Stolen Pixels #257: The Electronic Artists

By Shamus Posted Tuesday May 10, 2011

Filed under: Column 431 comments

Hey, check out this Mass Effect 3 comic I made.

I knew I was in for another round of “You can’t criticize a game until it comes out” when I made this one. I guess I just enjoy misery. But since we’re going down that road again, why don’t we just cut to the chase and get the next six months of debate out of the way now?

Mass Effect 3 isn’t looking very good. The direction the company is taking is really-

You don’t know anything about the game. I can’t believe you would criticize a game without even knowing anything about it!

Okay, now we know a bit about it. The EA execs have said that…

I’ve really lost respect for you. They said that to INVESTORS. They could be lying! You can’t say anything bad about the game until you see some footage of it in action.

Okay, they released these promotional videos and they look just horrible.

What? Those are pure marketing. You of all people should know better than to believe those. OF COURSE the videos are just going to show off explosions and combat. You can’t really judge the game until you’ve played it.

Now I’ve played Mass Effect 3. I think it sucked.

Why did you buy the game? They made it very clear in the promotional materials that this was a shooter, which you hate. If you bought it then that’s your own stupid fault.


From The Archives:

431 thoughts on “Stolen Pixels #257: The Electronic Artists

  1. Volatar says:

    Sadly, because I have been already hooked by the trilogy, even though I am an RPG fan I will be buying the third game regardless of what they do.

    Even if they remake Princess Maker, but with Space Marines. (Actually, that would be pretty awesome…)

    1. Scott (Duneyrr) says:

      *sigh* Same here.

      1. kanodin says:

        Yep, I gotta see how this one ends for good or ill. Whether it will be the last Bioware game I ever buy is still up in the air though.

        1. Daemian Lucifer says:

          Not me.I did that with heroes of might and magic 5,and never again.There are always other ways to find out how the game goes,like how Ive followed fallout 3 and bioshock on spoiler warning.

          1. Kuma says:

            Totally agree here, I will not buy it (maybe second hand – just to screw them a bit with all that second-hand-sale-is-killing-the-industry” thing) meanwhile I’ll just check reviews and curse BIOWARE / EA for destroying (again with ME3) the ME franchise.

      2. AbruptDemise says:

        Ditto, as well.

        I can bitch and moan all I want about how EA is dragging down BioWare, how the Mass Effect series has lost the poignance and direction it once had, and how BioWare is trying all the wrong things with their IPs, but I’m probably still going to get this one.

        At least I managed to resist pre-purchasing Dragon Age 2.

        1. I’m kind of the other way around with the two series: I’m hooked on Dragon Age but I can take or leave Mass Effect. (I didn’t get the first one until it had been out for like, a year, and I only got the 2nd one because they gave it away free with DA2.)

          Someone basically need to go down to EA and give them the straight dope: NOBODY PLAYS BIOWARE GAMES FOR THE COMBAT. By focusing on fooling around with the COMBAT you are TOTALLY MISSING THE POINT. Yes, the combat isn’t as good as the other games that people DO play for the combat. It is NEVER going to be that good. At best, you can polish up a sub-par feature into a pretty okay feature if you keep concentrating on this part of the game.

          However, if you focus instead on the stuff Bioware is actually GOOD at, they can polish a good feature into a sparkling disco ball of awesome. (I hope.)

          1. poiumty says:

            I play Bioware games for the combat! At least ME and Dragon Age. I don’t see anything else to play them for, frankly.

          2. Soylent Dave says:

            But if you leave Bioware to their own devices with the combat system then you end up with Dragon Age – which is to say ‘KoTOR without lightsabres’.

            This is a combat mechanic that felt dated in 2003 – the ‘wind him up and watch him go’ approach to RPG combat feels prehistoric now. Not that I think the Mass Effect 2 combat system was astonishingly brilliant or anything, but I did at least feel like I was playing the game (albeit a pretty repetitive game).

            I think it’s possible for Bioware to produce a game with a decent story, decent characters and decent gameplay.

            Obviously this would involve them throwing away their big book of clichés and possibly hiring a writer (and a script / dialogue editor to make the story work in-game), then hiring some quality voice actors (and directing them properly) and putting some time and effort into thinking about the fact that they’re making a fucking game rather than a dialogue tree simulator (and maybe as a result they’d design some interfaces and game elements that are fun for a human to use).

            But I’m sure dramatically changing their entire creative process won’t take them very long. It’s not like they’re doing anything else with their time (I imagine they scripted the entire plot of ME3 on a particularly rainy day, for example. And they don’t need to write characters, they just need to think of new names and different hats for Carth Onasi to wear)

            … I think I may inadvertently have allowed my subtext to take over my entire comment.

            1. krellen says:

              “decent gameplay” <> “shooter”.

              1. Soylent Dave says:

                Oh definitely not.

                And a lot of the rubbish gameplay in Bioware games has little to do with combat – it’s just that their combat system is a particularly egregious example of “I’m not actually playing this game, am I?”

                I wasn’t saying “turn Mass Effect into a shooter”; I was saying “put some game into your game”.

                Resource scanning minigames are not fun. Watching my character swing his sword around while the random number generator rolls dice in the background isn’t fun (if I wanted to do that, I’d be rolling the dice myself). Picking one of three dialogue options that bizarrely lead to the same conversation isn’t gameplay, either – it’s a non-linear cutscene.

                There are bits of Bioware games that are almost good; and I can forgive bad writing and bad dialogue in a videogame (because I’m so very used to it by now) – I shouldn’t have to forgive a lack of actual gameplay too.

            2. lurkey says:

              And here I thought ME was KOTOR with guns.

              1. Daemian Lucifer says:

                I dont know if its effects saturation or something like that,but Ive quite enjoyed the battles in kotor every time.In me,not so much.They just became stale.And Im not even a star wars fan(kotor was the first star wars game Ive played,and kotor 2 the last).Or maybe its just the various colours.

                1. lurkey says:

                  I had a misfortune to play KOTOR2 first, so my first distinct impression from KOTOR original was, “This simpleton is Revan?!” Then it got worse, and neither cheery colours nor Canderous Ordo was able to completely quell the feeling I accidentally picked a 12- game. :-(

              2. Old_Geek says:

                KOTOR had guns

    2. Jeff says:

      I think I’d buy Space Marine Maker.

      1. Ramsus says:

        That would be wonderful. Certainly a lot better than another shooter.

    3. Kdansky says:

      Why? There really is no sensible reason to play a third game if it is just bad. Saviour the good aftertaste instead. I’d gladly go back in time and not watch Matrix 2/3, but instead spend four hours cleaning my flat.

      1. Volatar says:

        I have a need to experience the end of the plot, even if its executed badly.

        1. Nevrim says:

          And then you will hate yourself for knowing the horrible way it ended.
          At least that it’s what usually happens to me.

      2. Falcon says:

        Here’s the catch. Mass effect was planned as a trilogy, The Matrix was not. Both had similar open endings BUT the main Matrix arc was about Neo learning his power. That can end open just fine.

        Mass Effect’s main arc was saving the galaxy from the reapers. Annopen ending there is really just an unfinished story still. That said they botched the transition, but finishing that story was needed.

        1. Soylent Dave says:

          Aren’t you getting the feeling that Mass Effect was “planned as a trilogy” in the same way that Star Wars was “planned” as 9 films?

          In a world where ‘planned’ means ‘I’ve got a few ideas, I imagine it’ll take me at least 3 games / films to get them all out there’ – which is all well and good until the auteur uses them all up in episode one.

          1. Falcon says:

            Sadly yes. Truth is they had a really good setup to lead into subsequent installments. There was a ton of interesting things they could have done to make new games with great stories that expanded upon the universe. Unfortunately we didn’t get one of them.

            I am also going on the record that ME3 would have a better story if Shepard (and everyone else alive at the time of ME2) was dead. Having the reapers show up a few short years after Sovreign? What was even the point of the Citadel relay IF THEY COULD JUST FLY BACK ON THEIR OWN IN 2 YEARS! Plus how would they know to come back? Barring some miracle of salient thought on the plot I’m predicting another horrible ass pull (warning TV tropes).

            1. Jarenth says:

              I like to imagine the Reapers are just, like, kind of lazy.

              “Well, we could fly out of dark space on manual and harvest all sentient species that way… but that’s boooooring.”

              1. Daemian Lucifer says:


    4. guy says:

      Same, I can’t resist the lure of getting an ending.

      If the trend of quality of endings continues, I may regret that.

      1. krellen says:

        If I never buy Mass Effect 3, I’ve already written an ending: because of its constant meddling, Cerberus undermines all efforts to organise a resistance against the Reapers (thanks largely to Cerberus’s involvement with Shepard completely undermining her credibility, especially with the Council she saved.) Because of this, the Reapers slowly, over several centuries, carve up the still-quarrelling galaxy into little chunks and slowly destroy each organic species one by one.

        The only survivors are a small section of the Quarians and the various friends of Shepard that decided to listen to her, who survive by harvesting as much eezo as possible to create fusion-powered reactors to stand in for stars and retreating into dark space.

        And it’s probably a more satisfying ending than the one we’ll actually get.

        1. GTRichey says:

          I most likely won’t buy ME3 (unless it gets the ok from people with brains and not just the magazines that want to keep people happy), and this stand in ending sounds plausible so as far as I’m concerned it’s now canon and whatever drivel they give us in ME3 is just trolling.

        2. Jarenth says:

          I’m making a mental note to remember this ending in case the canon one turns out terrible.

        3. Stellar Duck says:

          That retreat into dark space reminds me a lot of the “ending” of Galactic North by Alastair Reynolds.

          In any case, if Bioware messes up ME3, and judging from the story of ME2, that’s more than likely, I’ll take your ending as canon. And a very poignant ending. So thanks for giving me that.

  2. Phoenix says:

    I’m a bit worried now that I think about it, seeing the “improvements” of Dragon Age 2 versus Dragon Age.

    1. ccesarano says:

      See, the “improvements” of ME2 are what made me worried about Dragon Age 2, and now that I’ve played a bit of Dragon Age 2, I’m really not looking forward to anything by Bioware (until they start from scratch with a brand new IP that is unharmed by the “suggestions” of fans and press).

      1. Ben says:

        I don’t a new IP will fix it.

        Bioware for all their ills have some of the best world builders in the industry, they are very able to construct interesting worlds with compelling and logical problems. The problem is what they do with those worlds, I think DA2 and ME2 represent a new direction for the company, its not that a new IP will suddenly give us another DA:O, it will just give us another compelling world with lots of brown corridors (Now with ladders!?).

        That said Bioware still makes decent games, better then most on the market so I’ll still probably end up buying ME3 but it is a bit depressing.

        1. Veloxyll says:

          Mass Effect 3: A cover based Elevator simulator

          1. SomeUnregPunk says:

            Original IP :Mass Effect 3: A Cover based Elevator Shooter, A side story. … for the iPad.

            The game takes place along the spine of a massive reaper that has come to eat planets up and spit out dead worlds. You and a team is jumping from elevators riding up and down the spine of the reaper in cover based combat in the attempt to stop the monstrous reaper from killing the entire planet.

            During loading scenes you will experience a jrpg visual novel style of gameplay that will advance the story. This will retell events that lead up to your current predicament. You will rehash old loves/relationships or create new ones. Depending on how far you get in the visual novel has a direct effect on how well your comrades do in battle.

            Your choice in elevators, team setup, and which floor to stop on will dictate how many people on earth will survive the reaper’s attack.

    2. Zukhramm says:

      I thought, in terms of the “improvements” made, Dragon Age 2 did a lot better then Mass Effect 2, and found the massive hate towards DA2 weird. Well, I don’t mean that you’re not allowed to hate Dragon Age 2, but someone doing that while it the same time praising Mass Effect 2 as the absolute epitome of RPG, that I do not understand.

      1. False Prophet says:

        I don’t get it either. Granted ME2 lacked a certain resonance for me since I never actually played ME1, but the stupidity of anything Cerberus-related was apparent to me, even knowing nothing about their role in the first game.

        DA2, on the other hand, was at least attempting to do something different, it just really needed more development time.

    3. Kdansky says:

      I don’t get how people dislike DA2 so much (and usually praise ME2 in the same breath). It has a decently coherent plot, the combat is rather fun, the dialog isn’t bad, and sometimes quite good, and it actually manages a few surprises (something that Bioware games rarely do, being as formulaic as Algebra-courses).

      1. I think you may have answered your own question–the people complaining so much were in wuv with that formula.

        I really liked DA2. I thought there was lots of room for improvement, but I really, really enjoyed most of the changes.

        1. lurkey says:

          I loved the attempt to deviate from the formula, very much so. Unfortunately, 278 visits to the One Cave, combat designed for spastic monkeys on acid and idiocy that was Act 3 is able to seriously ruin the love.

          1. Jarenth says:

            Dragon Age 2, Act 3 retroactively ruined five Christmases for me.

        2. Stellar Duck says:

          Some people, like me, don’t really think about formula so much. I thought ME was a pretty great game. Dragon Age was also rather good, but made me annoyed often. ME2 was sort of alright, but kind of stupid. Then came Dragon Age 2. If nothing else, it made me appreciate how good the first Dragon Age is in comparison. Really good.

          I kept thinking “You know, this guy who rents out this warehouse to evil cults, conspiracies, gangs and what not, must REALLY be making a fortune. It seems like every time I kill his tenants he has a new nefarious group lined up. I should be working for him!”

          And then, it seems no matter what I do, I end up doing the same last act.

  3. Duoae says:

    I said pretty much the same things about the recent comments and was also shot down by various other gamers.

    I also dislike how much they’re willing to change their sequels to a franchise story…. and how they’re willing to include main plot in DLC and “punish” the players who didn’t play it by putting them on trial for actions they never committed….

    1. evileeyore says:

      As long as it’s a “Day 1” free DLC I don’t really care. I’ll happily deal with a need to register the game so long as it contains no other DLC.

      Like f-ing Steam.

      Dman, I’m screwed on this one aren’t I?

      1. Vipermagi says:

        The problem here is, it’s ME2 paid DLC. Fairly sure it’s called Arrival (of what? Space communists?). It has been mentioned that ME3 will start out with Shepard on trial for what the player did during that DLC. Fun fact; I never did that :(
        Whatever it is one does there. I don’t even know.

        1. Daemian Lucifer says:

          So,theyve released a new dlc months after Ive played the game,eh?Well,its settled now,I wont be buying me3 before 2014 for sure.And even then Ill merely consider it.

  4. krellen says:

    Wait, Shamus hates shooters? I thought Shamus hated bad games, and was actually quite fond of shooters, so long as they were good.

    I’m the one that hates shooters.

    1. Shamus says:

      It’s true. I like a shooter now and again. I could have continued the argument, but that seemed like a good place to stop.

      To be accurate, I should have had them say, “You knew it wasn’t an RPG.”

      1. krellen says:

        Maybe it should say “You knew it was a bad game, which you hate”.

  5. X2-Eliah says:

    I’m about 70% certain tat I will not buy ME3. I played 1 and 2, loved the first one quite a bit, second one as well (for the first playthrough), but frankly what I’m seeing now + the standard Bioware/EA set with dragon age 2 (not just the standard, but the direction as well) means that ME3 will very, very likely be a shooter game with some linear corridors doored by dialogue, catered to mass appeal.

    I wanted a space opera, and ME3 very clearly will not be a space opera. So it’s only natural that I don’t care about the game & won’t bother with it.

    Especially since *snigger* it launches +- after Skyrim, and that is the game I intend to be playing throughout the winter (along with X:Rebirth, but that’s another story).

    1. Volatar says:

      HOLY CRAP. This is the first I have heard of X:Rebirth. Space Sim’s are my favorite type of game ever (no exaggeration). There are far too few of them, and I loved X3:R (haven’t gotten TC yet).

      I am now SUPER excited.

      1. X2-Eliah says:

        Yup. They’re ditching the old X2/X3 engine out of the window, and remodelling everything, remaking the engine and all the baseline scripts – so it’ll really be a new game instead of an expansion-pack that was TC :)

        1. Volatar says:

          *girly squeals of happiness*

        2. Jabor says:

          Holy crap. I need this.

  6. X2-Eliah says:

    Hey Shamus – there’s no longer an option to edit our posts.. Pah, I say. Pah and poppycock.

    Anyway, wanted to add that Maybe the ME universe captured me with the first game, but it sure as hell lost me with the second game’s main plot nonsense. So now I don’t really feel as if being hooked on the franchise, actually.

    1. evileeyore says:

      “Hey Shamus ““ there's no longer an option to edit our posts.. Pah, I say. Pah and poppycock.”

      I’m still getting the standard 30 minute timer to edit my posts.

    2. acronix says:

      This is an experimental post to be editted at a later date about the edit issue.

      EDIT: 30 minutes timer too. Maybe somehow the system forgot you were you when you tried to edit your post?

      1. Raygereio says:

        On occasion I also had this comment system bug out of me and refuse to give me the 30 min edit window. Nother to add to the conversation other then the fact that X2’s case isn’t isolated.

        1. Daemian Lucifer says:

          Same here.It sometimes refused to edit my short posts,while mere minutes ago I edited my huge walls of text.

    3. X2-Eliah says:

      … Gah.

      And this is why you watch what your noScript plugin does, in case it decides to be a bastard and revoke website permissions randomly.

  7. B.J. says:

    I don’t think I’ve ever heard preview copy from a developer that wasn’t filled with broken promises, vague buzzwords, and meaningless fluff. I don’t see how this will be any different.

    Gameplay videos will reveal more hard facts about the game, but I don’t see how Mass Effect could get any more RPG-lite than it already is. I’m fine with that; I’m willing to give the developers some slack to try new things. Then again, when have changes to “appeal to a wider audience” ever been good ever in the history of anything?

    1. Vipermagi says:

      But are they really trying something new by scaling the RPG down and turning Corridors to 11?

