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Mass Effect - Best RPG series of all time?

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Re: Mass Effect - Best RPG series of all time?

Postby Passionario » Wed May 09, 2012 7:04 am

I don't mind fatalism and vagueness as such. However, I do take offense at the bait-and-switch manner in which they have been introduced in ME3 and DA2.

For an example at how such things should be done properly, look no further than Witcher and Witcher 2. Both of these AAA titles are full of fatalism and vagueness. No matter what choices Geralt makes, many innocent people will die, many loathsome villains will walk away unpunished, and many tantalising mysteries will remain unresolved. And yet, both games received overwhelming praise from both the gaming press and the general public! How did the developers manage to pull it off? By being honest with the players and staying true to their vision. The crapsack nature of Witcher's world is established right in the prologue of the first game, and is consistently maintained all the way to the ending of the second one.

Some people like fatalistic tragedies, some like lighthearted comedies, some prefer epic sagas of heroism - but nobody likes a liar. If you want to recruit a Holy paladin healer for your raiding guild, don't offer a Ret paladin from another server a DPS spot and demand him to respec once he transfers over. If you want an open sexual relationship, don't get married and then cheat on your spouse. And if you want to experiment with fatalism and vagueness, for Shakespeare's sake, don't do it in the last twenty minutes of the final installment of a beloved Hero's Journey franchise.
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Re: Mass Effect - Best RPG series of all time?

Postby Flex » Wed May 09, 2012 8:27 am

Sagara wrote:Soooo, you done Flex?


Yup, didn't really have a problem with the three choices as it was pretty much what everyone has tried doing with the reapers all along. I have my own pet theory for everything which I'll be sad if the "official" work makes everything mundane, like a trade dispute.

So the thing is: bleak is OK, tabula rasa is not. Pulverise the Earth if need be, but at least let us see the consequences


I guess where we differ and will be a huge sticking point in any discussion is that I don't need those answers for closure to the game series.

A friend had an interesting question, would the original Star Wars trilogy be as loved if it was made today with how few answers were provided in Episode 6. Sure the Sith are gone but there is an entire militaristic, xenophobic Empire in place, things aren't magically better but it is treated as such.

Regarding The Witcher, no one blinked, it drove me insane so I couldn't play it. Plus the combat and UI made me hurt, so I can't really comment on how things work in that game.
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Re: Mass Effect - Best RPG series of all time?

Postby sahiel » Wed May 09, 2012 9:44 am

Flex wrote:A friend had an interesting question, would the original Star Wars trilogy be as loved if it was made today with how few answers were provided in Episode 6. Sure the Sith are gone but there is an entire militaristic, xenophobic Empire in place, things aren't magically better but it is treated as such.

Except that Star Wars goes on to provide more information and story after the Empire is defeated. A better example would be if Star Wars ended the instant the second Death Star blew up, BOOM!, credits roll. No Han & Leia in love, no force ghosts, no celebration on Endor, no Luke at peace, forget all that, brief as it is. I think people would have been pretty pissed at that and expected some sort of actual conclusion for the other characters.
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Re: Mass Effect - Best RPG series of all time?

Postby Sagara » Wed May 09, 2012 9:50 am

Flex wrote:A friend had an interesting question, would the original Star Wars trilogy be as loved if it was made today with how few answers were provided in Episode 6. Sure the Sith are gone but there is an entire militaristic, xenophobic Empire in place, things aren't magically better but it is treated as such.


I think it would. We would be wondering if the Empire fall like that, but there has been victory, and we saw how much things changed from Episode 4.

A more proper comparaison would be to see Darth Vador throw the Emperor down the shaft, cue the Death Star exploding, and then see Han Solo and the gang crash-land on Dagobah.

THE END.

And even then, still not equal.
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Re: Mass Effect - Best RPG series of all time?

Postby Klaudandus » Wed May 09, 2012 10:07 am

Flex, dont take it as an ad hominem, but seriously... It feels you're dissenting just to be hip (or troll).

The narrative structure collapsed at the end, no two ways about it. University teachers have said that, business journals have said that, a sizeable chunk have said that.
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Re: Mass Effect - Best RPG series of all time?

