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Friday, December 19, 2014

The game of the year

Nero's beautifully brutal review of Bioware's Dragon Age: Inquisition:
With BioWare’s reputation established in the early 2000s by middling but commercially popular, if somewhat buggy, releases such as Baldur’s Gate and Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, BioWare was, at least a decade ago, strongly positioned to achieve sustained success at the “average games that perform well with customers” end of the market. (To be fair to both of those titles, they have very enthusiastic fan bases.)

But the company in recent years has become… well, a bit of a running joke. Most gamers say the rot set in around 2009 or 2010, when BioWare was acquired by Electronic Arts. Perhaps it was a talent exodus, too much managerial interference or a failure to keep the creative teams fresh. Either way, BioWare’s ability to release artistically accomplished–and even, some reviewers say, technologically competent–games began to evaporate.

There is also a suggestion that BioWare’s games became unduly politicised at around the same time, pandering to what some call the “social justice” narrative, awkwardly shoehorning minority characters and progressive messaging into its plots and meddling with storylines to push political agendas that have never resonated with ordinary gamers. Practically every release from BioWare now contains dozens of gay and lesbian romance storylines or sex scenes, which many young gamers find baffling.

2011’s Dragon Age II unexpectedly bombed with consumers, despite, of course, the rave reviews from mainstream game news sites, who need only get a whiff of a paraplegic lesbian in an ill-fated love affair with a black transsexual to award a game full marks. Mass Effect 2 wasn’t a critical success with ordinary gamers either; they called it “filler” and said it was “uninspiring.” It, too, bored players with politics.

And then of course there was the extraordinary failure of imagination in Mass Effect 3, the ending of which has gone down in gamer history as one of the most needless creative failures in the history of the industry. The games press, needless to say, denied there was anything wrong with Mass Effect 3, scolding gamers for being “entitled.”

But if entitlement means expecting a sensible and narratively satisfying resolution to an expensive, immersive video game, most consumers will be happy to admit that they are guilty. Many of BioWare’s customers wondered whether more time could have been spent on a satisfactory ending and less on irrelevant lesbian sex themes. 
Don't be fooled by the reviews. As Nero notes: "That reviews of triple-A games by professional journalists are likely to bear no relation to their reception by fans has become a truism of video game journalism."

I've never been a BioWare fan, so their ongoing implosion is of little interest to me.

Labels:

59 Comments:

Anonymous jack December 19, 2014 3:32 PM  

You are no Bioware fan. Got it. That said, I hope some commenter s will opine on their fall from grace with some insider details. It can be so juicy and satisfying, especially if the sjw crowd is mostly to blame.

Anonymous Aeoli Pera December 19, 2014 3:34 PM  

The most interesting part of Mass Effect was reading the codices (the "mass effect" itself was very interesting to play with in my head). The Citadel was also very pretty. Other than that it was boring and I never got around to finishing it.

Anonymous aviendha December 19, 2014 3:37 PM  

Ordered it for the PC opening day. Ignoring the the SJW crap, bioware historically made cool games. Well they fucked up with keyboard+mouse controls so badly that I deleted it and got a origin refund within about 30 minutes. Unplayable.

Blogger JartStar December 19, 2014 3:42 PM  

Baldur's Gate 2 is one of the greatest RPGs of all time, and Planescape Torment was masterful at times. Also, the Infinity Engine gave us one of the best dungeon crawls of all time in Ice Wind Dale (created by Black Isle). That being said, I played all of the way through Dragon Age, saw the politics throughout and never played through it again. The game lacked re-playability and ultimately just wasn't that engaging due to a poor story and rather uninteresting world. I noticed right away that the darkspawn had to look like something out of a nightmare and be crazed killers in order to qualify as a villian as a major theme of the story was there is no right and wrong.

Blogger swiftfoxmark2 December 19, 2014 3:48 PM  

And let's be honest here: if we wanted to see a couple of elf girls go at it, we wouldn't waste hours of our time playing a video game.

Blogger Nate December 19, 2014 4:15 PM  

hey! KOTOR was a damned good game. And Baulders Gate was fun.

Blogger Nate December 19, 2014 4:17 PM  

"I've never been a BioWare fan, so their ongoing implosion is of little interest to me."

This rings hollow coming from a cruelty artist. Particularly when the fall is richly deserved.

Anonymous Student in Blue December 19, 2014 4:27 PM  

@Nate
KOTOR was a "damned good game"... at the time.