      1. B.J. says:

        No, but is that what they are doing? We don’t know for sure. I just think it’s too early to tell. Be skeptical sure, but its Schroedinger’s Game. Ignore publisher and developer babble; gameplay videos should give a better idea.

        1. X2-Eliah says:

          Do you genuinely believe that’s not what they are doing?
          I certainly think it is. And so far all evidence seems to point that way too.

          See which way the wind blows, and you won’t have to wait until the storm hits you to know one’s coming.

          1. B.J. says:

            I guess I just don’t see how the game could get *more* cover & corridor-y. The damage has already been done.

            1. StranaMente says:

              Well, it can always get less rpg-ish, doesn’t it?

            2. X2-Eliah says:

              Weeeell.. There were practically no cover-sections on the normandy.. And, like, some parts of omega were too square and big.

              I’m sure London will provide endless tunneling possibilities, though, what with all the tube trains.
              And Mars – obviously humans would be living in enclosed, underground areas.

  8. Entropy says:

    Well, you see, by deepening RPG options, they mean more SKILL TREES. Not you know, actual RPG stuff.

    1. Eärlindor says:

      Yeah, I picked up on that right away as well.

    2. Raygereio says:

      To be fair to BioWare; when people complained that ME2 lacked RPG elements; the things they were whining about was mainly the fact that there was no loot and occasionaly you had someone complaining about how the skill trees were to simplified.

      Because you know; having loot and a bloated skill system is what makes a RPG a RPG.

      1. Ben says:

        Character development, typically through skill trees and loot, do in my mind make an RPG. An RPG is not defined by its story or characters, Adventure games have been telling good stories for a long time and we all know that shooters can have deep stories with rich characters. The defining feature of an RPG is character development, if there is less of that then it is less of an RPG, that doesn’t necessarily make it a worse game but it is less of an RPG.

        1. Kdansky says:

          I’m pretty sure he was being sarcastic there. ;)

      2. krellen says:

        When I complained about ME2 lacking RPG stuff, I meant exploration. ME2 lacked any sense at all of “exploring” – scanning a planet isn’t equal to tooling around its surface in my tank-buggy, and instead of (at least sometimes) having a couple paths I could take to get to where I was going, I was universally reduced to only one possible path (though sometimes I could go left before right, eventually I would have to go both left AND right.) Even the codex was some exploring, because you had to find the right things and uncover the right points to get all the codex entries filled out.

        RPGs without things to explore aren’t RPGs to me, and exploring was one big thing ME2 was without.

        1. Avilan says:

          Of course if they bring back mandatory planet-driving I will have to kill someone. Seriously. The Mako was horribly beyond description. That’s why I went through ME with four characters and then uninstalled the game, so I have four templates to import in ME2 and then ME3.

          On a more serious note, exploration is not an RPG element. That is the thing; there is no way to define exactly what an RPG is: Is an Inventory mandatory for making something an RPG? Exploration? A strong main story? Loot? Skill trees? Skill-based combat?
          I consider ME2 a pure RPG despite lacking several of these.

          1. krellen says:

            How is exploration not an RPG element? Every RPG I’ve ever played with friends at a tabletop involved exploration. The original “RPG” was a game about levelling up characters who were exploring dungeons. How do you define RPG in a manner that does not include “exploring the world through the senses of the character I am portraying”?

            Even different skill trees constitute exploration, as you can explore “how does this encounter play out if I use stealth” and “how does this encounter play out if I use speech” – the latest episode of Spoiler Warning is a great example of this sort of exploration (I bet most players didn’t use this method to finish this quest).

            1. Avilan says:

              Exploration is not an exclusive RPG element. Many other genres have it too.

              On the other hand, if exploring caves and giving you levels, XP and loot makes something an RPG, why on earth are you complaining about the corridors in ME2?

              1. krellen says:

                I don’t know about you, but no dungeon I have ever played through in any RPG has ever had only one single path through it.

                1. Avilan says:

                  Well, that is important to you :)

                  I still find ME2 a much better game than ME1. And and RPG.

                2. Greg says:

                  You’ve never tried a prewritten module have you ;)

                  1. Daemian Lucifer says:

                    You can still break those.And breaking the rails is half the fun.

              2. Zukhramm says:

                Well, action is not an exclusive FPS element. Many other genres have it too. But it’s still an element.

            2. Ben says:

              I don’t think exploration is an inherently RPG trait. Crysis encouraged exploration as a shooter, Psychonauts as a platformer.

              When you add the senses of the character condition then you can probably claim it as a defining RPG feature but at that point your talking about exploration as it related to character development not exploration itself.

            3. False Prophet says:

              If you played any tabletop RPG other than D&D or its clones, exploration wasn’t a core element (it could be, but it wasn’t essential). Even D&D doesn’t have to be centred on exploration.

              Then again, most D&D games I’ve run or played in didn’t make you run around the setting looking for crafting components–that seems to be primarily a video game thing.

              1. krellen says:

                When I played Mage, Vampire, and other WoD games, there very much was exploration, though it was exploration of a different sort (VtM: Bloodlines (and a bit also :Redemption) manages to actually grasp this, at least to some extent): instead of exploring an environment, there’s more exploring of people, emotions, and plots. And of yourself, especially with Vampire, Changeling, or Wraith.

                1. Khizan says:

                  The problem with exploration in Bloodlines was that while there wasn’t a TON of exploration, the exploration you could do was hugely important.

                  For example, the Super Awesome Death Sword that was pretty much needed with a melee build at end game was just on the ground in a random room in an area you only got to visit once, and there were several other decently powerful items that you were never warned about which would only be available at one certain specific time.

                  It’s still quite possible my favorite computer game ever, though. The Malkavian dialogue was so well done I have trouble playing it as anything else now.

          2. Daemian Lucifer says:

            I liked mako.I missed mako in 2.Hammerhead was even better.They shouldve included it in the core game.

    3. Vegedus says:

      Which is… what exactly? According to Diablo, RPG stuff really is more skill trees (and loot and lots of clicking).

      It’s unlikely they are gonna take out the interesting character developement or the threaded plot, which is what’s characteristic of a Bioware RPG.

  9. SolkaTruesilver says:

    Come on, Shamus..

    It can’t be that bad. They could turn a mystery and tension-based Squad-Control tactical game and turn it into a cheesy pseudo-shooter/investigation set in the 50’s…

    U know, like X-Com..

    1. Fede says:

      URGH! Please, no more mentioning of that “thing” that’s trying to pass off as X-Com, it hurts!

      1. Grag says:

        Yeah, what’s next, turning a classic puzzle-platformer like Oddworld into an RTS? I mean really…

        1. SolkaTruesilver says:

          A Rabid-fan shooter game like Halo into a RTS…

          1. Irridium says:

            Its funny because its already been done!

            1. Alphadrop says:

              [url=]Don’t explain the joke[/url]

            2. Jabrwock says:

              Especially hilarious considering it was BUNGIE who was going to do it. Halo WAS originally an RTS, in the style of Myth, until they decided to change course and make it an FPS.

              So when Microsoft announced Halo Wars, my reaction was “what, did they just pick up Bungie’s old dev notes?”

  10. Grag says:

    You should move on to criticizing games that haven’t even been announced.

    “I am frankly appalled that the next Monkey Island Game will be a light-gun shooting alley game.”

    “I am excited about the new Mass Effect of Orion game, but hopefully both the Klaxons and Bulrathi will be romantic options.”

    “I am very interested in the new procedurally generated open-world Tony Hawk game, but the decision to make it kinect-only will be hazardous to my children and furniture.”

    1. Alex says:

      You think Kinect-only Tony Hawk is bad? What about the motion-controlled Dead or Alive? Not only are the acrobatic martial arts moves even MORE hazardous to the people and things in your vicinity, but the special harness you have to wear to control the jiggle physics is hell on your back…

    2. Simon Buchan says:

      Kinect only Tony Hawk sounds a lot like TH:Ride:

  11. Vegedus says:

    I really liked Dragon Age 2. More than Origins, anyways.

    Let the flamewar commence!

    1. GiantRaven says:

      I agree. I’m not very far into the game but the combat (the one thing that made me give up on Origins) has been greatly improved and I love that the main plot isn’t the generic ‘save the world’ story that gets overused so much.

      I never understood the majority of complaints about the game, other than the overly reused environments.

      1. Raygereio says:

        As someone that really, really wanted to like DA2, but ended up being disapointed by it: *shrug* Different people wil like different things.

        I’ll agree that the combat itself is lot less sluggish then it was Origins, though certain design decisions such as having respawning enemies made the combat annoying at times for me.
        But the writing? Oh, lord. I thought ME2 had bad writing, but it was the sort of bad where you can point and laugh at it. DA2’s plot just left me with a bad taste of disapointment in my mought: lot’s of good and neat ideas, but none of them worked.

        I will say however, that the friendship vs. rivalry mechanic was one of the best things BioWare came up with.

        1. Vegedus says:

          We’re up for a good start but we need more anger! More hate! Moar flames!

          1. Eärlindor says:

            I’ll expand on what Raygereio on the writing.

            You had a BUNCH of plots and subplots branching off from each other or completely unrelated–not really an over-arching plot. Now, individually, they weren’t necessarily bad, but there were so. Friggin’. Many of them. It felt like a disorganized mess that didn’t know what it wanted to do until the VERY END, and right where it could’ve gotten good, that’s when it ended.

      2. acronix says:

        And that 50% of the combats are ambushes that happen DURING other combat. The only real tactical choice to make is “fall back to a choke point”, which then translates to “go explore with a character, trigger the ambush, THEN fall back to choke point”. The lack of a isometric camera means battling in this chokepoints is, not hard or difficult, but annoying.

        Though I`m quite sure I did exactly the choke point thing in BG2 and IWD*, though I also remember needing other tactics in quite a lot of battles.

        *In defense of the “fall back to chokepoint” overuse in any game, it`s too damn effective compared to other types of confrontation. The problem is when the options are “chokepoint” or “be surrounded and outnumbered”.

        1. Khizan says:

          Unless you’re playing on Nightmare with the Friendly fire, the best way to handle the swarms is with grenades and AOE effects. I actually liked the spawning enemies because all too many of the fights in DAO were “splash the adds, tank the boss for a few minutes”. The end of the Mage Tower. The Dalish quest. The various fights through Denerim. The High Dragons(tank and spank with no adds at all!).

          The only fights that really differed at all were the Broodmother and the Archdemon, and the majority of fights were utterly trivialized by bringing along a CC/AOE specced mage, but frustrating without one. With only two casters(And Wynne being the clearly dominant one in terms of ability), I found DAO to be irritatingly restricting. DA2 solved a lot of that by making Mage healing into more of an “oh crap” button than a necessity, and downgrading their CC potential.

          And in terms of choke points, it’s nothing near as bad as DAO, where the best strategy was always to funnel everybody to a doorway so mass paralyse/sleep could hit everybody.

          1. Ateius says:

            Trying to “tank and spank” the High Dragons on anything harder than Easy will result in your tank getting literally eaten for an instakill. You need intense micromanagement either of your tank (to dodge them in and out) or mages (to have freezing/paralysis spells) to avoid this. I found the High Dragons to be the most entertaining fights in the game, because I didn’t have to worry about “adds” and could concentrate solely on maneuvering to take down the massive beasts.

            1. Khizan says:

              I’ve killed them on Hard that way before. It’s not that hard to do as long as you have a decent tank, like Alistair. Give him some good armor and a fire resist potion, bring a decent stack of healing potions and a Mage who can heal, and then give the rest of the group ranged weapons. Then it’s pretty much a tank and spank while you heal it. And while ranged is preferable, a DW warrior does such an insane amount of damage that it’s worth sending it in to melee even with the knockdowns.

              As long as you’ve got a decent tank, they should survive fairly handily. That’s one of the reasons I was glad to see the stat changes in DA2. The “optimal” tank got just enough strength to use good armor and stacked dex and con the rest of the way. My Alistair actually tanked with a dagger because his dex made it a better option.

            2. Zukhramm says:

              This is what I can’t stand about Dragon Age’s combat. Intense micromanagement? Sure, I can do that, but then give me a turn based game or at least a much slower moving one. And no, just pausing every couple of seconds is not enough.

    2. krellen says:

      I thought DA2 was okay. I played it, replayed it a little bit, and then stopped. It was … mediocre, I guess is the best way to put it. I didn’t exactly dislike it, but there was just something off about it. It just didn’t “click”, for some reason.

      1. GTRichey says:

        I would say that DA2 is actually good. Certainly better than ME2. It didn’t reach the level of ‘great’ though and it really should have considering it’s starting point was DA:O. They fixed the combat for the most part, but largely removed the tactical elements unfortunately (overhead camera removed and enemies spawning after fighting starts… but I can forgive that since the combat isn’t the main draw for me). They finally created a game without a one dimensional ‘morality’ metre. The story was decent at least for the first and second act (apparently the ending is awful though… got distracted by other games before I got there). It definitely had it’s issues (constant reuse of dungeon areas for different dungeons being the most glaring), and most of these just come down to the fact that it should’ve had a significantly longer development period.

        Honestly I’m not against streamlining and DA2 is an example of how you can streamline things in a good way (as opposed to ME2).

        That said… back to The Witcher. Regardless of how you feel about the protagonist, it’s a shining example of an excellent RPG with branching story and complex choices. True story I was shocked when I came upon the dialog option that said I don’t have enough information to make a judgment and was told that I needed to investigate more. I couldn’t help but think… imagine that, actually investigating before going on a murderous rampage.

        1. Jarenth says:

          I know this won’t help if you’re dead set on it, but if there’s any ambiguity in your judgement: Please, do yourself a favour, and don’t play Act 3.

          1. GTRichey says:

            Yeah I’ve been semi-intentionally avoiding it based on things I’ve read and instead going back to F:NV playing Portal 2 and most recently The Witcher. Based on how the story had progressed as far as I got I don’t see that as a problem either since it wasn’t about any over-arching threat, but survival… so after you have money and there’s not the looming threat of Qunari destroying everything… game could end there as far as I’m concerned.

    3. Avilan says:

      I have not finished it; in fact I don’t intend to.

      Oddly, I liked ALL the gameplay changes better than in DA:O. However the plot is too dark and depressing; I couldn’t bring myself to finish it. So I have uninstalled it.

  12. Michael says:

    I’m actually more afraid of what they’re going to do with the minigames than with the actual content of the game…

    The Mako was a Papier-mà¢ché joke of a vehicle that wasn’t suited to any task it was given. You want to give me a buggy? Fine. You want to give me a tank? Fine. Those are not the same vehicle.

    Planet scanning was an arduous chore that was boring at best, and completely unforgivable at worst. (What was wrong with the planet scanning from the first game? This is a planet; I would like it’s resources. I don’t need to know exactly where they are – I’m not a friggin’ miner. Also: don’t I have a crew for just this reason?)

    I agree with Critical Miss on this one.

    That said, I like the step up from Simon to “CODE HAXXX OMG”. And if it has to be mentioned, bypass was okay.

    1. Alex says:

      Judging from the footage in Spoiler Warning, I could actually kinda see the appeal of the planet-mining minigame. Maybe they put that in to appeal to the Aspies… :-)

    2. Daemian Lucifer says:

      Hammerhead was nice.It has what mako lacked.Though it is a bit on the fragile side.Still,it was a step in the right direction.Which is why I think it will be nowhere near the third game.

    3. Khizan says:

      I utterly hated bypassing and hacking. And, in NV, I hate hacking and lockpicking.

      In fact, I just hate it when a game decides that it needs to replicate the difficulty of accomplishing some routine task by giving me a minigame to play. If it’s difficult, it’s stupid because I already put points in the skill, damnit, and I should be able to open it regardless of how good I am at Simon. If it’s easy, it’s just a time sink attached to the 3000c or whatever.

  13. Nathon says:

    “We’re huge believers in the IP and are purposefully shifting it to address a larger market opportunity.”

    You said that quote was an internal contradiction. I think the way they meant it was, they like the setting and art and want to stick a game that appeals to a broader audience in it. Since creating new settings is apparently something the industry has become incapable of doing, they figure that since this was successful and good they can squeeze some more out of it. I mean, there are Halo books.

    I’m not saying they’re good people or doing the right thing, just that it may be rational self interest and not complete insanity that’s causing a game you like to be twisted into a game you won’t like.

    1. Sumanai says:

      I read that as “we believe that the IP has the potential to bring in a lot of money, but in order to do that we have to change it according to the whims of the marketers”.

    2. B.J. says:

      They haven’t said what they mean by “shifting to address a larger market opportunity.” Usually statements like that mean they are trying to copy other successful games. Since they’ve already pretty much done what with ME2, the only other thing they could really do is add multiplayer (co-op?) and/or remove the RPG stuff entirely. Which I agree would suck.

      Another possibility could be the removal of leveling and XP and have the player purchase all powers and skills with some kind of currency Bioshock style. I would be okay with that but other fans would likely get butthurt over it.

      1. X2-Eliah says:

        DLC levelups.

        Calling it now.

        Pre-order to get level 2, then monthly level-packs that give 1 or 2 extra levels per 180 bioware points.

        1. Daemian Lucifer says:

          Youve just invented a new genre of dystopian stories.

      2. Jarenth says:

        I read that as ‘Those damned nerds will buy anything we slap the Mass Effect label on, so we’re pretty much free to fit the actual gameplay to a different market altogether.’

    3. Zak McKracken says:

      I just wanted to post the same thing.
      Don’t think it’s a good idea, but that’s how I understood the sentence, too.

    4. Simon Buchan says:

      Never read them myself, but I hear the Halo books are actually pretty good. Sort of a dystopic spin on Starship Troopers (book), and what I’ve heard of the Master Chief’s characterisation is really interesting, in particular. Adaptation Distillation?