Postby aureon » Wed May 09, 2012 11:24 am

There is no way around it, really.
The ending is BOTH underdeveloped and badly done. The list of what's wrong with it is so long that debating point-for-point would be ridicolous. (Let's start: Genre change, SpaceFleaFromNowhere, impotency for the sake of it, lack of critical information, deus ex machina, character's will and history randomly overriden, and.. could go on)
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Re: Mass Effect - Best RPG series of all time?

Postby Fivelives » Wed May 09, 2012 12:19 pm

Klaudandus wrote:Flex, dont take it as an ad hominem, but seriously... It feels you're dissenting just to be hip (or troll).


^ This.

I don't get people saying that "vague" endings are okay. They are most definitely NOT okay - especially when someone can put the words "vague" and "closure" in the same thought. Sure, small questions are fine; I understand that it's impossible to close every single little hole. BIG questions, though? That's most definitely not alright.

Plot holes that a cat can squeeze through = okay.
Plot holes that I can takeoff and land a superjumbo jet through = NOT okay.
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Re: Mass Effect - Best RPG series of all time?

Postby Arnock » Wed May 09, 2012 4:49 pm

Well, there's a difference between a 'vague' or 'open' ending and having massive plot holes.

For example, someone earlier in the thread mentioned Inception's ending, where the director let the audience wonder whether or not Dicaprio's character was still stuck in the dream. I thought it was an excellent way to end the movie, it didn't really offer closure, but it did make you think, and it fit with the film's themes about the nature of reality.

Up until the ending of ME3, I would have easily said that it was one of, if not the best game I had ever played. But the ending just messed it up THAT much for me.



Throwing out a spoiler warning just for safety's sake.


If the game had ended the instant before the magic elevator appeared. I would have been happy, even if Bioware chose not to include an ending montage showing what happened with your choices, I could have accepted that I wouldn't know where my in-game choices would take me, and assumed, or hoped rather, that my intended outcomes would have been achieved. It wouldn't have been the best ending, and I would probably have been bothered, but it would not have angered me to the degree that the included ending managed to.


First of all, the ending managed to flip around and give a mighty, "Fuck you!" to the series' existing themes. Primarily in the ideas of self-determination and the synthetics vs. organics. Even if Shepard just managed to broker a peaceful existence between the Quarian and Geth, "Nope, if us synthetics don't wipe out all inteligent life, synthetics will wipe out all life."
"But, wait Mr. Star-child, look at the quarian and geth, they're all friends now!"
"Nope, you're all gonna die. It is known."
"Oh, well, if you're gonna give me a choice, can't I just ask you guys to leave us alone and let us try for ourselves? I mean, don't you control the reapers? Can't you just leave and then try to purge us if the synthetics actually decide to wipe out the annoying meatbags?"
"Nope, just 3 different colors of civilization-ending explosions."

And, no matter what you do in the single player campaign, those are your three choices. Period. I don't mind games without multiple endings, but when you have a series who's primary selling point is based on story and how your choices affect the ending, and when the games developers specifically said that your choices in ME3 would have an even greater affect on the outcome than either ME1 or ME2, and then they don't, that's a problem.

And then, on top of that, there's the plot hole of your magical, teleporting squadmates and joker abandoning you, but that's a whole different issue.
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Re: Mass Effect - Best RPG series of all time?

Postby Torquemada » Wed May 09, 2012 7:47 pm

My righteous indignation comes not only from the lack of quality in the ending compared to the rest of the game, but the fact that in comes in the face of outright promises that the ending would not be the way it was, squashing the choices you made during all three installments and giving you with Red, Blue, or Green depending on how many points you racked up during play.

http://fc09.deviantart.net/fs71/f/2012/076/d/3/mass_effect_fail_by_akael-d4t0nrx.png (Intentionally linked rather than embedded to avoid the spoiler police)

While the majority of my playthroughs of the games have been as default male Shepard, my own resolution to the ending is coming in the form of SWTOR, where one of my alts is a recreation of my FemShep, complete with similar face, hairstyle, and Jennifer Hale voice. I am content for now to know that after defeating Marauder Shields she is now off saving a galaxy far, far away.
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Re: Mass Effect - Best RPG series of all time?