Having come back to play it several years after I first did so, I ran into the horrible pacing problems (spending so much ridiculous time on the first planet that doesn't impact the plot except just to set it up). Then a training montage for Jedi training, really?

@jack
That said, I hope some commenter s will opine on their fall from grace with some insider details. It can be so juicy and satisfying, especially if the sjw crowd is mostly to blame.

All you have to do is watch some videos on the Mass Effect 3 ending drama, as well as google Hamburger Hepler.

There's some serious nostalgia goggles going on for that game. It was fun and I enjoyed it when it came out, but... I'm not playing through that game again.

Anonymous Student in Blue December 19, 2014 4:28 PM  

I copypasted a bit of that wrong, the line,

"There's some serious nostalgia goggles going on for that game. It was fun and I enjoyed it when it came out, but... I'm not playing through that game again."

Was intended for Nate, re: KOTOR.

Anonymous kh123 December 19, 2014 4:35 PM  

"Most gamers say the rot set in around 2009 or 2010, when BioWare was acquired by Electronic Arts. "

Well, but we've been told by completely unbiased sources that EA's positively upped their game with their employees. So there's that...

< /s >

Gut feeling is that someone from marketing was tasked to trawl demographics, dug through Livejournal and Tumblr, and found that "Hey, these folks talk about liking games. HEY... They also really like buggery and trannies. And there are a helluva lot of them up at 4 am uploading images of both, still humping the American dream."

Not hard to imagine sh*t snowballing in an environment like that.

Anonymous Ain December 19, 2014 4:37 PM  

The best thing about KOTOR was the story, which I found to be better than many of the movies. Not so with KOTOR2, which had characters with force powers that were downright incredulous. Not to mention the ending was completely broken, so ME3 was apparently the second time they committed this atrocious flaw.

Blogger Nate December 19, 2014 4:43 PM  

'The best thing about KOTOR was the story, which I found to be better than many of the movies. "

The game was legitimately fun to play. I really didn't care about this montage or that. Was it fun? yes. Was the story freakin' cool? Yes.

We're done.

That said... I haven't replayed it at all. So I cannot say what I would think if I went and replayed it now.

I just know I finished it in 1 sitting when I started playing it the first time.

Anonymous dw December 19, 2014 4:46 PM  

Sith Lords was even better than the first KOTOR, and they both were fantastic.

Anonymous Student in Blue December 19, 2014 4:49 PM  

@Nate

You should seriously give replaying it a thought. A lot of people I know fall into a nostalgia trap for older games, and I've done it too. Only by actually replaying those games do I dispel that nostalgic mist.

Blogger SirHamster December 19, 2014 4:58 PM  

The best thing about KOTOR was the story, which I found to be better than many of the movies. Not so with KOTOR2, which had characters with force powers that were downright incredulous. Not to mention the ending was completely broken, so ME3 was apparently the second time they committed this atrocious flaw.

KOTOR2 was done by Obsidian, not Bioware. I liked 2 better, too, which I attribute to not-Bioware writing the story. Last Bioware RPG I've played is Dragon Age, and I found the story too dreary to go past Act 1 - "We made you a world that sucks, now wallow in it".

Anonymous ostar December 19, 2014 5:06 PM  

Some people confuse Black Isle Studios with Bioware. BSI developed Fallout 2, Icewind Dale 1/2, and my personal best for all-time RPG, Planescape:Torment, among others. BSI published the Baldur's Gate series, although they were developed by Bioware. KOTOR was the highwater mark of Bioware - things receded from then on.

Blogger Sean Carnegie December 19, 2014 5:09 PM  

Baldur's Gate 2 is one of the greatest RPGs of all time

You're damn right. I don't do D&D as a general rule but the characters, story line and immersion factor were awesome. Minsc and the Dwarf had great lines.

Ask anybody who has played Madden or any other of EAs sports games what they think of EA. The last Madden I took a Maddenoliday for was 08 and I haven't bought one since. Buggy messes that have little to do with actual NFL gameplay... and don't get me started on the DB bug in the NCAA series that made/make it almost unplayable in 11 and 12.

EA blows and for a company like Bioware to implode after their merger/selling out to them makes me smile and pour another bourbon.

Blogger JartStar December 19, 2014 5:25 PM  

ostar - Thanks for the correction, I forgot that Black Isle created PST as well. I played through IWD probably half a dozen times as the party creation and tactics were so much fun. Also, IWD had Jeremy Soule for the soundtrack and the best art of any of the Infinity Engine games. The portraits by Jason Manley and even the in game maps/tiles like the Severed Hand are true works of art.