      I’m actually not sure what people’s obession with *new* settings is – I find there’s normally much more fun in new spins and PoVs on old settings than another story that has to spend half it’s time just setting up the world, history, characters and relationships all over again. From that point of view, DA2 sounds great. On the other hand, I hated DA’s setting, with the minor exception of elves being recently freed slaves, which had exactly 30 minutes of being useful in DA. :(.

  14. Raygereio says:

    I still maintain that that “We’re huge believers in the IP and are purposefully shifting it to address a larger market opportunity.” quote is utterly meaningless and it should be treated like the empty drivel it is.
    For crying out loud; all that was, was that CEO from EA filling the heads of the investors with lots of words to confuse them and keep them from asking complicated questions such as: “Why are we missing a christmass launch?”.

    Wake me up when we someone actually involved with ME3 spouting nonsense.

    1. Irridium says:

      EA could have said “ME2 didn’t have a Christmas launch as well, but it still sold millions of units and became a giant success, so chill out dudes.”

      Or something like that.

      1. Raygereio says:

        Clearly you have never had to deal with investors before. These people don’t do common sense.

    2. X2-Eliah says:

      Why are we missing a christmass launch?
      That’s actually a simple one.


      1. krellen says:

        So, seriously, what’s so great about Skyrim? If I hated (detested, abhorred, whatever strongly negative reaction you want to use) Morrowind and Oblivion, would I care?

        1. Swedmarine says:

          Because!… It’s got dragons.. and a… sword and the… Look at the shiny keys! Oh, look at them! *shakes keys*

        2. X2-Eliah says:

          Yes. I have no doubt that Bioware is seeing Skyrim as the elephant in the china store, and because of market competition, they are delaying their high-profile ‘RPG’ to not directly compete with S.

          You would care because you are a shareholder in EA / Bioware, and you see a massive game potentially robbing you of your moneys from the poor suckers. So you delay it.

          What, you think they care what the gamers like/dislike? It’s a marketing decision, based on marketing strategies and ‘other business-speak’.

          Okay, I’ll concede that there probably is also some major FPS coming out at around that time too – probably from EA (or actiblizz), which cuts the profit window even smaller.

          1. krellen says:

            I was kind of hoping you’d tell me there’s something about the game that makes you keep talking about it, other than “new Bethesda game”.

            1. X2-Eliah says:

              Why? It’s clear you’re ready to hate it because it’s a Bethesda game, or Oblivion 2, or whatever. There’s a lot of info out there already, and you’ve played Ob. and Morrowind. I don’t have any secret dev info or anything – I know the same as you do, and if at this point you don’t feel anything towards the game, nothing I say can nor will change your mind.

              I’ll say this – it seems to have everything I want from an rpg, with everything I liked in Oblivion, which itself was (for me) one of the best games I played at that time.

              I trust I don’t have to explain why I had the utter gall in liking those games personally? I really don’t feel like engaging in a pro-anti Bethesda / Skyrim argument – I know I want that game, and there’s nothing to be gained from arguing about it.

            2. Shamus says:

              It’s a sickness. There’s no cure.

              The sickness was contracted when playing Morrowind, and the victim is forever doomed to buy all horribly buggy, badly paced sandbox games from Bethsoft. Forever. I know this because I have the sickness as well.

              I’m going to get Skyrim. I’m going to run around looting and leveling and it will be many hours before the bugs, badly animated characters, horrible voice acting, stiff dialog, stale story, or unbalanced mechanics sink in.

              1. krellen says:

                I must have some immunity, ’cause I played Morrowind and never caught it.

                1. lurkey says:

                  I played Oblivion, caught it for good 100+ hours, then got insta-bored, also, suspicious that if you played one Bethesda sandbox, you played them all. Watched Spoiler Warning of Fallout 3, suspicions confirmed. Wonder if New Vegas’ writing would make for gameplay’s sandboxity.

                  1. krellen says:

                    I hate FO3, love New Vegas. Take that for what you will.

                  2. Irridium says:

                    I’d say that yes, it does.

                    Fallout 3 is like a child’s storybook compared to New Vegas.

                    And not Doctor Suess-type storybook, but those picture books with one sentence under a big picture.

                    1. Jarenth says:

                      ‘Stop shooting me’?

              2. Sekundaari says:

                You don't know anything about the game. I can't believe you would criticize a game without even knowing anything about it! You can't really judge the game until you've played it.

            3. acronix says:

              You know why I want to play Skyrim? Because it will probably have a lot of awful, hateable characters who I`ll want to kill. And it will let me. Well, except the plot`s Mary Sues, who will be the character I`d wish to slaughter the most, but one can`t have everything!

              1. Khizan says:

                This is why Fallout games are awesome. “Kill absolutely everything you encounter” is a valid method of beating the game.

                1. X2-Eliah says:

                  Little lamplight caverns…

                  1. Daemian Lucifer says:

                    I think Khizan was talking about the real fallout games.

              2. Daemian Lucifer says:

                Memory might be fuzzy,but I dont remember there being invincible npcs in morrowind.

                1. acronix says:

                  I was refering to Fallout 3, which is the one I hate the most.

                  Anyway, if they go back to the “you CAN screw up your plot by killing anything” idea, then I`m doubly getting it!

                  1. Simon Buchan says:

                    Current talk from Bethesda is unclear. You will *at least* be able to kill *some* quest givers, and have the game figure out how to still give you the quest (the example was the quest giver’s sister, who was involved already), though they haven’t said if that is the norm, or what happens if it runs out of quest givers.

                2. Jarenth says:

                  There weren’t. You can kill absolutely anyone in Morrowind.

                  The game will give you a little warning about how you mucked up the threads of fate or whatever when you kill a plot NPC, but they stay dead.

          2. Irridium says:

            “Okay, I'll concede that there probably is also some major FPS coming out at around that time too ““ probably from EA (or actiblizz), which cuts the profit window even smaller.”

            Yeah, there’s the next Call of Duty, as well as Battlefield 3.

            Battlefield 3 coming from EA. So it’d make sense to push it back, and let both shooters do good rather then having both fight for the same fans.

        3. poiumty says:

          It had a great trailer with some bitchin’ music. Other than that, everyone’s just excited about it because TES games usually offer a lot of content you can get lost in. Also great graphics and what looks like a pretty good weapons system.

          …I guess. I never liked Oblivion that much.

        4. Viktor says:

          You wouldn’t. If you disliked those games(you heretic), then I seriously doubt you’ll like Skyrim. Spend your money elsewhere.

          1. krellen says:

            Cool. That was the sort of response I was hoping for. I understand why folks that like that sort of game would get excited over the new one, but the hype I’ve seen about it has all seemed to imply it would be something .. more, I guess? So I just wanted to check. I don’t remember the sort of hype around Oblivion that I’m hearing about Skyrim, anyway.

            1. Abnaxis says:

              I’m not sure that’s completely fair. I think a lot of the hype comes from the new engine as well. From what I’ve noticed, 99% of all complaints about Bethsoft games that come from Bethsoft fans are attributed to the game engine. If they’re updating the engine, the jaded fans get some small sliver of hope that Skyrim won’t be an orgy of bugs, and start frothing at the mouth.

              Also, it’s the closest thing you’re going to get to a ankle-deep mainstream Western RPG in today’s market, especially given Bioware’s recent behavior. Seriously, Oblivion and Fallout games are comparatively shitty compared to RPGs of the past, but what else am I going to play if I don’t want an adolescent-ridden pay-out-the-ass MMO or an emo-fest JRPG?

              1. Zukhramm says:

                I’d just go for the emo-fest JRPG anyway.

                1. Lord of Rapture says:

                  Not me.

              2. Daemian Lucifer says:

                Well,diablo 3 is looming,so theres that.Even if you dont like action rpgs(like I dont),diablo is always worth a try.

        5. Daemian Lucifer says:

          Well,morrowind showed a lot of promise,and oblivion….errrr…Well lots of people like oblivion.And fallout 3 made new vegas possible.So there is hope that skyrim will finally be a solid game on its own.If nothing else,you can at least put more hope into skyrim than the new xcom.

          1. Irridium says:

            I’m just excited at the prospect of a Bethesda game not crashing a lot. And hopefully their writers learned a few things from Oblivion/Fallout 3. Those things being how to tell a story that doesn’t suck.

          2. Simon Buchan says:

            Oblivion showed they could make pretty landscapes. And ugly people.

            1. Matt K says:

              Dear god those were people?

    3. Nathon says:

      While it’s couched in the terminology of marketing fluff, it does have a meaning if you’re willing to parse it out. Larger market opportunities exist where there are more players. There are more players in different genres. They’re shifting the property (“Mass Effect and its trappings”) to a genre consumed by more people. Jerks.

  15. Integer Man says:

    I do love the “We are a huge believer in the IP” quote. Golden!

  16. poiumty says:

    As one of the people who liked the streamlining of ME2, I can honestly say I don’t care about what those people say, nor about what the doomsayers proclaim (INCLUDING YOU, SHAMUS). If they’re keeping the spirit of ME2 (which, by the way, I saw as a great action/RPG) then I’m happy. And no, I didn’t like Gears of War.
    Still didn’t keep me from finding the comic funny, though.

    RPG elements mean mechanics to me (i.e. skill trees, xp, classes). Story-related things are completely separated. You don’t call Diablo a pure action game just as you don’t call Legacy of Kain an RPG.

    1. krellen says:

      Oddly enough, I liked Gears of War until the end boss ruined the whole thing for me by violating all the gameplay rules I’d been taught throughout the rest of the game.

      1. poiumty says:

        Meh. Just shooting guns in tight corridors is boring for me. Not enough magic space powers.

    2. Ben says:

      The place where ME2 really falls down as an action RPG is that everything feels the same. An infiltrator plays quite similarly to a soldier which plays quite similarly to a pure biotic, especially after being able to use an AR with both. Contrast this with something like Deus Ex, one of the premier examples of the shooter-RPG, my stealth character played quite differently from my assault character. ME1 suffered from this as well although to a lesser degree, and it was mitigated by being able to tune your character to your playstyle to a limited degree with weapons.

      Action RPG combat needs to allow development so the player feels like they have some control over how they play their character. This is something a lot of games fail at, the Witcher (as much as I like that game) is another example of failing in this regard.

      1. Khizan says:

        There are only two classes in ME2.

        “Vanguard” and “Everything else.”

      2. poiumty says:

        Soldier and infiltrator are similar classes that use some similar tactics, but I never found a biotic to play nearly as similar as a weapon-focused class. Sure, there’s small parts of gameplay that feel the same, but what you’re doing with each class is relatively different (as much as one could consider “throwing dudes off cliffs” different from “shooting dudes in the head”). My sentinel playthrough was vastly different from my Soldier playthrough, which was also vastly different form my Vanguard. Not to mention each power can evolve slightly differently + the special powers you can train which accounts to an overall different feel even in the same class (compare a sentinel that has upgraded the shield blast and uses a shotgun with one that relies on keeping his shield up for the power damage upgrade with Tali’s special power, maybe using a sniper rifle). So I feel compelled to disagree.

        1. Ben says:

          I’ll agree on the Vanguard, it does play somewhat differently because charge is really unique, its not well supported with some kind of point-blank AoE but it is different so I’ll give you that. I’ll also grant that the special training power does allow you to define some uniqueness but its not enough.

          The homogenization of ME2 is because gunplay is too effective and powers aren’t effective enough. I suspect they were trying to tone back the ME1 biotic stunlock that broke the back-half of ME1 but they went too far in the opposite direction. The introduction of the ability GCD also limited the usefulness of power classes, again yes it prevented biotic stunlock but it also turned all classes into use a power every GCD. In ME1 an adept felt much more like a classical controller, lots of different CCs at the expense of raw firepower, in ME2 I lost that.

          The real death blow to the power classes is when you go onto the collector ship and can train assault rifles. Assault rifles are so powerful it massively reduces how much the power classes have to rely on powers.

          ME3 needs to go back to power classes being about powers at the expense of gunplay and allow power classes to really use their powers as a useful alternative to gunplay not make everyone different shades of the same basic shooter. Also I’d love to see some kind of loot back, obviously ME1’s inventory was a little much but I’m sure it could be steamlined. Merge the ME1 and ME2 systems, make finding an upgrade unlock it then give us a Crysis style menu to select which of our unlocked upgrades to use. That way you remove the inventory and constant selling but still allow for customization of weapons to fit the playstyle.

          Note: All of the above said I preferred ME2’s combat to ME1, it felt much tighter but as an action-RPG it didn’t do much for me.

          1. poiumty says:

            Powers aren’t effective enough? That is outright wrong.


            Looks like your grief comes not from imbalanced gameplay but your personal preference of gameplay styles. Which is pretty common with people who didn’t like the transition into ME2. Doesn’t make the game bad, though.

            1. Ben says:

              First of all note what I said at the end of my post, I prefer the combat of ME2, its more balanced, less easy to break and some of the tactical synergies (showcased very well in that video) are very interesting.

              However that video shows what I’m talking about quite well. Even using a power heavy build with a team specifically designed to exploit power synergies there was pretty much equal parts gunplay and power usage. Powers are effective but you can’t rely on them as a primary way to bring down targets, they are always secondary to the gunplay. This could be partially remedied by not giving everyone an AR, if power classes had to rely more on powers because they didn’t have as effective guns it would establish a better set of niches

              What I also noticed with that video was how similar it was to my run through with an entirely different team. Infiltrator (heavy incin), Mordin(heavy incin), Samara(heavy reave) plays quite similarly to the warp explosion video. That right there is the problem, 2 different classes with entirely different teams yet an almost identical playstyle.

              1. poiumty says:

                This was a speedrun. On insanity. If you played normally (i.e. lower difficulty or NOT A SPEED RUN) you could have easily went through the level just spamming powers, never firing a shot.
                And no it wasn’t “equal parts gunplay”. They used the rifle to scrape the shields or finish opponents off, the majority of the damage still came from powers.

                So you were setting them up for warp explosions by using Incinerate? Sorry, but “i’m still pressing buttons and shit” doesn’t make for a solid argument when discussing playstyle differences.

                1. Ben says:

                  So I did a couple quick counts off that video, probably not entirely accurate but reasonably close. Only counting from player since others are harder to track.
                  234 shots fired
                  30 warps used

                  ME wiki says the AR he is using does 17.4 damage per shot with 1.25 multiplier against everything barriers, armor and shields. Assuming half of damage was done with a multiplier that is 4619.7 damage from guns. Warp does 200 damage per hit so 6000 damage from warp. I can’t figure out a good way to count detonations so we’ll note that I’m undercounting warp damage by some margin. Those numbers give us 44% from bullets, 55% from powers, its more then I thought it would be from powers (I expected the percentages about there but reversed) but for a power centric class to get nearly 50% of damage from gunplay seems like a poorly defined niche to me.

                  As for similar, I mean in terms of look and feel. Without watching too carefully I easily could have confused that run with one of my runs (if I was better about binding squad abilities, I typically use them from the pause menu). A class built around sniper rifles and a class built around powers using different teams with that same kind of burst and run approach seems wrong to me.

                  Just to be clear what kind of changes I’m thinking of, if something like that happens in ME3 I’ll be very happy.
                  1)Flesh out the vanguard close combat niche more, give a point blank AOE to complement charge, or just attach one to the end of charge. A passive barrier proportional to number of nearby enemies (10-15yds) to make the vanguard less of a sitting duck and some shotgun bonus similar to the infiltrator zoom slow-mo.
                  2) Increase the GCD reduction for adepts, engis and sentinels, its 20% lower then soldier in ME2, drop it more.
                  3) Enforce weapon restrictions, this is the biggest one in my mind, you use the weapons you start with, the more power centric you are the weaker your weapon skills.
                  4) In general I’d like to see more abilities available to each class with a similar number of points available and/or include more prereqs/branching. Make the specializations more then just different kinds of stat boosts to create viable subclasses.

                  Again let me repeat what I said earlier, I like the combat in ME2, its solid and its the best combat Bioware has done since they left DnD behind, perhaps ever. As a shooter its fine although I’d like to see less linear levels. As an RPG a little work to increase specialization differences(and bring back weapon upgrade options) it could be very good, won’t satisfy everyone but I suspect it would work for most people who enjoyed ME2 but are clamoring for more RPG elements.

          2. Daemian Lucifer says:

            What you said works only on normal difficulty.Yeah assault rifles are cool and powers are just for show,but on higher difficulties you are so going to rely on powers,and I wouldnt pick assault rifles over snipers even at gun point.Whats the use of 1000 bullets per minute,if they barely scratch the paint of that scion?

            And all of that me1 was all about powers,me2 is about guns is not true either.In 1 you were using weapons in the beginning,powers later when you had almost 0 cooldown.In 2 its the same,you are using weapons in the beginning,but powers later when you have almost 0 cooldown.

            1. Khizan says:

              Warp and/or incinerate will put paid to a scion pretty reliably if you have it, and the assault rifle is far more useful for wasting standard issue mooks, which are the majority of the enemies you’ll face.

              And I’m willing to bet that for a lot of people, sniper rifles are damn near useless without Adrenaline Rush or the cloak.

              1. Moriarty says:

                Not really, no. I’ve played Sentinel on Insanity and the Sniper Rifle was SO much more useful than any Assoult Rifle would have been. Especially considering that the only GOOD Assault Rifle is only available to classes who already have Assault Rifle training at that point.

                1. Khizan says:

                  What I mean by that is that if you suck at headshotting you’re likely to get a lot less use out of it without AR or cloak to help you out with it.

                  1. Daemian Lucifer says:

                    You can always pause,aim,then unpause at the very time you pull the trigger.

            2. macil says:

              I play(ed) Soldier on Insanity and don’t recall having significant problems progressing, except once in awhile if I got impatient. I only used the ammo type powers + Geth shield much later in the game. My party generally had at least one person that could use a sniper rifle (generally Garrus and Zaeed, later Legion, although I also used Grunt for damage soaking.)

              I took the big ass sniper rifle on the Reaper ship. (M-98 Widow) That thing is ridic.