Postby sahiel » Wed May 09, 2012 8:20 pm

Spooooooooooooilers! (As if anyone who has read this far could be more spoiled ;) )




I lol'd :)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hy0kAfzKA8I


"You have 3 choices, you blow up all the relays..."
"I don't like that choice!"
"I haven't gotten to the choice part yet."

Also, if you've not seen any of the Gamer Poop machinima videos they can be amusing, though not always ME related, this episode is.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CpeRk1YFn8s
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Re: Mass Effect - Best RPG series of all time?

Postby Passionario » Fri May 11, 2012 3:04 am

Arnock wrote:Even if Shepard just managed to broker a peaceful existence between the Quarian and Geth, "Nope, if us synthetics don't wipe out all inteligent life, synthetics will wipe out all life."
"But, wait Mr. Star-child, look at the quarian and geth, they're all friends now!"
"Nope, you're all gonna die. It is known."


To be fair, they are probably gonna die. Even I don't expect peace on Rannoch to last, and I don't have Catalyst's archived data assembled over millions of years to back up my cynicism.

All it takes is just one unstable individual in a position of power on the organic side of things - in other words, another Han'Gerrel, Udina, TIM, Urdnot Wreav or Saren - and/or another floating point error that results in a genocidal heresy among the synthetics, and Rannoch will burn again.

It would be extremely easy for the Catalyst to dismiss that particular claim, so the fact that it didn't even bother to do so is just sloppy/rushed writing.
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Re: Mass Effect - Best RPG series of all time?

Postby Sagara » Fri May 11, 2012 3:20 am

The interesting part is that this is the freaking point.

One can say "it will always fail, in the long run", but the other can say "it will always be mended, in the long run". The Catalyst represent cynicism, but then again, idealism is just as valid in the long run. It all boils down to beliefs.

By mending conflicts (if you choose to), you try and prove that for every Han'gerrel, there is a Tali'sora, and every TIM has his Anderson. Both sides are shown as equally valid, and up to the choice of the player and his ability to make the choices work (or not).

Which makes it jarring because an idealist would argue it COULD work, and that should be enough to keep trying. Or, for a WoW analogy, the Catalyst is the annoying raider pleading "But we caaaaaaaan't beat him, we need to kick those 2 players to succeed!" when you're yourself convinced it takes only a couple tweaks to get the kill.
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Re: Mass Effect - Best RPG series of all time?

Postby Passionario » Fri May 11, 2012 4:39 am

Sagara wrote:The interesting part is that this is the freaking point.

One can say "it will always fail, in the long run", but the other can say "it will always be mended, in the long run". The Catalyst represent cynicism, but then again, idealism is just as valid in the long run. It all boils down to beliefs.


And that's where Catalyst has a definite advantage over Shepard and other idealists. He's the only known being in the universe who has actually seen the proverbial long run (all those 50K-year cycles, plus G-d knows how many millions of years before he created the Reapers). Or, to use WoW analogy, he's a veteran hardcore raider, and Shepard is a level 4 newbie who is convinced that he can solo endgame raids in vendor trash gear (it worked on starting zone mobs, didn't it?)

This could be solved the introduction of a second immortal entity made of pure energy - one standing on the side of idealism. An Oracle to Catalyst's Architect, so to say.
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Re: Mass Effect - Best RPG series of all time?

Postby Sagara » Fri May 11, 2012 4:43 am

Yeah, I think it's more the one-side debate that was grating.
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Re: Mass Effect - Best RPG series of all time?

Postby sahiel » Fri May 11, 2012 10:14 am

Passionario wrote:And that's where Catalyst has a definite advantage over Shepard and other idealists. He's the only known being in the universe who has actually seen the proverbial long run (all those 50K-year cycles, plus G-d knows how many millions of years before he created the Reapers). Or, to use WoW analogy, he's a veteran hardcore raider, and Shepard is a level 4 newbie who is convinced that he can solo endgame raids in vendor trash gear (it worked on starting zone mobs, didn't it?)

But that's the thing, he hasn't. It happened once to the Reapers original civilisation, and then they turned themselves into Reapers and came back every 50k years to ensure it could never happen again, so he really only has one data point, the exact same as Shepard does.
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