IWD2 though was a mess of a game. Black Isle was under pressure by Interplay to turn out another game and it is apparent they cut corners all of the the place to shove it out the door. Besides being buggy the story is poor, the combat difficulty is inconsistent, and they filled the game with stupid puzzles to extend the playing time.

IWD is available on GOG, and the complete IWD soundtrack is on YouTube. It's worth listening to even if one never plays the game.

Anonymous FP December 19, 2014 5:37 PM  

You must gather your party before venturing forth.

Bioware started going down hill with Neverwinter Nights but I enjoyed it enough. Kotor was pretty good if slow to start and slow to run on xbox. I never finished Kotor2 but man did it run better on PC than xbox. I picked up a cheap copy of ME1 but I haven't gotten around to playing it as I foolishly bought it on 360. I've never finished Dragon Age and likely won't. It just didn't grab me.

Obsidian's Pillars of Eternity is coming out next year and supposed to be like Baldur's Gate. Divinity Original Sin is out now and gotten good reviews.

Blogger Cataline Sergius December 19, 2014 5:52 PM  

Mass Effect I had a sort of Poul Anderson vibe to it, that I had thought at the time showed real potential. By ME3 vibe was John Scalzi trying to write like Poul Anderson.

My favorite bit from the review:

...evidently, Bioware has failed to do even cursory research into lesbian relationships. For a start, both partners are cute. And they actually have sex! You know, instead of sitting opposite one another, separated by an abandoned Scrabble board and the remains of yesterday’s Saga knitting challenge, surrounded by rescue cats. In any case, with lesbian sex scenes as ugly and forced as this, the only scissoring you’ll want to do afterwards is to the game DVD.

Anonymous Three Towns December 19, 2014 5:59 PM  

I was gonna come in here, frothing at the mouth with rage, and point out that the best RPG ever, Planescape: Torment, was made by Black Isle Studios, not Bioware. But someone beat me to it. Neverwinter Nights is what I regard as the best Bioware game ever - the campaign was dull, uninspired if not preachy, but it provided a set of tools that allowed gamers to set up their own worlds, and thus it provided years of free high-quality fun to gamers and creators, an accomplishment never matched before or after in the history of online gaming, which went pay-for-farming MMORPGs shortly thereafter. Nothing can take that away from Bioware, and their descent into crappy progessive sloganeering thereafter is a sad example of what happens when you allow The Issues People their entryism.

Anonymous Titus Didius Tacitus December 19, 2014 6:38 PM  

Read the whole thing. It's beautiful in its wrath.

Anonymous Steve December 19, 2014 7:01 PM  

My wife loves the Dragons Age and Mass Effect series. I've never played them myself, watched her play a few times and they all looked dreary and boring.

The feminine appeal seems to be in them being dress up games / relationship simulators. She loved Skyrim too, and spent a lot of time in that game prettying up her houses, choosing what to wear, and getting her character married to various NPC's.

I was playing an FPS a few weeks ago - Wolfenstein IIRC - and she became exasperated at me skipping the cut scenes.

"Don't you want to know the story?", she asked.

"Nah. I just want to get to the part where I kill things."

She wasn't impressed.

I did greatly enjoy Oblivion, Fallout 3, and Skyrim, and if Bethesda ever releases Fallout 4 they'll take my money again.

Blogger Eric December 19, 2014 7:06 PM  

I enjoyed the first two Mass Effect games, especially the first one. Never bought the third one because they wouldn't release it on steam.

And KOTOR was kind of lame. There just isn't that much to do.

I was thinking "But I loved the first two Bioshock games", but then I looked it up and found out Bioware didn't make them.

Blogger Eric December 19, 2014 7:09 PM  

I did greatly enjoy Oblivion, Fallout 3, and Skyrim, and if Bethesda ever releases Fallout 4 they'll take my money again.

Same here. I could have built my own house with the time I spent on Fallout 3, Fallout NV, and Skyrim. But I've been burned too many times - MOO 3 and Deus Ex: Invisible War, for example, were heartbreakingly bad compared to the originals.

Anonymous blackbolt2099 December 19, 2014 7:18 PM  

Dragon Age: Origins was a good game. Dragon Age 2 was...not. What concerns me is that half the fans seem to talk about the series as though it were a friggin' dating sim, and that Bioware seems to be pandering to that.