              I never had a problem sniping–sniping is by far the best damage–and didn’t invest into Adrenaline or use cloak (obviously Soldier can’t).

              I carried around the M-920 Cain (nuke launcher) with all the ammo upgrades/equipment so I could shoot it twice, teehee.

              Switching to the right ammo type makes all the difference, really.

      3. Bubble181 says:

        To be fair, I consider KotOR and KotOR II good RPGs (horrible buggy cut-content disasters, but good RPGs), but both of them had exactly two playstyles: lightsabre everything, and grill everything. All other styles were either vastly inferior (guns, stealth) or variations on a theme (You can speech check and persuade all you want, you’ll still be killing off all the mooks and bosses with either a lightsabre or force choke/lightning/…).

        1. Ben says:

          I think KOTOR is a decent counter example actually. Yes there is a major imbalance between ranged and melee but at least until the end when force wave starts breaking things a consular with lots of offensive powers plays quite differently from a DW/speed (force speed+flurry) build. As a consular I can use force powers as my primary means of killing stuff, yes I have a lightsaber but most of my damage is from my powers. A jedi built around powers for self buffs will do most of their damage by hitting things (I do think there is s a decent criticism that heavy dual blade builds are too similar single blade builds are too similar to DW builds).

          Also don’t discount the use of skills like computers or repair to change fights, its less then I’d like and it kinda breaks down for the final boss fight and a few other plot important events (my first play through with a primarily support character I killed Malak by chasing him over piles of mines) but for most of the game support skills are quite viable as an alternative style of play (sneak much less so).

          I may be misremembering slightly since its been 7+ years since I’ve played KOTOR (been meaning to take another look at it with new more jaded eyes) but I remember the game giving me more variety in how I killed people based on my build.

        2. Tohron says:

          KoTOR does allow for alternate strategies – I did a solo Blaster Jedi run on both (had to use Carth and Bastila to tank on the Leviathan bridge though). With force speed constantly up, melee characters have great difficulty even hitting them, and the bonus attacks + energy resistance let them easily beat range at their own game. Of course, this requires an all-jedi-range party in order to work, and takes longer than the lightsaber approach.

        3. poiumty says:

          Ah yes, KOTOR. The game in which my entire playstyle centered around pre-casting some stuff and mashing the Flurry button.

          I tried being an evil, evil Sith Lord Space Wizard in Kotor II. Just think of the complex gameplay I’d have with a magic-based class!

          …mashing the Force Storm button. God damnit. This is why I couldn’t finish it a second time. Unlike ME2, which I’d play right now if I didn’t have other things to do.

    3. acronix says:

      The problem is how you interpret the “Roleplaying” part on “RolePlaying Game”. As you say, one can interpret it as the mechanics: Which is, I think, the definition most players use. Something is an RPG because it has certain underlying mechanics that don´t depend on player direct imput (pressing keys) but on other, in-game factors (like wearing a certain armor, or having certain level, etc).

      This is why we don´t say Dante´s Inferno is an RPG, for example. Its mechanics are enterily based on player input. There`s no number for dodge, fortitude, or whatever saves: the player himself has to input the dodge and his success is based only on his timing, not an internal simulation of probabilities.

      Basically, I think we can agree that Bioware games are becoming less and less internal mechanic-centric to be more player-input-centric (which, in itself, isn`t a bad thing, of course).

      1. poiumty says:

        I wouldn’t say that. Truly Mass Effect is designed to rely more on player input, but that’s its default design. I’m not seeing how their other franchise (Dragon Age) is in any way becoming more dependent on input. Of course, I’m playing on the PC, where there’s an auto-attack. But still.

    4. Daemian Lucifer says:

      I liked most of the things they did with the gameplay in me2.Except the removal of cooldown,vehicle sections and grenades.Well,ok technically you can drive the hammerhead around,but thats a dlc,not the core game.

  17. Meredith says:

    The ME games are more-or-less next on my list of games to play and now I’m disappointed in advance by all the discussion of changes between sequels. Bioware had a good thing going with their RPGs; why mess with it? :(

    1. krellen says:

      Because they got bought out by EA.

      1. Avilan says:

        Of course the other reason is that quasi-turn-based isometric 2D games aren’t exactly marketable anymore. I have both Fallout 1 and 2 installed on this machine and I couldn’t bring myself to finish FO1; what I remembered as a brilliant game is now a chore with horrible graphics and a tedious gameplay beyond belief.

        And yes, I know that Bioware didn’t do those games. However the same is true for Baldur’s Gate I and II.

        1. krellen says:

          How about KOTOR? Can you play through that?

          1. Daemian Lucifer says:

            No matter how good that game was,I still say baldurs gate was not just better,but prettier as well.And Ive been saying that since nwn came out.Im not saying 3d is bad,but it is much harder to make,and therefore 2d is more beautiful most of the time.

            1. krellen says:

              I want to still love Baldur’s Gate – I really do – and what’s wrong with it isn’t BioWare’s fault in any way, but I seriously just can’t stand second edition D&D any more.

              1. Simon Buchan says:

                I’ve never even played D&D ‘properly’, and I *still* want my AC to go *down*, dammit! Do they even have THAC0 in 4th Ed?

                1. krellen says:

                  No. Both third and fourth editions use additive systems for attacking and defence.

                  1. Khizan says:

                    Which is one of the best changes they ever made, imo. It’s so unintuitive to have your armor score go DOWN as it improves.

          2. Avilan says:

            Actually KOTOR came out at a bad time for me (just like Jade Empire): I was too old to get games from parents, and too young to afford to buy games at a whim. I have never played either, because of that.

            1. Daemian Lucifer says:

              Its not too late to start.

              1. Avilan says:

                Of course not, but…

                On my must buy list right now:
                Any and all Sims 3 things
                Diablo 3
                Witcher 2
                The next DLC for FONV

                I am not made of money, nor time.

    2. GiantRaven says:

      Perhaps they’ve gotten sick of making the same game over and over?

      1. Avilan says:

        Besides, I think it takes a certain amount of balls, skill and dedication to change the way they have. To go from the BG / IWD / NWN games (via Jade Empire, I guess) to ME1 and then ME2 makes it neccesary to get out of your comfort zone.

  18. JPH says:

    Bioware fans confuse me. I always figured the strength of Bioware games was the writing and story. Gameplay has never been Bioware’s strong point, ever. And they’re not talking about what they’re doing to the story, just the gameplay.

    The important part of the whole “RPG” thing for Bioware is not in its stat building and all that, it’s in the actual roleplaying. And as long as Mass Effect 3 still gives you dialogue trees and moral quandries, I don’t really care how much they streamline the gameplay.

    I would have been upset about the streamlining in Mass Effect 2, if Mass Effect 1’s gameplay was worth a damn in the first place. But it wasn’t. It was a complete mess. And the RPG elements (meaning the leveling and stats and stuff) were pretty much worthless since the gameplay itself wasn’t good.

    1. Michael says:

      That last part brings to mind something Josh said during the first episode of Spoiler Warning…

      “And this is the part where Shepard sprints across the battlefield at fifty miles an hour.” (feel free to make your own ‘vroom’ and ‘zoom’ sound effects)

  19. koriantor says:

    @JPH The strength of Bioware games usually is the writing and story. That’s why the Bioware fans love Bioware. The problem is that recent Bioware games haven’t quite met that high standard of story quality the fans like (see Mass Effect 2).

    It just so happens that most of the people that love story-rich environments and roleplaying and such tend to be the type that also loves the number crunching (like Shamus or me). It’s also a product of the background of the programmers. The geeks from the 80’s that played D&D now have the capability to make awesome new games. So they make games that they find fun, which makes the similar to D&D. (Bad explanation and simplification, but you get the idea.)

    Hey, I’m ok with streamlining if and only if it makes the game more fun! Mass Effect 2’s streamlined a broken system which definitely needed polish, but I know at least I feel that it was streamlined a little too much. It didn’t feel like strategic combat anymore, it feels like peek-a-boo. With guns. It wasn’t really that exciting for me. Oh and it didn’t help that we kept going down the SAME corridor every 5 minutes.

    …I’m going to stop myself before I go on a Mass Effect 2 rant. Point is, the “RPG elements” are part of what made the game fun. Very few of the stats had an immediate and noticeable difference, but over time there is a very definite difference in how much powerful you are. The combat was broken in ME1 and it took me a lot of getting used to. Once I got used to it the gameplay became really fun and the way I leveled made a difference in my character in the long run. This is a very valid design choice that I prefer over the “ACTION AND EXPLOSIONS AND THINGS BLOWING UP AND EXPLODY THINGS ALL OF THE TIME!” design, at least in RPGs. An RPG is a role-playing game where you have a say in who your character is and how they’d act. The stats don’t specifically characterize shepherd, but the idea of stats is the same idea as defining and roleplaying a character. They’re both ways of determining how your character develops and who they are.

    So I’m with Shamus. I’m very skeptical of ME3 and share his bitterness. I’m already invested in the series so I’ll probably pick it up on a steam sale, unless all of this really IS for the investors and Bioware actually delivers that sweet sweet ending to the series that doesn’t suck (here’s hoping!). Oh, and sorry if it feels like the post jumped all over the place, I’m a bit tired.

    1. Zukhramm says:

      Let me tell you that I absolutely hate number crunching. I love a more complicated system of stats and skills or whatever you chose to call them in your game, but when it comes down to comparing small differences in percentages or adding a chain of probabilities all depending on different situations to find the optimal choice it’s not at all fun for me.

      What makes those kinds of systems enjoyable is not the fact that the numbers are fun in themselves, rather they are a tool needed to make a character mine. Is the character strong or weak, smart or dumb, using healing or a sword? That’s why I dislike the removal of those elements. It makes the character less mine.

    2. JPH says:

      See, I like those sorts of “RPG elements” as well but for very different reasons. I don’t like them because of number-crunching, I like them because they make the game feel very different depending on what you add to, and you can make your character’s abilities fit your style of play. That’s why when things get really complicated I get put off.

      That’s why I very much prefer Deus Ex’s skill point system over that of System Shock 2. It was more simple and straightforward, but it still had a lot of depth, because what you add to will make the game feel very different. And you can make any sort of build you want and still beat the game. For me it isn’t about optimization, it’s about customization.

      That’s why I hate shit like Mass Effect 1 or World of Warcraft or D&D to a degree. They give you a ton of choices for your character’s abilities and stats, but there typically is one path you should choose in order to have the best character and every other hypothetical path is wrong. It makes the game feel like paperwork.

      1. Khizan says:

        Oh, please. Every other hypothetical path is wrong if and only if you are insisting on squeezing out every possible ounce of performance out of the character. And you rarely NEED to do that, you’re doing it because you want to do it.

        In WoW, that only applies if you’re raiding with a serious progression guild. In D&D, this only applies if you’re playing with a powergamer DM who builds campaigns based around optimized characters. And unless you’re playing RPGs on the highest difficulty settings, this probably doesn’t apply to those games, either.

        You can beat BGII as a monk. Sure, monks suck. But you can do it, and its fun, and it’s not THAT much more difficult than beating it as an optimized cavalier with the Holy Avenger. You can beat DAO with a rogue main, even though it’s MUCH less powerful than a Mage.

        Some options are more powerful than other options, but that does not make the less powerful options a wrong way to play.

        1. JPH says:

          It doesn’t make them “wrong,” but it makes them inferior. And in a lot of cases it doesn’t make the gameplay actually feel very different, it just means that the monsters will die a bit faster or you’ll live a bit longer.

          And thanks for being condescending, I appreciate that.

          1. Desgardes says:

            You’re getting hung up on the wrong things. You value the customization, not optimization, but then complain that optimization exists. There are only very very select circumstances to optimize for, and you don’t play those things.

            Just because one “right” way exists, it is completely unnecessary to use it if you don’t want to. Inferior is subjective when the end result is the same, unless you are worried about efficiency, which you can’t be if you don’t like optimizing. It’s even worse to think about it in a game when NO ONE else will ever see your build.

            1. JPH says:

              I’m hung up on it because it doesn’t add depth to gameplay. I believe this is something Extra Credits covered awhile ago. When you give the player the choice between multiple builds but one build is better than the others, that’s a choice in the same way that in Mario you can technically choose to either jump on the goomba or misstep and fall down the pit.

              It’s a glorified and overblown math problem, that’s really all it is. And it may technically be possible to beat the game even if you get the wrong answer, but that doesn’t mean it adds “depth” to gameplay. It just makes things harder for people who don’t want to number-crunch or look up a GameFAQs guide (i.e. people like me).

              Don’t get me wrong, I love me some RPGs. And action RPGs. But only when the RPG elements feel necessary rather than needless. And in Mass Effect 1, they felt very needless.

              1. Khizan says:

                Oh, please. That’s a bunch of crap.

                “Jump on the goomba or misstep and fall down the pit” is a choice between success and a complete failure that makes the game impossible to beat.

                “Play BGII with a sorcerer or play BGII with a monk” means that if you choose a monk your fights might be slightly harder and take slightly longer, but that your main character runs at a million miles an hour and lands 30 punches in 10 seconds instead of standing in the back and casting summon spells.

                1. JPH says:

                  Are you going to keep saying “Oh, please”? ‘Cause it makes you sound very, very pretentious.

                  And I’m not talking about Baldur’s Gate. Like I said, I like me some RPGs. I’m talking about shit like the equipment in Mass Effect, where after every mission you have to shuffle through the pile of armors you looted and pick whichever one is best, then sell all the others. All it is is a time-waster. And there are a lot of games that have shit like that.

                2. Shamus says:

                  JPH was referring to the EC video, and that was an extreme case used to illustrate the point.

            2. Zukhramm says:

              Maybe it’s simply not very enjoyable to play a character that dies way too much or takes much more time to get anything done? Playing something inferior is usually not fun unless it’s some kind of self imposed challange.

              1. JPH says:

                Yes, this. Thank you.

  20. Cody211282 says:

    Sadly this is how its going to go for me.

    “Man DA2 was crap and after what happened to that I don’t want to see what kind of bull they are going to do with ME3. But on the other hand I want to see how the story ends”

    After 1 preorder and horrible game later.

    “Why the hell didn’t I listen to myself again?”

    After a it of time to let it sink in just how bad the game was.

    “Jesus thats the last game I’m getting from these hacks.

    Sadly by that point they will come out and say they are sorry for DA2 and that DA3 will be more like DA:O, and then the circle starts all over again.

  21. Avilan says:

    I, for one, is looking forward to ME3 with great hope and enthusiasm.

  22. cody says:

    I especially hate it when you see somebody say “You can’t criticize this game before it is released! this game looks amazing though” it’s inconceivable to me that these people don’t see the hypocrisy of what they are saying.

  23. AngyPanda says:

    “Now I've played Mass Effect 3. I think it sucked.

    Why did you buy the game? They made it very clear in the promotional materials that this was a shooter, which you hate. If you bought it then that's your own stupid fault.”

    Sometimes this Panda just loves you.

  24. Daemian Lucifer says:

    They can still make a good game out of it,even if they juggle the gameplay completely.It is difficult,but not impossible.Im much more concerned about how theyll handle dialogues,cerberus and reapers.Im not going to play another “Hey shepard,guess what,you will do as we say from now on,even though its completely opposite of how you acted last time”,even if they make the best gameplay ever.

    EDIT:Oh,and grenades.The gameplay will suck without grenades.Thats one of the few things I think 1 has over 2 in terms of gameplay.

  25. Will says:

    You know, thats almost perfect but you’re missing what IOTI (Idiots Of The Internet) will say when you try to say why it sucks:

    I think Mass Effect 3 sucks because-

    You only hate it because its a shooter, and you hate everything new, and you obviously are holding a biased grudge against BioWare.

  26. The Bard says:

    IF your line of thinking ends up being correct, Shamus, I will gladly bow to your foresight in this matter and apologize for doubting.

    But by all that is sacred and holy, if you end up liking Mass Effect 3, even a SMIDGEN, I am going to rake your body across burning hot coals and then dunk it in the ocean and rake it across a squirrel eating a peanut, and then a cactus, and then maybe a 5 mile high cliff adorned in spiked football pads, and then…. and then I’ll have to think of more things to rake your body across.

    Because if you end up liking it, I will laugh at you for eternity. My body will be lain into the cold hard ground of the barren world of the future locked in a laughing position, my finger eternally pointing out your silliness for the eons to come, until the breaking the world.

    That is all. =)

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      Why wait until then?This is the same process as with new vegas.

      1. GTRichey says:

        This is true… most of what was said about New Vegas before release didn’t sound like it fixed what was really wrong with Fallout 3. Fortunately this is because the marketing team knew that just calling it Fallout would sell it to the likes of Shamus even if he ended up hating it, so the shooter crowd was the focus of the marketing.

        This situation doesn’t really seem the same though. It’s the same developer and they’ve already gone a long way down this track with ME2 so the lack of optimism makes sense.

        1. The Bard says:

          I dunno, maybe I’ve just gone off the deep end, but it seems like video game society in general is reaching this point where we’re judging books by the preview blurbs, and we’re reviewing movies once the cast list comes out.

          I remember everyone and their mother proclaiming the Dark Knight would be a hideous train wreck with Heath Ledger in the role, and now his take is the only thing people talk about. I’m sure his death made it somewhat of a unique case, but still.

          Shamus had a laundry list of things he didn’t like in ME2, so from his standpoint, I can *somewhat* understand going into it with a fistful of negativity. But the general sense of… melodrama that goes around the interwebz when Bioware is involved. It’s crazy.

          In general, it’s annoying that I can’t even read about Mass Effect 3 anymore. I loved ME1, I loved ME2 even more, and everytime I try to engage in a community of excitement it’s a bunch of angry people judging the game based on DA2, which wasn’t even made by the same team. It’s disheartening. The only open minded conversation I can even have about the game is with my friends.

          Maybe that’s what annoys me the most. I don’t care that people don’t like the game without playing it; it’s that they keep throwing their same arguments in my face everytime people like me want to engage in some positive excitement.

