breed of "RPG-likes" (or more aptly named shooter-likes, apparently). Just like tactical or strategy RPGs, which take one or two of the features I usually associate with RPGs and greatly focus on them while tuning down all the others, so that they really can't only be called "RPG", ME2 seems to be doing the same with a different feature set.
No saying its a new RPG genre is just illogical and misleading. in what way is it a new genre? The only new innovation in ME2 is the interrupt system that allows you to perform an impulsive paragon or renegade action. Thats the only newish idea in ME2 which could be asscoiated with a new genre, but is not enough for a whole genre.

Everything else in ME2 has been done before numerous times, and better - other than perhaps the cut-scenes which are well polished.

Get a load of the imbecile fanbois on Bioware forums and read their posts and i think you'll find the average IQ of someone who thinks this is a new genre is lucky if it reaches double figures.
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February 9th, 2010, 12:58
Let's try not to confuse different tastes with different IQ levels, shall we?

I think ME2 is an average shooter, with a decent story - covered in superb production values - but my opinion is nothing but that.
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February 9th, 2010, 13:15
I agree with JemyM. It's nice to see a shooter with decent storytelling and a dialog system. I quite enjoy ME1 for that, and I expect ME2 will be no different. I am not at all unhappy if more such games are made. Just as long as RPG's with stats and character development and choice are still being made as well. I think even among AA games we have seen some examples that the genre isn't quite dead yet, and then there is the indies as well. The sky hasn't fallen yet.
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February 9th, 2010, 13:17
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
Let's try not to confuse different tastes with different IQ levels, shall we?

I think ME2 is an average shooter, with a decent story - covered in superb production values - but my opinion is nothing but that.
Well sorry i know i am being insulting to shooter fans, but i really feel that whole market has dragged down the overall quality of gaming today.

If you read some of the fanboi messages on Bioware forums re ME2 i think you might come to a similar conclusion that we are in danger of future gaming being directed by folks who just want level after level of the same shooting boredom.
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February 9th, 2010, 13:23
Originally Posted by Coldcall View Post
Well sorry i know i am being insulting to shooter fans, but i really feel that whole market has dragged down the overall quality of gaming today.

If you read some of the fanboi messages on Bioware forums re ME2 i think you might come to a similar conclusion that we are in danger of future gaming being directed by folks who just want level after level of the same shooting boredom.
I accepted long ago that AAA developers moved away from what I enjoy in games, but I don't blame them.

Money is what they smell and money is what they're going for. The market is driven by the size of its audience - and that's how the world works - apparently.

Not something I can support, but I can't expect others to agree because I know I'm in the minority about such things.

Also, thankfully, we have the indie market and the emerging middle-market - which is why I'm not all that pessimistic.

That said, I do get frustrated when I think about the potential of AAA companies. I mean, to imagine what could happen if such teams poured their hearts and souls into an enthusiast title!

Not going to happen, though.
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