Anonymous Dick D December 19, 2014 7:20 PM  

As others note, calling BG and KOTR 'middling' games is baffling. BG is a legendary game which in turn spawned what many people consider the best CRPG of all time, BG II. Icewind Dale and Torment were also very popular games, Torment particularly so even today.

Sure, Bioware went into the bin around the time the writer states, but that makes the plummet all the more lamentable. I haven't purchased a Bioware game since the first Mass Effect and never will again. Once the games start pushing prog politics you know it only escalates from there and you can chart a linear progression in terms of SJW politics in Mass Effect to multiple fag/tranny orgies in the last Dragon Age.

Blogger RandalThorn December 19, 2014 7:45 PM  

You should play Baldur's Gate 2 and PlaneScape Torment Vox, despite your opinion on BioWare, I mean in the former you CAN break up a gay couple.

Baldur's Gate games on PC is like Final Fantasy on consoles, if you like RPGs you MUST play them at all costs.

Anonymous Student in Blue December 19, 2014 7:58 PM  

@Dick D
As others note, calling BG and KOTR 'middling' games is baffling.
My theory is, KOTOR is a game that has not aged well (and having not played BG I'm guessing it might hold true there as well) and since Nero is a relative latecomer to video games, he's now experiencing those games that have not aged well instead of remembering them fondly as a powerhouse when they came out.

Blogger Dwight House December 19, 2014 8:21 PM  

Yeah, Bioware has been pushing social justice in its games for a while now. The company I once worked for, a small, moderately successful Facebook social game company, was bought by EA and turned into a Bioware studio. There were a lot of interesting things that went on behind the scenes, some good, some bad. I'm hesitant to say much, given my use of my real name here. However, I will say that social justice pushing was not just limited to EA's games, but extended down into employee interactions and day to day operations, typified by a certain... event. This event required an all-hands meeting in which we were given a crash course in the 'gender spectrum,' then politely, but firmly told what we were and were not allowed to think and say.

Anonymous Kyle December 19, 2014 8:41 PM  

I loved Kotor and I've played it over a dozen times, but when I last played a year ago (for the first time in ages) I felt like it really has started to show its age. Though there are still many good things about it.

The first Dragon Age is a great game and I thoroughly enjoyed it - it's got good replay value too. Mass Effect 2 was the last Bioware game I enjoyed, it seems like since then they've been trying to destroy themselves. Milo's review was great and I'm certain that I won't be wasting my time with Inquisition.

Anonymous 10900209 December 19, 2014 9:29 PM  

I think one of Bioware's problems is one that is systemic in movies, games, and comics: none of the people in charge can tell good writing from bad. If you apply to Bioware to work as an artist or an animator or a sound designer or a composer, you have to show a demo reel, and anyone can tell within seconds if you're good at your craft or not. Your talent or lack of will be obvious, and so only top-tier artists get hired at AAA studios like Bioware. Not so for writers; Bioware seems to be hiring fat women who write slash fan-fiction (like Hamburger Hepler) to pen the stories for their big-budget games, and so we get a lot of gay sex, trannies, intrusive social justice preaching, stronk-womyn feminism, and other crap that these women are into.

Writing departments also seem to be a haven for affirmative action hires, if you watch the credits for practically anything these days.

Blogger Peter Jones December 19, 2014 9:33 PM  

Weird. I saw the two videos at that guy's website. It was like tattooed lesbian elf "Days of Our Lives". Lots of jabbering, humping and pumping. Hi-res Leisure Suit Larry or Japanese tentacle sex.

Is this what video games are like now?

Anonymous Sarcophilus December 19, 2014 9:37 PM  

when BioWare was acquired by Electronic Arts.

And Nero burns while EA fiddles:

2011’s Dragon Age II unexpectedly bombed with consumers, despite, of course, the rave reviews from mainstream game news sites, who need only get a whiff of a paraplegic lesbian in an ill-fated love affair with a black transsexual to award a game full marks. Mass Effect 2 wasn’t a critical success with ordinary gamers either; they called it “filler” and said it was “uninspiring.” It, too, bored players with politics.

It gets better. Far better. Just don't read while eating, drinking or when a guffaw will become projectile.

Anonymous Mudz December 19, 2014 9:49 PM  

Turns out the BioWare lead writer is gay, and IIRC (can't find a link so throw a pinch of Schrondinger onto this) he's evinced a public distaste for writing with the intent of making the women heterosexually appealing (boob armour?). I'm not sure I understand it, but I'm guessing he's either the asexual variety of gay who 'sees no sex anywhere, even over where the sex is', or just... kind of a douchebag.