          1. Dumbledorito says:

            He also followed the script he wrote for the original post with New Vegas, going so far as to post a hypothetical “explosions, durrrrr” send-up of one of the devs. This was after the first trailer was released.

            Except he seemed to end up liking it.

            1. GTRichey says:

              He certainly liked it better than Fallout 3 at least (and they’re past 4 hours in the Spoiler Warning playthrough with very little bile being spewed about the game). That said, based on all of the pre-release material New Vegas looked like it was more or less Fallout 3 with iron sights and didn’t give much to be optimistic about.

              That said I’m personally less optimistic about ME3 since it’s not got the benefit of a different developer than ME2 which seemingly made all the difference for New Vegas.

              1. Dumbledorito says:

                That’s not entirely true. The factions, the customizable ammo, the companion wheel, hardcore mode, the fact it took place back on the West coast like the first two games, etc. were all well-publicized before the game’s release. A lot of players, myself included, were looking forward to the game as being an improvement over F3, and (it turns out) with good reason.

          2. GTRichey says:

            The bile being spewed isn’t baseless. Everything that Bioware/EA are saying make this sound like a corridor shooter. Every screenshot appears to be nothing more than an attempt to out badass the previous one. It’s not a reaction to DA2 in all cases (in fact I quite appreciate DA2 because for all it’s failings it was trying to do something interesting and different). The problem we have is that this series started out an epic space opera and in act 2 decided to chase the money that exists in shooter land. Considering that chasing that money resulted in higher sales you can’t blame them from a business standpoint, but the fact remains that there are a lot of people that would have preferred the space opera that it started out as even with the more cumbersome combat and inventory (and some people are masochistic enough that they prefer it simply because of that). It’s ME2 and every comment/screenshot we’re getting that have me extremely wary of ME3 and have it on my ‘only purchase at a steep discount and only if it proves to be a much better experience than ME2’. That’s not to say ME2 was entirely unenjoyable even, but the main plot was hard to suffer through and the entire experience felt like it wanted to be Gears of War rather than Mass Effect. Just my opinion and I’d love to be wrong, but I’m not hopeful.

            1. The Bard says:

              I guess it’s a matter of taste. Don’t get me wrong, some of the game decisions in ME2 were certainly questionable, but I can’t think of any games I’ve played outside of Portal 1, maybe, where SOME element of the game wasn’t a bad decision in my eyes. For ME2, I wasn’t a fan of the “arcadey” feel of the missions and then being booted back to the Normandy. I much preferred elevator conversations to static loading screens, and I really missed the air lock scan when re-entering the original Normandy.

              But in general, the “space opera” quality was very much still there for me in ME2. And for a lot of other people, given how many GotY awards it won. Which is why the hatred bugs me. A few people don’t like what happened in two, therefore it must unilaterally suck, nevermind whether anyone else could possibly enjoy it.

              This wasn’t like going from the original Star Wars trilogy to the Prequels where everyone in the world above the age of 12 unilaterally agreed that it sucked. ME2 won the awards it did for a reason, and for every person who said it shit the bed, someone else is there to say it ascended into Heaven. I have no problems with people like Shamus lamenting that something changed FOR THEM in ME2 that failed to keep their spark of interest going.

              But there’s a huge logic gap in saying “I don’t like ME2, therefore Bioware sucks, the writing sucks, the gameplay sucks, Bioware is selling out, and ME3 will be an ipso facto piece of shit.”

              I loved ME1, I loved ME2, and any insinuation that the writing and gameplay are shit is an insinuation that I like shit. And, contrary to what my wife always says about my cooking, I don’t like shit. So I just find it irksome/tedious when people try to forcefeed their opinion down everyone else’s throat over and over again when there is some sort of discord in their enjoyment out of it.

              I’m trying to think of a good example where a book, game, or tv series started out promising and then I got turned off by my own personal dislikes, and not because I thought the writing turned to shit. If I think of one, I’ll let you know.

              This kind of thing is just becoming more and more frequent on the internet, and I find it sad.

              1. GTRichey says:

                I think it goes without saying that any comments are the respective commenter’s subjective opinion and not absolute fact.

                I’m not saying that ME2 is irredeemably bad (at least that’s not what I’m intending to say). I wouldn’t even go so far as to say ME2 is a horrible game. For what it is it’s quite good even compared to what a lot of the industry puts out. What I can say objectively is that ME2 was a major departure from ME1 and the writing for the two games is worlds apart and for me (and it would seem many others) this is extremely disappointing and I hate seeing something like this come from a developer that has given us games like Bioware has in the past. ME2 was even enjoyable during companion quests, but the main plot was always lurking in the background (and too often forcing it’s way to the foreground to create a sense of urgency… a good move if it’s well written and executed but makes the PC hate it even more otherwise).

                All that said the first encouraging news about ME3 came out. The fact that they’ve gone with fewer companions is slightly encouraging. Now if this doesn’t mean we get a stronger plot or if they decide to do DLC companions then that all goes right out the window, but for now I’ll be encouraged by the fact that the writing will definitely be more focused (less companions means less writing so hopefully better quality).

                1. The Bard says:

                  They actually released a slew of new info last night. I won’t reiterate in case anybody wants to stay clean, but hot dang if it doesn’t sound exactly like what I wanted to hear.

                  You’ve’ stated your case for disappointment very well, it’s just annoying when you want to get excited for something you really enjoy and those base, louder parts of the community (not you) shit all over it every time you try to get involved.

                  As for the departure from ME1, I guess I expected the tone to shift somewhat in ME2, so I wasn’t caught off guard or surprised by it. I would not be so bold as to assume how you or anyone else perceived the storyline, but for a planned trilogy with one over-arcing story, not three, I expected a tonal shift for the second game. You can’t make Part 2 of a 3 part story look and feel like Part Ia. It needs to go somewhere that feels dangerous for our hero. The “throw rocks at the dude in the tree” bit, if you want to use that storytelling analogy.

                  Compare Lord of the Rings to, say, the Toy Story series. Each Toy Story movie begins, each Toy Story movie ends. Plots are contained, unraveling and wrapping up in one go.

                  But if you just watch The Two Towers without Return of the King, the story makes no sense. They don’t complete the quest. Only when you watch the the third and final film is the story arc completed.

                  I guess what I’m trying to say is that ultimately I reserve judgment until the story is finished. If, as a trilogy, everything comes together and the tonal shifts and flows make sense, then I’m happy, and I won’t even bother reading message boards about it; I’ll be too busy on my 15th playthrough. ;)

                  1. Daemian Lucifer says:

                    I dont mind the tonal shift,but as a second part of the trilogy,it needs to move the overarching story forward.The ending of me2 leaves us at the same place as the ending of me1:The reapers are coming,and the galaxy is unprepared for it,but we have assembled a team that has a chance to find a way to stop them.Heck,even after these two connecting dlcs the story is still in the same place.

                    Compare that with assassins creed:
                    End of 1,you escape and find out that the memories are seeping in even outside the animus.End of 2,you find out that a far bigger threat is looming,and that pieces of eden are alien artifacts,and that memories are seeping in more and more,which is both a blessing and a curse.Heck,even the brotherhood,which is 2.5 moves the story forward,when it didnt have to.

                    1. The Bard says:

                      I think it depends on the kind of story you’re trying to tell. Having major machinations moving forward at the end of each chapter is one way to tell a story, but there are others.

                      Consider the Lord of the Rings. Books or films… The Two Towers leaves the big picture much the same as Fellowship did; Sam & Frodo (just Sam in the book) have the Ring, Sauron & Saruman are still trying to find them.

                      Yes, there are the battles being fought and armies on the move, but all of that is happening in ME2, as well.

                      A few ME1 & 2 spoilers below, ye who nay have played be warned…

                      After being cockblocked in ME1, the Reapers make their second move to try and reopen the gateway to Dark Space via the Collectors and construction of a new (and yes, very silly) Reaper, where Shepard momentarily succeeds and then ultimately fails his cockblocking check. Whether that’s enough of a push forward ultimately comes down to personal preference.

                      As for the DLC… dude blows up a whole galaxy to hold them off. Granted, we don’t know the ultimate fallout, but sacrificing an entire galaxy is huge, man.

                      Anywhoos, I enjoy it; it’s like a chess match. ME1: Advantage Meatbags. ME2: Advantage Reapers. ME3: Hopefully the options for both meatbags & reapers to get the checkmate are there. I’d love to have a “fail” game like in ME2 and have the whole galaxy go up in flames. HAHAHAHAH!

                      On a random sidenote, I like what Bioware *tried* to do in DAII, by not having a “world is about to end” narrative. I don’t think it was executed nearly as tightly as it needed to be to engage the player, but I hope we can get some more personal storylines in fantasy & sci-fi games down the road. Imagine a Rockstar narrative told in a fantasy setting. It could be a lot of fun. I hate that most sci-fi/fantasy games ALWAYS have the “end of the world” storyline. It would be nice to change up once in a while.

                    2. Daemian Lucifer says:

                      In two towers one of the threats(saruman)was dealt with,so the story does go forward.Plus,the addition of gollum to the frodo party,and his character story arc get almost resolved,setting up his actions for 3.

                      He blew up a star system,not the galaxy.Sure,its a big thing.But its part of a dlc,so not the ending of the core game.Arrival is like brotherhood of assassins creed,only in a much more compact format.Yes,it does move the story,but you cant count it as an integral part of the second game.Heck,the worst thing about that dlc is that it does much more to the overall story in about an hour,than the whole game in its 40(?) hours.

                      And lets use lord of the rings here:Saruman was established in 1,dealt with in 2(and killed in 3).Collectors were established in 2,and completely dealt with in 2.They had no impact in 1,and probably wont get more than a side mention in 3.They are meaningless,story wise.If this was a self contained story,they wouldve worked.But its not,so they fail.If their base yielded something to be used against the reapers,now that wouldve make the game more meaningful.

                      Planescape:torrment is a narrative about a man fighting against death.There was no faith of the world involved there(unless you consider the entropy golem,but thats just a passing mention)

  27. Mr. 35 says:

    Honestly…I occasionally wonder if RPG fans aren’t the problem in this equation sometimes.

    Look at us. We are one of the most difficult demographics for a video game developer to please. RPGs encompass a massive variety of games stretching from stat-focused games (ex. Diablo) to skill-based games with an advancement system (ex. Jade Empire) to sandbox games where you can pick your own strengths (ex. Morrowind). This alone is a problem, meaning that RPG fans all have their own ideas on what makes an RPG.

    Not only that, but we demand more. More fluff, in a well-thought-out setting that makes sense yet is fresh and new, in characters as deep and thematic and real as can be simulated, in the ability to ascribe whatever motives and actions we want to our character. More crunch, in an easy-to-navigate-yet-complex variety of items to play with, in the need to make hard choices about what we want to do as we advance, in having the gameplay be challenging but not overwhelming – which is rather more difficult when the outcome is based more on stats than skills.

    And not only that, but RPGs inspire ‘loyalty’ like no other genre. There are people out there who still seethe that newer RPGs aren’t enough like Fallout and Baldur’s Gate – meanwhile, shooter fans have long forgotten the original Doom and Quake. So that inspires criticism as well. Every possible hint that a franchise or game might move away from whatever unattainable ideal the gamer has in mind when they think ‘RPG’ is reviled – remember when EA put out that ‘Sex and Violence’ trailer for Origins? Or No Mutants Allowed insisting that Fallout 3 was ‘not a Fallout game’? Or the freshly-buried calls for David Gaider to be fired over the romance options in Dragon Age 2?

    With all this, considered, then: is it really any wonder that more developers and investors don’t put much faith in RPGs?

    1. krellen says:

      But Fallout 3 isn’t a Fallout game.

      1. JPH says:

        Please leave the room so the grown-ups can talk…

        1. Irridium says:

          Fallout 3 is about as Fallout as the new X-Com game is X-Com.

          1. JPH says:

            Bethesda bought the rights to Fallout and put Fallout in the name of their game; therefore it’s a Fallout game. Whether you like it or not, this is fact.

            1. acronix says:

              If I buy all dogs in the world and call them pidgeons, are they pidgeons?

              Joke aside, I`m quite sure we mean “it`s not a Fallout game” in the sense that it´s not “true” to the spirit of the original ones…no matter how you label it.

              1. JPH says:

                If that’s what you mean, then say “it’s not true to the spirit of the original ones,” not “it’s not a Fallout game.” Because the latter statement is false.

                1. Khizan says:

                  “Oh, please.” ;)

                  You’re just nitpicking over a technicality of wording here when it’s quite obvious that what he meant was something like “Fallout 3 lacks the essential qualities that made Fallout 1 and 2 into the great games that they are, and as it is not true to the spirit or story of Fallout it is not a worthy heir to the title.”

                  Which is nothing but the truth.

                  1. JPH says:

                    I think it’s very fitting that your portrait is wearing a monocle.

                    This would have come with a counter-point but you’re absolutely right, so meh.

                    “Oh, please” yourself!

                2. acronix says:

                  It depends. What if I, Bethesda, bought the rights of the Tetris name and brand somehow, and, immediately afte,r they made a cover-based shooter called “Tetris 3”? Would it be tetris?

                  The real problem here is that Tetris is relationed by most to a certain thing, or set of things: a game in which blocks with various shapes drop in the screen and you have to find out a way to fill it without them reaching the top (or whatever). This happens with everything else, too: if I say “car”, I`m thinking of a car, not a motorcycle. If I say “dog”, I think of a dog, not a pidgeon. If I say “Pepsi” I think of Pepsi, not of Sprite. Basically, when we mention a thing, we think of that thing, not of other things.

                  Fallout is a thing (as everything else we mentioned), so there´s no reason to believe we would think of it any other way of it. So, when we say “Fallout” we think of a thing that has certain properties. Fallout 3 is missing a lot of those properties (or maybe all of them). What follows is that it is not Fallout.

                  EDIT: I don`t know why the heck I wrote the first line in such a horrible way. Corrected.

                  1. Jarenth says:

                    I would buy Tetris 3: Cover-Bases Shooter Edition.

                  2. El Quia says:

                    Since the first time I watched this video, I can’t hear, read or felt any kind of reference to Tetris without thinking of this video:

                    1. krellen says:

                      That’s a new version of that. I don’t remember the last couple minutes.

            2. Daemian Lucifer says:

              That is not the fact.With enough money,I could buy all of the van goghs paintings,change my name to vincent van gogh,then draw something on the canvas and say its a new van gogh,but that crap would never be a van gogh.

              The point is,brand is not just a vacuous name.It has certain attributes that go with it,and you cant change those attributes too much if you want to keep yourself true to the brand,so to speak.People will call you on it,so any major change has to come gradually.

              Yes,you can buy a brands name,but you cant buy a brand.You need to make it.And if the brand you made was vastly different from the brand you bought the name of,youll just end up with a new brand bearing the same name,which is the case here.

              Fallout brand is associated with dark humour,huge and vibrant map to explore,and plethora of choices.And its these things that are missing from fallout 3.(The irony is that bethesda was also known for making games that are huge and can be played in a multitude of ways.)Which is why fallout 3 is not a fallout game,but a fallout 3 game.

              1. JPH says:

                Okay, your Van Gogh analogy makes no sense and doesn’t fit. Van Gogh isn’t a franchise. It’s the name of a person.

                1. Daemian Lucifer says:

                  Its also the name of his works,so yes it does work as an analogy for brands.And I was talking about brands,not franchises.

                  1. JPH says:

                    A Van Gogh painting is not defined by whoever owns the brand; it’s defined by who painted it, i.e. if it wasn’t painted by Van Gogh, it’s not a Van Gogh painting.

                    And I wasn’t talking about brands in the first place. I was talking about franchises. So why are you talking about brands?

                    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

                      “A Van Gogh painting is not defined by whoever owns the brand; it's defined by who painted it, i.e. if it wasn't painted by Van Gogh, it's not a Van Gogh painting.”

                      Exactly my point.

                      And Ive diverted the talk to brands because fallout franchise and fallout brand are not the same thing.Bethesda bought the franchise,but they didnt buy the brand.Hence fallout 3 is not the same brand as fallout 1 and 2.

                    2. JPH says:

                      If Krellen said that Fallout 3 is not a Black Isle game, then he would be right. But he didn’t say that. He said Fallout 3 is not a Fallout game. That’s why he’s wrong.

                    3. acronix says:

                      Now we need to define what defines the thing: the franchise or the brand? Maybe both? And if both are needed to define a thing, when you change one of them you are already changing the definition of the thing. So, if something has the same franchise and the same brand, it`s a thing similar to the other things that have the same brand and franchise. This would mean that Fallout 3 isn`t a Fallout game simply by the fact it isn`t in the same brand. Same franchise, sure, but not same brand.

                      However, if you take only one of them (brand or franchise) to define the thing, then you and Krellen are both right: you are right in that it is a Fallout game in the (franchise level), but he`s right it`s not a Fallout game (in the brand level).

                      This was a simple problem of terminology use.

        2. krellen says:

          I’m sorry, I wasn’t aware that only children were allowed to be pithy and that the hallmark of an adult was verbosity.

          In the years I’ve been posting comments on Shamus’s blog, I have made my well-reasoned arguments for why Bethesda failed to uphold the Fallout legacy many times. I don’t feel the need to repeat myself every time someone new comes along. It would probably bore Shamus if I did.

          Buying a name and slapping the label and trappings of that name on your game do not make it worthy of the name. I don’t even afford George Lucas the right to call his latest three movies “Star Wars”, why would I afford some third party the right to call whatever they wish to make “Fallout”?

          1. JPH says:

            I didn’t call you childish because you were being pithy, I called you childish because what you said was wrong, and the fact that you’re still saying it after all this time shows how closed-minded you are.

            It’s not about worthiness; it’s about fact. It’s part of the Fallout franchise, whether you choose to admit that or not.