It's the oddest kind of hang-up. It's a game chock full of lewdery and psychotic genital madness, and he's discomforted by people asking them to make the women, you know, actually attractive? Make up your mind, man.

-

I love KOTOR. It's Star Wars. It's fun. It has lightsabers. My taste is therefore impeccable and laudatory. (Huh. That's actually a word.)

BG2 is still (I'm pretty sure) one of my favourite games of all time. But that was the game when I first decided RPG romances were stupid. Jaheira and Aerie were both irritating whiny elf girls, and I couldn't click through their dialogue fast enough. I'm supposed to pick one for my hero? Looks like a call to celibacy.

Romance plots are probably not easy to write into games though, but it just makes me think they should tighten their character plots to one romantic option or none. Zelda games sound fun. Rescue a princess, blow up a bad guy, what more do you want?

This open choice stuff actually works against RPG stories. Any sequels you make will either ignore the different developments, or have to expand dialogue exponentially. Its just bad weight.

MOO 3 and Deus Ex: Invisible War, for example, were heartbreakingly bad compared to the originals.

Seconded. Way to break a kid's heart, Microprose.
DE: IW was just... weird. I don't understand it as a game or a sequel. But now that you mention it...

Note to self: Find Deus Ex install disc.

Anonymous Daniel December 19, 2014 10:44 PM  

KOTOR was good, and yes, hasn't aged particularly well: the combat resolution simply can be done now in a far more elegant and skill-playable manner. The other metric on it that didn't work (and never works) is the "good-bad" spectrum of choices. All the "bad" choices are just terrible (squish the puppies and cackle or kiss the puppies and sigh) as opposed to realistic (take a beneficial shortcut in the game at the cost of dark side points would have been so easy).

But as a playable, winnable game that doesn't get completely retarded with cut scenes (I hate railroad cut scenes, don't see the point. If I want a meaningful story, I'll get a book. Everything else is just All My Base. Blech.) KOTOR is still not bad.

KOTOR 2 was massively unimpressive to me. No strategy at all, and the pace was forced (as opposed to 1 where I could play it as fast or slow as I felt like.) I wonder if Bioware was wandering at that point. The difference was subtle, but important.

Only cut scenes that are any fun are the comic ones in the Lego games. Those amuse me.

Anonymous Red Comet December 19, 2014 11:12 PM  

Eh, I heard Nero got into gaming fairly recently so he's probably reading hindsight opinions about Knights of the Old Republic.

Back in '03 when that game came out everyone loved it. Multiple Game of the Year awards. And this was back when game journos were just about all fans-turned-pro rather than today's posers and burnouts. Anyone who tries to say people were against KOTOR back in the day wasn't really there.

That said, Bioware will inevitably become another studio bought and destroyed by EA. To paraphrase Jim Rockford, this ain't the first body they buried and it won't be the last.

Anonymous Ulmer Miller December 19, 2014 11:14 PM  

Played KOTOR, didn't like it because the combat and plot felt a little too slow despite the big plot twist. Played Mass Effect and liked it despite the buggery brigade's inclusion of Gay Kaiden but like most players, I let him die. ME2 was just an orange/black color swatch of a game with a SJW veneer that shoved all the characters you fought with in the first game into cameo roles. Furthermore, the characters you spend the entire game recruiting are then given the same fate as your friends from ME1. ME3 flat out sucked. I really don't remember much about it.

Anonymous Smokey December 19, 2014 11:59 PM  

Even back then, the only joy I got from KOTOR was trolling Bastilla.

Everything else was just...meh.

The story wasn't very impressive, and the beginning seemed to drag on for fucking forever.

The companions were mostly mediocre, when not actively irritating. Carth in particular made me want to reach through the screen and strangle his whiny ass. There were maybe only 3 or 4 brief moments when he actually came off as cool.

KOTOR 2 pretty much improved on most aspects, and if Obsidian had actually been allowed to finish it properly, it would've been head and shoulders above the original.

I will admit though, that the ending for KOTOR 2 sucked ass, Darth Nihilus and Darth Sion both got wasted, and Kreia was annoying as shit.

Anonymous Jack Amok December 20, 2014 12:10 AM  

You must gather your party before venturing forth.

That got a snort of laughter.

Neverwinter Nights was ambitious, but obtuse. Maybe some patches eventually came out that made the editor work and I just missed them, but did anyone ever sucessfully create a playable level with that thing?

It was playing Baldur's Gate that I got one of the more interesting emotional responses I've had playing a game. I was attacked by some kobolds and proceeded to kill them, working my way through their village. As the last creature was dying, it called me a monster for slaughtering his entire village.

Wow. I really had. It made me stop and think for a minute, but the game never followed up or capitalized on that moment. Because of that, I've always assumed it was entirely unintentional on Bioware's part, just some filler dialog.

If you apply to Bioware to work as an artist or an animator or a sound designer or a composer, you have to show a demo reel, and anyone can tell within seconds if you're good at your craft or not. Your talent or lack of will be obvious...Writing departments also seem to be a haven for affirmative action hires, if you watch the credits for practically anything these days.

Huh. Imagine that.


It's the oddest kind of hang-up. It's a game chock full of lewdery and psychotic genital madness, and he's discomforted by people asking them to make the women, you know, actually attractive? Make up your mind, man.

Possibly he realizes their graphic talent isn't good enough to do that. Or maybe it's their bitpushers. Either way, the visual quality on display in the video Nero hosted is bad. Distorted faces, jerky movements, badly proportioned bodies, near-zero cloth effects, crappy -very crappy - fire animation with juvenile particle effects for the sparks...

Anonymous A. Nonymous December 20, 2014 1:08 AM  

@Steve:

My wife loves the Dragons Age and Mass Effect series. I've never played them myself, watched her play a few times and they all looked dreary and boring.

The feminine appeal seems to be in them being dress up games / relationship simulators.


Dragon Age is basically The Witcher remade as a dating sim.

Anonymous My Dead Gramps December 20, 2014 1:40 AM  

The fans of the original ME were talking out their assess about how ME2 ruined the franchise when it actually improved every aspect of the game. Note that before Gamergate, our dear Milo was happily ignorant of video games, so take what hey says about the actual content of them with a grain of salt.

Having said that, Dragon Age II was unforgivably garbage all around, and the flippant dismissal of the response to ME3s ending forever destroyed whatever faith a lot of people had left in Bioware.

Anonymous 204 December 20, 2014 2:08 AM  

Damn! The black one was a transsexual? I actively cultivated that relationship with the hope of seeing some lesbian sex. Glad it did not work.

Anonymous kh123 December 20, 2014 2:12 AM  

"...we were given a crash course in the 'gender spectrum,' then politely, but firmly told what we were and were not allowed to think and say."

So that's what was meant by significant improvements in employee relations and "fighting to keep the video game industry in check" (Gamasutra).

Anonymous Student in Blue December 20, 2014 3:06 AM  

@My Dead Gramps
The fans of the original ME were talking out their assess about how ME2 ruined the franchise when it actually improved every aspect of the game.

Nnnnnnnno.

Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed playing Mass Effect 2 more than Mass Effect 1. The gameplay was tighter, the characters were... I wouldn't necessarily say better, but definitely had far more room to breathe and explore their depths.

What ME2 didn't have was a good plot structure. It had very good gameplay and it was built to be pretty open-ended... but the amount of dramatic tension that could have been summoned was very lacking. Maybe it's because it was too open-ended.

Most fans I've seen who prefer ME1 to ME2 really enjoyed the vibe and the story structure, as well as a lot of logical underpinnings. ME2 was just showier and a fun time, but gave up some of that backstory for gameplay (goodbye, infinite ammo).

And ME3 was a further step of giving up on backstory for gameplay and being even showier. It was way too far, and the backstory and characters and the theatricality became a joke. So think of it that way, of ME2 being between ME1 and ME3, and not just by its number, but of progression by its (seeming) developmental ideology.

Anonymous Mudz December 20, 2014 5:14 AM  

Possibly he realizes their graphic talent isn't good enough to do that. Or maybe it's their bitpushers.

Yeah, the comment had a quality of politics about it; I figured it was either the kind of sexual polity where they pretend not to know what you mean (e.g. when you aver that females need to look female to be attractive females) or deliberately foul your point, and then squirm and try to rebut you without actually using the words that make actual sense because they fall outside the narrative...
Or, what you said, just covering up for a dismal effort.

Either way, the visual quality on display in the video Nero hosted is bad. Distorted faces, jerky movements, badly proportioned bodies, near-zero cloth effects, crappy -very crappy - fire animation with juvenile particle effects for the sparks...

I can believe it. There's a song that Leliana sings in DA1, which I listened to a good while before playing the game, and thought it was gorgeous. Then I saw her "perform it" in the game, and the animatography (wut?) made it kind of laughable and pedestrian.