            I hate the prequel trilogy as much as the next guy, but it’s part of the Star Wars franchise, for better or for worse. Nothing can be done about that.

            1. Shamus says:

              Counter-point: Everyone else is able to understand what he’s getting at. I’ve seen him say that many times, and I was never confused or thought he was suggesting it was a licensing problem.

              1. JPH says:

                I guess I was taking it a bit literally.

                I get kind of defensive for Fallout 3 even though I didn’t like it that much, especially when the hate comes from people who consider Fallout 1 to be the holy grail of RPGs or whatever. I got the original Fallout recently and I’ve honestly been trying to like it, but it has yet to hook me. It feels really tedious so far. So I’m not seeing where this whole “THIS IS AN INSULT TO THE FRANCHISE!” thing comes from.

                1. GTRichey says:

                  Much of the reason you don’t see it the way krellen and many others do is that you’re going back and trying to play Fallout 1 now which is very difficult when you’re used to games now. Fallout 3 forgoes having even a vague sense of any real choice to the story or gameplay and the writing was some of the worst stuff I’ve seen in anything that should be a story focused game. Bethesda created a nice sanbox that you could have a lot of fun in, shoehorned in a mediocre at best/awful at worst story and called it Fallout because “Look power armour, brotherhood of steel, vaults, enclave, supermutants”. Much of this made very little sense to even be in DC and was given no explanation whatsoever. Fallout 3 is a fun game but it’s a lot more enjoyable when you ignore the fact that it’s trying to pass itself off as a sequel to Fallout 1 and 2. I would have a lot more appreciation for Fallout 3 personally if it was branded differently. There’s no reason that Fallout should have a monopoly on post-apoc games and Bethesda would’ve done well to realise that this isn’t what they really wanted to make and taken it in a different direction entirely.

                  1. JPH says:

                    Actually it was probably a good idea for Bethesda overall, because it doesn’t really matter if the old-school Fallout fans hated it after they bought it. They still bought it. It’s all about brand recognition.

                    And I know, I know, Fallout 3’s story is awful, blah, blah. I’ve read reviews and forum threads, I’ve watched season 2 of Spoiler Warning, and I’ve played the game myself. I know. But the gameplay in Fallout has yet to interest me in the slightest.

                    CRPG fans would attribute that to me being a drooling imbecile who doesn’t want to think when he’s playing games, but I don’t buy that. I play plenty of games that require you to think and some that are based entirely around mind games. I’m fine with a brain teaser now and then. But I also want the combat to be interesting, and the combat in FO1 is on par with what I’d expect from a flash game.

                    1. GTRichey says:

                      I don’t think we disagree all that much really. The difference is what we’re willing to put up with. For me the gameplay of the first two Fallouts wasn’t offputting enough to make me dislike them while the story/writing of Fallout 3 was. It sounds like you’re in the opposite camp. Thankfully we now have New Vegas which while not perfect does seem to have a nice balance of story/writing/freedom and approachable gameplay.

                    2. Daemian Lucifer says:

                      Yeah,original fallouts were pretty hard to start.I myself had to go through 6 or 7 starts before fallout 1 engaged me enough.But once it did,all of its splendors revealed itself.The idiot playthrough,the lucky alien finder,the fast plasma spewer,…Heck,fallout 1 is the reason I started playing shadowrun.I hated cyberpunk before that game.But,I still admit,it takes quite a while before you get sucked in,because of its weird gameplay and merciless learning curve.

                    3. krellen says:

                      I got into Fallout 1 pretty easily, but I’m old and have been playing video games longer than the people in what is generally considered the “ideal” demographic (18-24) have been alive, so I’m used to different systems and conventions in my video games.

                2. Irridium says:

                  For the record, I find the gameplay in Fallout 1/2 to be completely and utterly awful. Yes it was good at the time, but it was really hard for me to push through Fallout 1. I was basically doing it just for the story(and it is one hell of a story).

                  Fallout 3 was a massive step-up in terms of gameplay. But thats about it. And even then it was still iffy. Mainly because you had to rely on VATS for almost every fight. Or at least I had to…

                  Then New Vegas came along and picked up the story, and tweaked Fallout 3’s gameplay which made it better. I no longer had to rely on VATS, and in fact very rarely used it. And it made 3rd person a viable gameplay choice.

                  But sadly it seems that where one area improves, another falters. For New Vegas that would be its interior level design. Which is some of the worst I’ve ever seen. I think all the designers were drunk while building them.

                  1. GTRichey says:

                    I’m going to go out on a limb (that will probably be burnt along with the rest of the tree) and say that DA2’s blatant recycling of areas was less frustrating than New Vegas’ level design. Both are horrible but if given a choice I’d rather go through a few well designed levels repeatedly rather than get infuriatingly lost in countless poorly designed levels.

                  2. Lord of Rapture says:

                    What’s wrong with the interior level design? Other than a few navigation gaffs in the plant Vault, I never noticed anything wrong with the building design.

            2. Shamus says:

              Gah! I just read your Brink article and you totally ninja’ed my rant on female characters!

              *shakes fist*

              1. acronix says:

                “Ninja`ed” is so last year. The new thing is “samurai`ed”!

                …yeah, I know it won`t catch on, but I had to try.

                1. JPH says:

                  But ninjas are cooler! And it’s doubly fitting since my blog is the “Ninja Game Den.”

                  Samurai’d does sound more like a real word than ninja’d though, or maybe that’s just me.

              2. Khizan says:

                Do you have a link to this article?

                1. krellen says:

                  Click on JPH’s name.

              3. Irridium says:

                According to Bethesda, Brink has about 102 quadrillion variations if you include everything.


                And I remember reading an article saying that Splash Damage didn’t create females because then it would have to halve all the clothes and stuff thats available.

                After seeing the numbers, I don’t think anyone would give 2 craps if you went from 102 quadrillion to 51 quadrillion.

                1. acronix says:

                  Let`s take into account that the number is ridicolously high because a lot of those variations are going to be on tiny details, but the general aspect will be the same between a lot of them.

                  Think if someone took batman and changed his bat-chest-icon with another icon thirty thousand times and called all of them a variation.

                  Still, 102 quadrillon? Holy Geck!

              4. JPH says:

                Whoa, I got a lot of views today coming from this page.

                You should, like, mention me more often and stuff!

            3. krellen says:

              If you refuse to accept colloquial communication, you’re not going to get very far in this world.

              1. JPH says:

                Yeah, yeah.

                I feel the need to point out that I know I was just enforcing a technicality, lest anybody think I’m stupid. I know what you meant. I just tend to get OCD-ish about technicalities like that.

                Sorry about the name-calling!

                1. krellen says:

                  You’re forgiven. If you’re gonna call me names, I prefer “nerd” or “grognard”.

          2. Mr. 35 says:

            Yikes. See, this is what I’m talking about. If Bethesda, or any company, can place within a preexisting setting a game which disappoints people – and those people thereafter insist repeatedly that it must be reviled, that it objectively should never be referred to as being related to those other entries – why would anyone try again to sate those same people?

            I liked Fallout 3. I also liked Dragon Age 2, KOTOR 2, and Neverwinter Nights 2. And on the other side of the fence, I enjoyed Origins, Morrowind, my Infinity Engine games, and so on. I don’t really care which way the genre goes, but if you do, this is not the way to ensure the result you want.

            (Postscript: I’m not ‘new’. There’s just usually no reason for me to post. And the above post was verbose largely to include the examples, without which it would just be another hyperbolic claim – though in retrospect I should have kept the Fallout 3 one out.)

            1. JPH says:

              I definitely agree.

              When we yell at these developers because of the game they made, they’re more likely to get the impression that they’re better off with a different target audience than anything else.

            2. krellen says:

              Really? New Vegas feels an awful lot like they paid attention to exactly these complaints.

              1. JPH says:

                Yeah, and they got a whole new batch of complaints because their game was a buggy mess.

                1. acronix says:

                  The buggy mess they got is unrelated to hearing the complaints they got of Fallout 3. It`s related to Obsidian being Obsidian.

                  1. Khizan says:

                    This. It’s not like putting the storyline on rails and and replacing “gray areas” with the FO3 choices of “Mustachio twirling evil and Lawful Good Paladin” would have magically made the game less buggy.

                    1. JPH says:

                      I never said it would, nor did I imply anything like that.

                      The point is that RPG fans are impossible to please. They complained about ME 1 and 2, DA 1 and 2, FO3 and NV, the list goes on.

                      Incidentally: I’m surprised this post didn’t come with any “Oh, please”

                    2. krellen says:

                      I never complained about ME1, DA1, or NV (hell, I broke my long-standing Steam boycott specifically to support NV.) Are you sure the people complaining about all those games are the same people?

                    3. JPH says:

                      It’s not like the devs can tell who specifically is complaining. All they know is that it’s always the RPG fans who are complaining. So why try to appeal to the people who will never accept anything you make, when you can appeal to the bigger and more accepting market?

                    4. krellen says:

                      So I should stop complaining about what I don’t like and praising what I do like because you think developers are stupid and cannot tell Group A from Group B?

                      Hey Shamus, you used to be a game developer; can you tell me from Avilan?

                    5. Shamus says:

                      If I squint reeeeally hard, I might be able to spot a difference or two. :)

                    6. Daemian Lucifer says:


                      So what,no one else complains?There were no “give better weapons to master chief”,”give us vehicles”,etc from halo fans?There were no “levels are too hard” from mario fans?No “more variety between races” from warcraft fans?Yet somehow,its just the rpg fans that are complaining?

                      Also,hard to please?Oh please(heh,its catchy,Im sorry).Not true.There are always lots of fans with very specific complaints that can be implemented,and if implemented actually improve the game(the variety of races complaint for warcraft above gave us starcraft,and it was good).Sure,there are always few irrational ones,but not all the complaints are like that.Some of it is actually constructive criticism.

                    7. acronix says:

                      I`d say that any fan is hard to please. The issue is that the FPS crowd is larger and has the same basic principles about what they like: run around shooting stuff. The RPG crowd has different tastes: some will prefer number-crunching, others story, others characterization, others customization, others dialogue, turn based combat…

                      You can make a good shooter with good gameplay mechanics, because in essence that`s all there is for a shooter: gameplay mechanics. If you screw up the gameplay mechanic your FPS will be horrible, no matter how shinny your graphics are.*
                      But you can`t apply that to an RPG because this unpleaseable crowd will want not only good mechanics, but also a good story, good dialogue, which means that if you screw up ANY of those things a portion of your playerbase will complain.

                      *Let it be noted that if you screw up graphics on the FPS crowd you will also be most probably crucified, unless your shooting mechanics are marvelous.

                    8. Daemian Lucifer says:


                      You can make a good rpg out of just mechanics.Diablo is like that.True,its an action rpg,but it still is an rpg.Yes there is a story,but really,lord of hell is loose,get in the dungeoun and capture him is not an epic tale.

                      Id say shooters are just as divided:Some people like cover based,some like the frantic plain fps(like doom,quake,unreal,painkiller,serious sam,…),some like 3rd person ones,some like realistic ones,…Yes,you dont need a good story for a good shooter,but that doesnt make them all the same,nor easier to make.Good gameplay is just as tough to make as a good story,as are varied and interesting weapons,smart enemies,balanced maps,…

                    9. JPH says:

                      @krellen: No, go ahead and keep complaining. I’d say it has less to do with the fact that RPG fans complain (constructive criticism is a force for good, I’ll agree with that) but it’s the ferocity that the fans show, especially with Fallout 3. I’ve seen a lot of people on the internet who are willing to dismiss you as an idiot if you admit that you enjoyed Fallout 3, even slightly.

                      Oh, and what I meant was not that devs can’t tell the difference, it’s that they don’t care. It’s not like a developer from Bioware is going to think “Oh no! Krellen didn’t like Mass Effect 2!” No, he’s going to think “Oh no! The fans didn’t like Mass Effect 2!” Although I suppose they’re probably not thinking that, since that game won GOTY from like 50 different places.

                      @Daemian: Yeah, people complain about all genres, but like I said to krellen, you don’t get the same animosity from shooter fans that you’ll get from RPG fans. You don’t see people saying “Modern Warfare 2 was an INSULT to the Call of Duty series!”

                      …Actually I have seen people say that. Shit.

                      Also, I’m gonna make a new rule now: Anybody who says “Oh, please” in response to someone else is a snob.

                    10. Daemian Lucifer says:

                      Oh please,Im not a snob.This is a snob.

                      Also,some developers do care.Valve cares.

                      As for the call of duty series,that one became an insult with its first sequel./half joking

                    11. JPH says:

                      So there can only be one snob in the world? That’s good news for us, I guess.

                    12. Daemian Lucifer says:

                      Its so hard not to make a “there can be only one” joke here…But the posts bellow are so tempting….Argh!!!

                    13. JPH says:

                      Oh my goodness, how did I not think of that as I typed it…

                    14. Avilan says:

                      Good to know that Shamus can tell us apart, if he REALLY tries.

                      After all, we are both nuts. :P

                      Anyway I think this is a good point; the RPG audience seems more prone to rabid complaints from every side of the fence at any time.

                      We want: Less micromanaging, more micromanaging, more story, more action, less puzzles, more puzzles, more morally difficult choices, a more black and white story, an original world, a world where you feel at home, pure skill-based combat, combat based on the player skill, an open world, a world where your choices matter immediately, fast loading times, no cutscenes, more cutscenes, voice acting, no voice acting, more mini games, less mini games, gay romances, no gay romances, no romances AT ALL, all characters available for romance, isometric, full 3D, turn-based, real-time, more changes from the last game in the same series, NO changes from the last game in the same series…

                      …And we want it NOW and btw you, as a developer, SUCKS because you haven’t implemented it exactly the way we want it. Yesterday.

                    15. Zukhramm says:

                      I don’t think this is unique to RPG fans, I’ve seen a lot of similar complaints about modern shooters and I’d assume it goes for other genres too.

                      In the end, maybe it’s just an effect of the expansive “AAA” game. If the game needs to sell so many copies, there’s no way we can expect it to cater to much more individual tastes.

                    16. Avilan says:

                      Well games are big business now. Just like movies; you can have small indie films and games, and you can have blockbusters. You really can’t have both because if you are pumping in a ton of money, you NEED to cater to the largest possible audience or you will lose money, or at least not make a large enough profit to make it worth it. It’s really just simple math.

                    17. acronix says:

                      I`d argue the RPG crowd complains “more” because RPGs have more mechanics or stuff than other genres (see Avilan`s list above) and, hence, more stuff to complaina bout. Though I`m not sure it`s that much.

                  2. Avilan says:

                    (I seem to have been responding to the wrong post, Oh well)

                    It’s more a matter of a franchise having fans from all sides of the genre, and as soon as the boat is rocked, or appear to be rocked, one side will always explode.

                    See Bioware’s official forums.

                    Of course there are degrees in hell; I recall several people on No Mutants Allowed who not only don’t consider FO3 a Fallout game, but refuse the notion that an RPG can be real time at all. To them, an RPG can ONLY be turn based isometric 2D. Period.

                    This of course means that the last RPG Bioware made was a LONG time ago, since not even NWN is an RPG…

      2. acronix says:

        Of course it is! It has Nuka-Cola and vaults! What do you mean it´s not Fallout?

      3. ehlijen says:

        Neither was Fallout Tactics nor that beat’em’up one (BOS?). And some even argue that Fallout 2’s change in tone was enough to disqualify it from being as good as the original.

        I know where I stand on the issue (somewhere near you I think), but that’s not the point.

        The point is that for every fallout game, there is at least a group of fans to denounce its fallout status. Yes, even the first one (some say the time limit stopped them from truly exploring it like that could in FO2).

        1. krellen says:

          Yeah, and there are people that say Highlander 2 was a true Highlander movie, too. I love the movie (it’s campy and fun, which is what I like in movies), but I don’t think it’s truly part of the Highlander series.

          1. Daemian Lucifer says:

            What are you talking about?There was only one highlander made ever.You are hallucinating man!

            1. krellen says:

              Oh, I know. But did you know that someone once made a movie about sword-wielding space aliens that were remarkably hard to kill and called it “Highlander 2” from some strange reason? I think it starred two of the actors from Highlander, but I don’t think that’s enough reason to call your movie a sequel.

              Good flick, though.

              1. Daemian Lucifer says:

                Lalala!Cant hear you lalala!

                Also,obligatory C&A comic.

    2. Cody211282 says:

      I wouldn’t say we are hard to please, I loved DA:O but absolutely hate DA2, it’s not that I’m hard to please it’s that I just don’t like it when a dev takes what makes a game great, removes 90% of it and try to “streamline” it so people who don’t want RPGs will play it. It’s not a problem with gamers, it’s a problem with company’s trying to pull in new gamers by isolating their fanbase.

      1. Mr. 35 says:

        Origins is a case in point, honestly. Around its promotional campaign and release, some of the minor controversies people complained about were:

        – Advertising in Maxim
        – Marilyn Manson Music, Morrigan sex scene, and large amount of blood in the trailer
        – Having three stereotypical races and classes
        – The six origins being too straitjacketing or too generic

        Again and again, people tore into the game, declaring the downfall of Bioware as an RPG developer and the end of the RPG as a genre. And now, in the present day, I hear:

        “Man, Origins was a masterpiece! Why did they screw everything up in Dragon Age 2?”

        I’m not saying that the loud protests of popular opinion are indicative of everyone who plays RPGs. But I do think they are taken seriously to some degree by the people who fund these games’ development, and drawing in different customers is a natural response to these complaints.

        1. Cody211282 says:

          I can see were you are coming from but what they did with DA2, and from what I can see want to do even more with ME3 is that they decided to remove large amounts of RPG elements from their RPG. Hell the 2 biggest problems in DA2 is your choices really don’t effect anything and your companions only talk to you around 6 times in the entire game and that made the relationships feel wooden and shallow, and the sad thing is I really wanted to know more about my teammates but for some reason the game kept going “talking to teammates and people in town is for people who like thinking, go press the awesome button some more”. Plus the fact that the combat is absolute crap is just the snot frosting on the already turd cake.