After checking some links I think I was mixing David Gaider up with a comment from his SJW fan-base. But here's a link that I might have been thinking of; it touches on the subject.

http://dgaider.tumblr.com/post/69901751396/on-character-appearances-and-mods

http://forum.bioware.com/topic/490371-please-put-my-mind-at-ease-and-tell-me-the-current-dai-cassandra-has-a-placeholder-face/

(You can filter for BioWare only.)

It's still somewhat amusing. He's apparently very concerned about just the implication that men prefer pretty props to ugly shags. I guess that's between him and the market.

Curse you, socially insensitive sense of beauty and inferred motives!

His rationalisation wanders, but it looks like you were right about the graphics theory:

David Gaider: "We actually did prettier versions of Cassandra and Morrigan, and the new engine spat them back out and said, "What do you think you are? BF4?" Goddamn capricious game engines, man."

I actually took this to Matt Goldman, our Art Director, and said, "New engine aside, couldn't you at least have made Cassandra and Morrigan look exactly like they did before? They were universally pretty back then. Everyone on our forums thought so, even from the first screenshots. And now..."

And he wept, man. He wept.

Tsk. Crunch is hard on artists.


I can't really comment much on the rest without actually playing the game, or caring about it, since it's just opinions he has. It's just gonna be him vs market sense.

Kind of funny that he's bothered by 'appearance mods' and such, though, given his other arguments about inclusivity. Guess "choice" isn't as great when players choose to actually change the world to suit themselves.

Anonymous Heh December 20, 2014 5:30 AM  

I played ME3 exclusively in multi-player coop mission mode... and thus I totally missed all the SJW lesbo bullshit. ("Lesbians in that game? Huh?")

Blogger Eric December 20, 2014 5:43 AM  

Note to self: Find Deus Ex install disc.

It's periodically on sale on Steam for less than $5.

Blogger Bies Podkrakowski December 20, 2014 5:51 AM  

Ok, you did it. I', going to reinstall Planescape Torment with all additional and fan created materials (not that there is much of them, sadly). Anybody here waits for Torment Tides of Numenera cursing inevitable delays?

Anonymous maniacprovost December 20, 2014 11:52 AM  

Yeah, hope I finish WL2 before Numenera comes.

Anonymous Plethon December 20, 2014 5:35 PM  

Mages are disgustingly overpowered, but on the higher difficulties (on PC— the console version is handicapped), Dragon Age: Origins is a satisfying experience, and the voice–acting is solid. When it was released, that was how most people experienced it. It's just that all media live on now in fandom, and fandom attached itself to the relationships (which are completely avoidable), and those are what live. While DA:O is still playable (unlike KOTOR, which was better in its time, but is clunky and awkward now), anyone playing it now is approaching it with that baggage. (And I can't imagine what A. Nonymous is thinking about DA being The Witcher remade as a dating sim: Not only do the games not play remotely similarly, The Witcher is one of the porniest games I've ever played, though it is made to appeal to the male mind instead of the female.)

And while Eric is right that Deus Ex: Invisible War was a heartbreaking letdown, sometimes games do get good sequels, even if it takes a while: Deus Ex: Human Revolution was very enjoyable, and while I think the original is more impressive, DXHR is much more playable from a modern perspective.

Blogger Joshua Dyal December 20, 2014 7:10 PM  

Too bad about Old Republic. I had high hopes for that game. That's what sold me on BioWare's SJW infiltration.

Then again, I never played any Dragon Ages or Mass Effects,

Anonymous Student in Blue December 21, 2014 12:53 AM  

@Plethon
(And I can't imagine what A. Nonymous is thinking about DA being The Witcher remade as a dating sim: Not only do the games not play remotely similarly, The Witcher is one of the porniest games I've ever played, though it is made to appeal to the male mind instead of the female.)

Exactly. A dating sim, not a porn video. You know, those dating sims that are 100% chock full of bluepill male daydreams about what relationships would be like, as compared to porn videos which are 100% chock full of bluepill male daydreams about what sex would be like?

Anonymous A. Nonymous December 21, 2014 5:24 PM  

@Plethon:

I can't imagine what A. Nonymous is thinking about DA being The Witcher remade as a dating sim: Not only do the games not play remotely similarly, The Witcher is one of the porniest games I've ever played, though it is made to appeal to the male mind instead of the female.