          The only reason I hate it so much is that it had all the elements to a friken amazing game from the start, but instead of building on what they had and making it better they decided that 18 months was enough time completely gut the game and make Jade Empire 2: The Kirkwall Experiment(Nothing against Jade Empire, I really liked that game, but this feels more like a rushed out Jade Empire 2 then a sequel to Dragon Age).

          1. Zukhramm says:

            your companions only talk to you around 6 times in the entire game

            Like in Mass Effect 2?

            “Hi Garrus!”
            “Sorry, I’m in the middle of some calibrations.”

            “I’m in the middle of some calibrations.”


            “Still calibrating?”

            If you don’t like me Garrus, just tell me instead.

            At least in Dragon Age 2 they talk while we’re out in the world more. That’s more important to me.

            1. Cody211282 says:

              Miranda, Mordan, Tali, and Jack would normally have something to say to you after every mission(if you paced yourself right) but yea Garruis sucked conversation wise(and he should have considering he was in the first game and would have had more to talk to you about). Going from DA:O to DA2 the companions conversations are a real let down and since I think one of the major strengths to bioware games is talking wit your teammates I find it a huge let down.

              1. Zukhramm says:

                What I mean is that a character having a “quest” for speaking to them and no way to do it otherwise is to me pretty much the same as characters having a default tree with nothing new most of the time. My point is, it’s not really the mechanics for it that are bad in Dragon Age 2 but the frequency.

                1. Cody211282 says:

                  I agree, the limited amount of one on one time with your teammates really hurt the overall experience.

          2. Khizan says:

            I preferred the party interaction in DA2, honestly.

            In DAO, you went around and talked to them. If you followed all the speech options, they infodumped a ton of backstory on you and your responses dictated how much they like you. If you answered wrong, you have to give them beef bones until they like you again. Once they like you enough, they infodump on you some more and let you do their quest. If they dislike you, you never get to do the quest. Once you exhausted their conversations, that was it.

            There’s less dialogue in DA2, but the relationships actually feel more real to me. The walking around dialogue is much better, and I love how the party members snipe at each other and tease each other. Aveline and Isabela have some of the best interactions like this, as you watch them go from outright hostility to a sort of friendly rivalry. Varric teasing “Daisy”, Fenris and his disdain for Mages, etc.

            You get enough information about the characters as their questlines progress and as they chip in on other quests, and it’s not delivered in a massive dialogue bomb.

            1. acronix says:

              I agree with this. The party interaction was well done and the “rivalry/friendship” meter was a big step in the right direction.
              However, I missed the option to have a chat with them anytime I wanted.

        2. Irridium says:

          That same exact thing happened when Fable 2 came out.

          When Fable 1 came out, all I heard was hate. Hate for how simple it was, for how stupid it was, how glitchy it was, how it didn’t deliver what was promised… just everything about this game was hated on.

          And then comes Fable 2, and all of a sudden Fable 1 was “an underrated and mis-understood classic”. Even though Fable 2 improved on every aspect of the first game with the exception of the story.

          1. JPH says:

            Incidentally, I thought Fable 1 was decent when I played it. Fable 2 I despised in every way.

            However, I don’t think that Fable 1 was genuinely a better game. I just didn’t really have standards back when I played the first one.

            1. Irridium says:

              I’m one of the 5 people who actually likes the Fable games. So this whole thing just annoys the hell out of me.

              Seeing people hate the first, then the second comes out they praise the first…

              Its just annoying.

              1. JPH says:

                You’re definitely not alone. In the several months it took for Yahtzee to review Fable 3 he was apparently harassed constantly by fans who demanded that he review it.

                1. Daemian Lucifer says:

                  I dont think he was harassed by fans as much as by people who were eagerly expecting him to sink the game into the ground.

                  1. JPH says:

                    I remember Yahtzee saying on his Twitter that it was specifically the fans who were bitching at him. I know some people wanted him to tear it apart, but I think there were a lot of denial-ridden fans pushing him to do it as well.

                    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

                      Yeah,I never really bought his “fans bug me because they think Ill love this one” shtick.You have to be really new to his show not to know better.But hey,I may be wrong and he is genuine with it.

                    2. JPH says:

                      I dunno, dude. Fans can be very naive.

  28. Ugh, this is going to sound harsh so I will present in the following manner.

    To me personally, this comes off as whining. This is you whining Shamus. If it is not, you would have to explain to me how it is not, cause I personally can’t see how it can be otherwise.

    1. Shamus says:

      Maybe you should explain to me how it’s whining. The publishers talk about making changes to a game. I point out why these changes make it LESS like a game I want to play. How should I phase this appraisal? Am I not allowed to talk about upcoming things? Am I not allowed to analyze trends? Because, that’s pretty much my thing.

      1. “The publishers talk about making changes to a game. I point out why these changes make it LESS like a game I want to play.”

        Okay well…that’s what whining is. It’s not particularly constructive or informative. So far as I can see, it accomplishes nothing beyond letting us know you don’t like what they’re doing not because you think it’ll make a bad game, it’ll just make a game you don’t like.

        Though I suppose I should take this time to ask – once again – what RPG elements are being removed from the ME series? I asked this before and the response referenced mechanics of the genre that had NO impact on the ROLE PLAYING aspects of the game. They were simply mechanics that were tied to the genre. In other words, they were angry not because the actual gameplay was lessened, just the mechanics they were used to were being altered…and that’s is fanboy bitching of the highest order and I have NOTHING but contempt for it. So in case the person who responded to my initial inquiry was incorrect, I will ask once more.

        What RPG elements are being removed from the ME series?

        1. krellen says:

          Just because you dismiss the features that have long been associated with the “RPG” tag as not being “roleplaying” doesn’t make you correct in that assessment.

          The more responsible the player’s ability to play the game is for their success, the less an “RPG” it is.

          1. ehlijen says:

            Careful, taken absolutely that statement could mean that movies (possibly with one unimportant QTE to qualify as a ‘game’) are the ultimate form of RPG.

            I like the trend of newer RPGs to actually ask for player skill and interaction (oblivion’s sword swinging, ME’s shooting…). The old games where combat would consist of ‘queue up super attacks and wait till over’ was pretty boring looking back at it now.

            I think Deus Ex and VtM:BL hit the sweet spot zone in terms of player skill vs character skill and are both very much RPGs, though both had to contend with other problems of course.

            1. JPH says:

              “Careful, taken absolutely that statement could mean that movies (possibly with one unimportant QTE to qualify as a “˜game') are the ultimate form of RPG.”

              Hey, maybe that’s why Final Fantasy 13 is the way it is…

          2. JPH says:

            I… don’t think that’s a good way to define how much of an RPG a game is.

            I mean, going by that logic, wouldn’t that make point & click adventures RPGs?

            1. krellen says:

              No. The player’s ability to find the right items to point and click is the entire gameplay, and the character’s ability has nothing whatsoever to do with it. Who the protagonist is doesn’t matter (as demonstrated by the wide array of different protagonists in such games.)

              1. JPH says:

                Oh, I see what you mean. I thought you meant the more skill it requires, the less of an RPG it is.

                Still though, I think that defining sentence of yours is screwy, and I don’t think it accounts for RPGs as a whole. I’ll have to think more on that to come up with a counterexample though.

          3. Daemian Lucifer says:

            But in that case d&d(any edition)is not an rpg since you can min/max the crap out of a character and thus beat everything the gm throws at you,including his fists in the real world.Especially if you memorize all the monsters,skills,and obscure rules.And while I do consider it to be a bad system(its good for introduction,nothing more),I still think of it as an rpg system.

            1. krellen says:

              That’s the character’s abilities, not the player’s.

              1. Daemian Lucifer says:

                Min/maxing is all about the players ability to abuse the system.That sort of number crunching and rule memorization is not for everyone.Abilities arent just the reflexes.

                1. krellen says:

                  Even the most twinked-out characters can get screwed by a few bad dice rolls. I know, because I had my campaign completely derailed when my supposedly “Untouchable Trio” of players got themselves party wiped by two bad saving throws.

                  1. JPH says:

                    That right there is why I hate D&D.

                  2. Daemian Lucifer says:

                    Yes,and even the most trigger happy first person shooter god can still succumb to a deathclaw.Your point?

                    Here,let me give you an example:
                    Party fights a troll,and its min/maxer,a noble who spent his whole life sheltered and training with various tutors,never even hearing of such things as trolls,shouts to the mage “When it falls down fireball it!”
                    Thats not role playing,yet its one of the tamer things min/maxers engage in.Are you still going to say those are character abilities?

                    1. krellen says:

                      I dunno, does the noble or the mage have the appropriate knowledge skill to know that? Why is the GM allowing his players to get away with that if they don’t?

                    2. Daemian Lucifer says:

                      Because thats what some people enjoy.I wouldnt normally blame the system for such behavior,but about half(or more)people I know who play d&d are like that.

                    3. krellen says:

                      Yeah, lots of people like playing games that are less of roleplaying games too, so it shouldn’t be too surprising they’d do the same with traditional RPG systems.

                    4. Daemian Lucifer says:

                      It just always felt to me that d&d supports that behavior.Though I cant say for 4th edition,2nd,2.5’d(how do you make a partial number into an ordinal?)and 3rd editions all seem to favor metagaming and number crunching over roleplaying.

                      Though,on the plus side,it does make it easy to translate onto computers.

        2. acronix says:

          If we went into technicalities (just waht I like to do!), then every single game is a role playing game, because in every single one of them you are playing a role.

          1. JPH says:

            Yay, another person who likes going into technicalities! Where were you when I was ragging on krellen for saying FO3 is not a Fallout game a minute ago? >_<

            1. krellen says:

              IIRC, acronix is one of the posters that agrees with me on that point.

              1. JPH says:

                Well then he’s a liar and a traitor to technicalitology. Er… Technicalogy. Yeah.

                ‘Cause you might be right in principle, but I’m still technically correct.

                1. Simon Buchan says:

                  Technically, it’s the priciple of the thing that matters… :P

                  1. JPH says:

                    Not in my book it isn’t!

        3. Factoid says:

          Why exactly do you read a guy’s blog if you’re not interested in what he thinks or reading things that are 100% opinion?

          If you want objective analysis you should (in theory) read a website like The Escapist, IGN, Gamespot, etc..

          1. acronix says:

            Actually, if one looks for objective analysis the only way to get something completely objective is to go read a scientific journal.

            1. JPH says:


              There is no such thing as an objective opinion on a video game. Everyone is affected by personal bias.

            2. Daemian Lucifer says:

              Even science isnt 100% objective.

              1. Max says:

                But scientific papers are peer reviewed. Not only does it help find mistakes, but I’m sure all the personal biases cancel each other out.

                Maybe we could start peer reviewing game reviews as well until a consensus is reached?

                Clearly I’m not serious, that’s the worst idea ever.

                1. Daemian Lucifer says:

                  It only lessens the subjectivity,but doesnt negate it.After all,we are just humans.

                  But arent we already peer reviewing games?Its hard to find magazines that dont give the same(high)numbers to games from big companies like ea.

              2. Shamus says:

                That’s just your opinion.

          2. “Why exactly do you read a guy's blog if you're not interested in what he thinks or reading things that are 100% opinion?”

            Well…why do you presume that I’m not interested in what he thinks? While I don’t like answering a question with a question as a rule, I actually can’t answer yours specifically BECAUSE your presumption is incorrect.

        4. Daemian Lucifer says:

          How is that sentence whiny actually?So what,you have to follow every “I dont like” with a way to improve it?Yeah,I dont like pork,and in order to improve it,you need to make it out of lamb.

          1. Okay, how bout we use your post as an example. See how your post voices displeasure (through fairly sub-standard snark) with what I posted, but actually contributes nothing to the issue?

            Yeah, THAT’S what whining is.

            1. Daemian Lucifer says:

              So your original post voicing displeasure(through name calling)with Shamus’ thoughts with a kind of a question in the end is not whining,but my questions with a snark in the end is?Care to explain to me then how your original post and question contributed something and my questions didnt?

              1. Because I asked him to explain himself, offering an opportunity to resolve the issue.

                1. Daemian Lucifer says:

                  I did the same with my post.

            2. Shamus says:

              But… the same could be said of your comment on his comment! Are you whining about his whining?

              1. Now that I think about it, we’re not whining, we’re complaining.

                THIS is whining!


  29. Mewse says:

    Just as a clarification from someone who has been inside the industry..

    When game industry executives say “IP”, they’re talking about the recognizability of the game series’ trademarked title. They’re not talking about the world, the genre, the core design values, the major characters (unless those characters share their name with the series), or anything like that. To game industry executives, “IP” is shorthand for branding.

    Which isn’t to say that game industry executives don’t also care about those other things. It’s just not what they mean when they’re talking about “IP”.

    1. Irridium says:

      So by “making the brand more appealing” they’re talking about stuff like toys, T-shirts, and crap like that?

      Oh god, they’re gonna pull a Star Wars with Mass Effect?!

      1. ehlijen says:

        Yubyub. Meesa thinks that’s possible.

      2. X2-Eliah says:

        Uhh. Bioware/EA is already selling t-shirts & ‘hoodies’ with ME logo/branding.

        1. ehlijen says:

          As is almost any publisher with a franchise that span’s more than one game. Some even start before that (how soon was it before plush companion cubes were available?).

  30. Vuther says:

    I found the comic to be quite funny and while I don’t quite agree with your opinion on the game’s projections, I understand your point of view.

    But my issue is…that you equated (if I’m using that word right) your point of view to a character that is clearly biased and mostly there for players to amusingly abuse. Good for self-deprecation, but I don’t think that’s what you wanted to do.

    But I’m cool with the explanation that it seemed funny and it was anyway.

    1. Shamus says:

      Yes, the reporter was silenced in the end, which is what will happen to those of us who dislike the New BioWare. We’re a small demographic. Most of the players won’t care, because the shooter market is so much larger than the RPG market. You could even make the case that this is how BioWare is treating their long-time fans.

      Also, I should have said this earlier in the thread, but I’m not basing my predictions on Mass Effect 3 just on the bits we’re getting from marketing. That would be a stretch.

      * The Marketing for Dragon Age: Origins
      * The change in focus from Mass Effect 1 to ME 2.
      * The drastic change in the tone of the Mass Effect story, focusing less on the setting and more on Shepard.
      * The very shooter-focused marketing of Mass Effect 2. (That box art still bugs me.)
      * The gameplay changes from Dragon Age: Origins to Dragon Age 2.
      * The proposed shift in focus for Mass Effect 3, setting things in a post-apocalyptic Earth.

      BioWare has become a very different company in a very short time. The wildcard here is The Old Republic. My own theory is that a lot of the story changes (death of Shepard, Cerberus plotline) aren’t the result of them wanting to make a dumber game, but the result of their A-list writers being put on their Mega-Project.

      Taking all of this together, I don’t expect to see the Mass Effect 3 pay off the huge premise we were given in the original. It will be a shooter with some light leveling, a disappointing story, a few facepalm logic failures, and a handful of awesome companions.

      1. Vuther says:

        Er…I can gather from this reply that you feel strongly about what your comic was about, but I think you misunderstood what my post was about – I’m just trying pointing out that a slight writing decision within the comic that I think can somewhat misrepresent what you are trying to say: you are using a character within the game that is a reporter. The comic is clearly using the clear fact the character is a reporter to give a reason to say the many things they say, kind of like a real reporter asking questions. However, that character in the actual game, which the players of the game that this comic is being targeted to would know, is a biased person with a personal agenda who exists largely for the fun for players to shut up. In that manner, I had the assumption you would not want to liken your viewpoint, represented by the character, to that so I pointed it out.

        1. Simon Buchan says:

          I never thought of the reporter as having an agenda higher than getting a jucy soundbite out of Shepard through baiting. Which… kinda works as a metaphor? If you assume Shamus here is baiting ME2 fans for pageviews. (I’m assuming Shamus likes eating, instead)

          1. Vuther says:

            Huh, baiting them for pageviews? I never said that. I just seems clear to me that the comic was largely meant for Mass Effect players to read because someone who hasn’t played the series wouldn’t really get it.

            But I think it’s rather clear the fact no one else seems to have gotten the same impression/idea I stated shows I overthought it, though.

            Though the reporter was clearly biased in the game. If you do the more diplomatic paragon answers, she clearly disagrees with your even-handed viewpoint. If you do the more xenophobic, pro-human renegade answers, she’ll be more agreeable. If you break off the interview during it, she calls you a shill (and really, you’re a black-ops soldier, refusing to answer questions about your operations is like dogs liking a walk). Saying you’ve had enough of her snide/disengenous insinuations/assertions and punching her in the face is right (uh, well, the first part is right. Face-punching mileage will vary).

            1. krellen says:

              No, if you’re xenophobic and pro-human, she berates you for being so aggressive when you’re supposed to be humanity’s representative. She’s just looking for something to argue with Shepard about.

              1. Vuther says:

                Are we talking about the first game, or the second game? Pretty sure she’s a bit more agreeable with you in the first game when saying renegade stuff (can see it here, at 5:25: ). In the second game, I don’t think it’s actually possible to go through the interview like that and listen to her respond to your opinions since every option either has you tell her off or walk away.

                Though regardless, constantly trying to argue with you regardless of your opinions certainly shows an agenda.

                1. Simon Buchan says:

                  To be clear, I never meant that you said Shamus was baiting for page-views, just that I attempted to apply my interpretation of the reporter in the same way, that’s what it maps closest to.

                  Normally, saying a reporter has an agenda is saying they wish to swing public opinion to match their opinion, because it’s such a big no-no. I think the agenda of making interview subjects look bad for jucy headlines is just assumed :).

                  But yes, after that link refreshed my memory, she is *clearly* Renegade sympathetic. I retract my earlier position, you are the superior Mass Effector, this whole sub-thread is pointless :P.

                  1. Vuther says:

                    Well, making someone look bad isn’t always the best way to get views! Publicity is pretty much guaranteed since even if everyone disagrees with you, a big stink would appear, but there really is a sort of thing as bad publicity…depends, I suppose.

                    Yeah, I’m just going to say I overthought the comic’s design. We’re done here. Stay cool.

  31. Wtrmute says:

    Shamus, son, you might want to look at a Photoshop filter to remove that red-eye there on that last panel. I hear they’re quite good these days… ;-P

    1. ehlijen says:

      But don’t those things cost like 50,000t of platinum?

      1. Daemian Lucifer says:

        You can always just trade in your firstborn.

        1. Jarenth says:

          Or do some good deeds, I hear that helps.

  32. acronix says:

    I just want to say that in the sixth pannel Shepard`s expression is so pathetic it could be a joke in itself.

  33. Reach says:

    “We want Cheerios to appeal to a broader market, so we’re going to start filling Cheerios boxes with coco-puffs in an effort to expand Cheerios’ horizons”

    1. Jjkaybomb says:

      The kid’s will love it. Its what kids are into these days, right?


      Didnt they actually make choco-cheerios? o_o

  34. James says:

    To be fair, you do remember Dragon Age: Origins’ terrible Marilyn Manson marketing, right?

    EA is pretty notorious for god awful commercialization of their products. Poor Dead Space 2…

    1. JPH says:

      Well this isn’t EA’s words, it’s Bioware’s words. Right?

      1. Even says:

        See the links in the comic page. It’s EA all the way.

        1. JPH says:

          Oh. Well in that case, yeah, we have to take everything they say with a grain of salt. EA’s marketing department doesn’t ever seem to know what it’s doing…

          1. acronix says:

            They are like a blind man inside a tornado.

  35. General Karthos says:

    This may be the first Bioware game since Knights of the Old Republic that I will not be pre-ordering. Perhaps not even buying. I tolerated Mass Effect 2. Even enjoyed it greatly when I ignored the plot holes.

    But Dragon Age 2, the first game made under sole administration of EA was a disaster. While I enjoyed it, there was next to no story, and combats were obscenely awful and repetitive.

    So I honestly don’t know…. I love BioWare… but EA is destroying the elements that made BioWare great…. All for the sake of a quick buck. And if I buy Mass Effect 3, even knowing how it’s been gutted, then I’m supporting EA’s destruction of one of the last true giants of the Roleplaying Game genre.

    So… I am conflicted.

    1. Zaxares says:

      I will buy ME3 if I get to see Tali’s face. If Bioware will do that, ALL IS FORGIVEN. XD

      1. GTRichey says:

        This will be DLC released for $20. It will offer nothing other than a still shot of Tali’s face viewable only within the codex. It will still make ridiculous amounts of money (not from me, since at this point it’s unlikely I’ll buy ME3 at all).

        EDIT: Unfortunately I’m confident EA (and to some hopefully lesser extent Bioware) will take absolutely no notice of how ridiculous this is and how many people that were fans of the first game are annoyed by this.

        1. INH5 says:

          I’m commenting from 4 years in the future to say how hilarious it is that Bioware’s handling of this issue turned out to be even worse than what was predicted here.

  36. Smejki says:

    Classics. It is the same all over the world, I see.

    Got just one vid to ilustrate the New Bioware

    1. krellen says:

      As an old school interneter, I should have seen this coming. Nothing good survives mass appeal.

      1. lurkey says:

        What’s the term for when you watch a dude talk about button and awesome connection and you, like, cringe and squirm uncomfortably and try not to look? Second hand embarrassment?

    2. Daemian Lucifer says:

      To be fair “you press a button and something awesome happens” is not a bad thing on its own.For example,I thought that me pressing 1 in hordes of the underdark and my mage casting wail of the banshee and the enemies dying all around was quite awesome.

      However,thinking that whats awesome for you is awesome for everyone,thats a bad thing.

  37. Eärlindor says:

    I love this; all you have to do is mention Mass Effect and it immediately results in a 400 comment thread.

  38. kanodin says:

    So hey, more Mass Effect news today:

    So those companions that were the only good thing about Mass Effect 2, in fact 90% of the game revolved around them, they felt that was too much and are trying to cut back.

    1. Ben says:

      I actually think Bioware is going in the right direction on this. ME2 had some characters with very interesting potential but somewhat letdown by the fact that there were so many of them. Most characters had 2 or 3 conversations which gave everyone short shrift. Thane, Samara and Garrus all had arcs that could have been much more fleshed out.

      If they pare it down to 6 characters and make them all really solid characters like Mordin or Jack and not waste one of the characters on a really bland human (Jake, Kaiden) then it might be better.

      1. kanodin says:

        Too bad Ashley/Kaidan are definitely getting a spot and one spot goes to a brandspanking new human, who I’m sure won’t be boring at all.

        1. Ben says:

          I’m not willing to write off all human characters. It is odd how human characters are often the least interesting characters around, they become interesting only when stripped of their humanity, for example Jack. Going off what we know of the new guy, an experienced soldier who is naive about the seedy side of the galaxy I’ll go with cautiously optimistic.

          Its a fun turn on the very common cynical grizzled veteran we’ve all see so many times before. He has a character arc that almost writes itself and his expectations could make for some good comedic dialog.

    2. Eärlindor says:

      Ooo, ooo, I love this bit here:

      These characters might not be exactly as players remember them though, as they will have grown and changed in the time between games…

      I think translated, these means “retcons likely.”

      1. Ben says:

        Not necessarily, ME1 to ME2 there was some interesting character development for both Garrus and Tali, it helped make the characters more real and sell the idea that time had passed. Character development, done well, is a good thing.

        1. Eärlindor says:

          These things I know. I’m half joking.

          I’m just saying we shouldn’t be taken off guard if a character says or does something ridiculous that wouldn’t make any sense.

          The Illusive Man in ME3, for example, now wants you dead for some retarded reason, regardless of whether or nor you went pro-Cerberus. This is the guy who spent 4 billion + credits on you to bring you back, give you ship, and make sure that you as an investment succeed because “you are the only person who can help they galaxy.”
          … And NOW he suddenly wants you dead after all that…?

      2. Irridium says:

        Seems more aesthetic.
        Example: Ashley

        Mass Effect 1+2 Ashley

        Mass Effect 3 Ashley

        Also reading the article, seems like Jack will have a ponytail-mohawk combo. Which sounds hilarious.

      3. Avilan says:

        No retcons. Grown and matured. Jack for example has mellowed some, and started wearing clothes.

    3. Irridium says:


      Less companions probably means their deeper. Remember Garrus? How he has, like, 4 dialog moments then calibrates for eternity?

      Or how romance companions are rather shallow if you choose to not pursue the romance? And there’s Zaeed/Kasumi that had no dialog trees outside of their missions.

      And for gameplay, Tali/Legion had the same powers, which was pretty weak. Jacob was completely worthless. Depending on your class you’ll end up not using a couple more companions…

      Point is, I’ll take less, but more deep companions over more, but more shallow companions any-day. Hopefully Bioware goes the Dragon Age route and makes them more active in missions(commenting during conversation, talking with each other, missions could be completed a different way when using a certain companion).

    4. GTRichey says:

      The comment about characters changing in the time between the games makes no sense for me. From what I can tell, the game picks up at the end of the Arrival DLC and has you on trial for… blah I can’t be bothered repeating all of it. Basically isn’t the idea that there isn’t any time between the two games? Having not played it I can’t be sure but weren’t the reapers more or less HOURS away at during the Arrival DLC (giving it it’s name)? So if time has passed… shouldn’t the galaxy be more or less wiped out (or well on it’s way) by the time ME3 starts? Please tell me there’s just something I’m missing having not (and won’t on principal because I believe tying main plot to DLC is about the worst kind of DLC) played through Arrival. If not I’ll simply have to assume that nothing about ME2 is canon (not that I necessary hold it as canon anyway since nothing is different at the start than the end so the events really don’t seem like they’d matter) if I decide to play ME3 because that’s one bit of nonsense I can’t get my head around.

      1. Daemian Lucifer says:

        But you were sedated for 2 whole days in that dlc.Do you know how much people can change in such a long time?

        1. GTRichey says:

          If I end up playing ME3 my assumption will be that whatever happened in ME2 is just a nightmare Shepard is having. She’s been somehow kept alive for the thousands of years it should take the reapers to arrive from dark space (seriously what’s the point of the whole Citadel mass relay if it takes them just over two years to get here from dark space without it? This is why I hate ME2 so much… it should be us discovering some sensible backup plan to the Citadel mass relay and working to stop that in a way that should delay them for the foreseeable future [the months to years quoted in the Arrival DLC doesn’t cut it] and at the end we come just short of stopping them before the plan can’t be stopped… either that, or we’re working on building a galaxy wide strategy to prepare for the invasion and we learn of the backup plan at the end. Either way setting up ME3 in a sensible way) and wakes up to a full scale invasion that the galaxy is not the least prepared for.

        2. ehlijen says:

          Was there any reason given for why shepard woke up from that at just the right time? And no ‘the drugs stopped working’ doesn’t cut it.

          1. GTRichey says:

            Not in the playthrough I watched (haven’t and won’t buy plot critical DLC ever). I’m pretty sure it’s just another thing that happens because “It’s Shepard and he (or she if you want half decent voice acting) is just that awesome and badass.” That said the timing of Shepard waking up is not the most significant plot issue with the DLC (or that the DLC causes for the entirety of two games up to now).

  39. some random dood says:

    I tried to avoid commenting but…
    This thread has crystalised my feelings about ME2, and BioWare. It’s the feeling of betrayal. I was one of those who bought their stuff, supporting them, when they were hard-core RPG makers. Now they have found someone else. Someone a bit more attractive. Who flashes the cash a bit more freely. So suddenly, after all the years we gave them, BioWare doesn’t feel like it needs me (and people like me), and dumps us for a more attractive model.
    So yes, I finally realise why I feel so bitter about ME2, and the announcements for ME3. I loved BioWare. But now I have to face up to being dumped by them.
    I hope they are very happy with their new partners, but if they end up being dumped themselves and trying to woo back us old-timer RPG fans, I hope I have the will power to resist the memories of the good times.

    1. Avilan says:

      …I don’t get this. I really don’t.

      I especially don’t get the delusion that “old-time RPG fans” hate the new games. It’s the same delusion that is frequent about Bethesda’s Fallout 3, that it is IMPOSSIBLE that someone that enjoyed the first two games would enjoy FO3. I loved BG. I loved BGII more. I played and adored PS:T. I accepted NWN (as annoying, ugly and boring as it was), and felt utterly bored by the Icewind Dale games. I also absolutely love DA:O. I enjoyed everything about DA2 except the story, so I am not playing that anymore. I find ME1 a good RPG with glaring problems and absolutely love ME2.

      Bioware did not cater to your taste of RPG. That is not their problem. They have most certainly not “betrayed” anyone by doing their games the way they want to make them. You just bought a game you thought you would like and didnt. I don’t claim they betrayed me because I get too depressed by the DA2 story to continue playing, even though that means I spent $40 on a game I will never finish.

      1. some random dood says:

        OK, so you don’t get it. Doesn’t really matter, I wasn’t writing for you. I just wanted to mention how it made *me* feel. Newsflash – different people have different viewpoints, likes/dislikes, tolerance levels etc., so not everyone feels the same way you do. Congratulations on having yet another developer move towards making games *you* like. For other people, BioWare are moving *away* from making games we like. I’m sad about that (and as can be seen from this forum, so are others). Just because *you* do not feel that way does not mean that others don’t “feel the pain”.
        Anyway – hope Mass Effect 3 lives up to your expectation (hmm, with internet and ordinary text it makes it difficult to show, but no sarcasm meant here – please take it as written with no hidden subtext or meaning or insult). For me? Well, I don’t hold out much hope (especially as it sounds from another quote that BioWare are ramping up the combat – “Normal is the new Veteran”).

        1. Avilan says:

          Well I agree with you there; I hope someone makes games you like too (no sarcasm!).
          I just have a very sore spot for the whole “Us old-time RPG playes” thing, this is what set me off. There ARE way too many people who insists they speak for all RPG-playerdom.

          Anyway as I say I agree with most of your post except the last part. The majority of complaints regarding the difficulty of the ME games is that it is way too easy and dumbed down.

          1. The Bard says:

            I totally agree with you, Avilan. Unless Bioware signed a pact agreeing how they would go about making their games, or maybe made some sort of blood oath, they can’t backstab you, Some Random Dood. They can move in a direction you don’t like, which I can fully understand you feeling left behind over, but I don’t think it’s fair to call that a betrayal. I admire them for trying new things to keep the genre fresh, even if it’s not a success every time they implement something new. I mean, would you want them to become the next Square Enix and stew in the filth of sameness in every game they make going forward?

            ME2 won Game of the Year all over the place and went around to mostly thunderous applause. It makes me sad that not everyone had the same stellar experience a lot of us did. It just seems silly to call that direction a betrayal when a LOT of people are happy about what they did. I love the direction Casey Hudson recently said he’s bringing ME3 in:

            “More than anything, people want us to deepen the RPG aspect of the experience. Now, that isn’t necessarily something traditional; about stats and loot; we see it as being more about exploration and making a good character-driven story with intelligent decision-making in how you progress.”

            Clearly, a lot of the “hardcore” RPG players who love loot think this is a terrible direction. It’s unfortunate the schizm is growing within the community like this, but I think this is exactly where RPGs NEED to go. Screw the loot and banal spreadsheets. There’ll always be WoW if you need a number crunching fix.

            1. Daemian Lucifer says:

              Yes,its a good direction in theory.It fails though when you consider how their “good character-driven story with intelligent decision-making” is actually pretty stupid and relies on characters(including you,the main character)acting like a bunch of idiots.

              1. Avilan says:

                Unlike what games?

                1. Daemian Lucifer says:

                  Unlike first mass effect,unlike half life,unlike assassins creed,unlike alpha protocol.And thats just considering the more recent games.

                  Dont get me wrong,those games arent perfect,they all have plot holes,true,but they dont hinge on everyone being an idiot.Also,assassins creed 2 and half life 2 dont completely butcher every character established in first installments.

  40. Jokerman says:

    Saw this on escapist, looks like Jack has grown up….and wears a top.

    “Art director Derek Watts used the example of Jack, who he said had matured and softened a little since Mass Effect 2. “You can only stay punk rock for so long, you know,” he said. “Even Johnny Rotten eventually goes, ‘I’ve got to do something different.’ She’d get tired of walking around completely naked and she’d probably grow her hair out, but she’s still Jack and still kinda punk – shaved at the sides with a pony tail at the back.” Watts also pre-empted fears that characters would get really radical makeovers, saying that it was the same people redesigning the characters as had designed them in the first place.”

  41. Wolfwood says:

    they know they gots you by the balls this time around! XD

    Shamus and the Spoiler Warning crew completely destroyed my rose tinted view of the story/plot of ME2. But because the gameplay was so much more refined than ME1, i still love ME2 more. SO if ME3 is even more refined than ME2, i’ll more than likely love the game to death even if its plot involved space chimps and rogue cells of rogue cells!

    1. Avilan says:


      Especially since my personal opinion is that the story and plot in the first game really isn’t anything worth mentioning either (but then there has not been an original plot since about 10 000 BC (the year, not the movie)).

  42. Fyr says:

    Sad to say, but Bioware is no longer a studio I want to buy games from.

    Maybe they can sell more CoD clones than they would have sold if they made true ME sequels, maybe not. Though I have to ask, why play a CoD clone when you can just play CoD instead?
    But EA think they can sell more if they makes these changes so that’s what they are going to make.

    And maybe 5% of the CoD market IS more cash than 90% of the RPG market. I assume EA employs some analysts who think they will sell more this way and I can’t fault a company for trying to make money; it’s a business after all. You and I have no right to demand that people slave away for our own personal pleasure. They do it to make a living.

    Still, not being a fan of shooters that means they won’t make the money from me.
    I might buy ME3 out of curiosity but only when it comes down to $5.

    And the same is true of Dragon Age III.
    DA:O was the best RPG I ever played by a country mile, despite that it was already slightly on the way to eliminating RPG elements. DA2 eliminated more RPG elements and while it certainly had more problems than that, it was that that really disappointed me about the game.

    Between ME2 and 3 and DA2 and the things they and EA have said, it’s obvious that all their games are going to go away from RPG and towards an action model. To think otherwise would just be deluding myself.

    But is all this the end of the world? Nah not really.
    So Bioware games won’t be A list games for me anymore. Some newer studio will realize there’s a market for old school RPGs out there and fill the gap. Those like me that don’t want to play the new Bioware games need to stop looking to Bioware to provide the games we DO want to play and start to look for the new stars of the RPG world instead.

    Long live the RPG!

    1. Paul Spooner says:

      Well said sir. I haven’t played any of the ME or DA games at all. I played a bit of a friend’s copy of Oblivion and decided against it. We all have different tolerance levels for stuff we don’t like. Shamus is driven to play games he doesn’t like by his (partially economic) need to review games. But since he’s doing it, I don’t see why any of us need to. If you don’t like a game, don’t encourage similar productions by spending money on it. I’m certainly not going to hop on the bulging Bioware bandwagon (buried by bogus blame, but broken by blundering) at this point.

      1. Avilan says:

        (Please note: I am not trying to be inflamatory, I am just curious)

        Why have you automatically sorted both ME games and both DA games under “stuff I don’t like” when you have not even considered playing them?

        Are just just into RPGs at all? (Your comment about Oblivion would indicate that).

        1. krellen says:

          You can like RPGs and hate Oblivion. It’s not like Bethesda is some gold-standard for “RPG”.

          1. Avilan says:

            I know; but Paul has refused to even try either ME (1 or 2) or any of the Dragon Age games too. Hence my question.

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