The premises are functionally identical: The story plays out in a quasi-medieval realm threatened by a magically-assisted horde encroaching on its borders, with the player assuming the part of one of the last remaining members of an ancient and somewhat mistrusted order of sexually-sterile monster-fighters who gain numerous superhuman powers by undergoing a magical/alchemical bioengineering process that is known to kill potential candidates.

Anonymous JoshM December 22, 2014 11:30 AM  

I always get confused between Black Isle and Bioware and who has done what. Bioware created the Infinity engine, no? The engine which, in my opinion, was used for two of the greatest cRPGs of all time - Planescape: Torment and BG2. Although I think PS:T was done by Black Isle and not Bioware.

I believe Bioware also created the Aurora engine, used to create Neverwinter Nights. And then Obsidian, successor to Black Isle, created Neverwinter Nights 2 and NWN2 Mask of the Betrayer, far superior to the original in terms of the story. I still think that Mask of the Betrayer is one of the better story lines I have ever encountered in a video game.

I think somebody referenced it in an earlier comment, but two games worth paying attention to are Pillars of Eternity and Torment: Tides of Numenara. Both are games funded by Kickstarter, with the former being developed by Obsidian and the latter being developed by inXile (with Chris Avellone as a writer). I think that both are slated for release in 2015.

I found Dragon Age: Origins to be pretty meh, which sucked because I was excited for it at the time. IIRC The Wizards of the Coast refused to license rights to the D&D universe, so Bioware had to come up with a completely new world, history, characters, etc. Pretty ambitious but ultimately not very memorable. I haven't played any of the other Dragon Age games. To be honest, I'd rather replay any of the games I mentioned in my post before playing another Dragon Age or Mass Effect game.

OpenID ymarsakar December 23, 2014 9:12 AM  

http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/2014/12/21/planescape-torment-2007-retrospective/

There's a bunch of links there I collated, that fans of Planescape Torment might like.

On the topic of dating sims and Bioware trying to cash in on it, that's another topic I've thought on before. Except Bioware doesn't do it in the Japanese way (the original way), which split the demographics for hetereosexual girls, heterosexual men, girls that like homosexual men, homosexual males that like homosexual girls, etc etc. A Bishonen or otome visual novel or dating sim was specifically designed for certain demographics. Just like bishoujo games are designed for heterosexual males.

On that note, pay close attention to the vision document for Planescape Torment, where they talked about appealing to the (nerdy) male ego. Anna and Fall from Grace and even Deionarra came out quite well in the end. If Bioware was capitalizing on that trend, if trend it was, they failed. While Planescape Torment's "visual novel like themes" was ended before they could begin a trend.

PST might also age better, if you can get the HD resolution mod and read the text without going blind. Since it's mostly a text based game, it's difficult to age it compared to KOTOR, that was more game play mechanic based (cinematic lightstaber and force fights). For those that want to save their time, there is also a novel out there on the net, containing the digitized writing (not a novellization, the actual digital word dump), that was edited into an ebook or doc.


On the topic of Bioware's sexual writing prowess, I did say to the fans on their forums that they would be better engaged to utilize Japanese software for their romantic interests.

Of reviews of games, it was easy for me to see on metacritic the difference between journalist views and consumer views. When the rating is 90 on ME3 and the consumer reviews are more than 20 points below... something funny is going on. Funny in the Enron sense rather than the comedic sense.

At the time of the ME3 ending journalist vs citizen fight, it was like trying to get the true story of Benghazi or Fast/Furious out of Hussein Obola. The more you asked, the more they slapped you in the face. Until finally, finally, we found out what really went on with the ending. No oversight by the other writers.

A lot of consumers were belittled for being entitled, yes, but also for being ignorant (Silicon Valley sense) and not being able to make their own games (too stupid the SV and SJW assumed). However, given that I knew the Japanese had done everything Bioware couldn't even dream of, better than Bioware couldn't even dream of doing, that didn't work too well on me as a favorable impression of their Artistic Integrity. But it fooled a lot of their fan(atics) and consumers, making them wait on their criticisms more.

On BG2, the expansion and the fan mods (which continued for years afterwards, even during NWN2) were great and very entertaining. Splicing in different characters, romances, and quest arcs into the main BG2 storyline combined the best of fan mods with the main epic story line. With weidu and programming batch files, it was even relatively easy to learn to program in. Writing my own companion AI tactics and scripting was challenging and useful when the tactical mods came out. The Irenicus mod was also funny and valuable in the RPG sense. A better insight into the villain.

Tons of Total Babes: This game will have lots of babes that make the player go
“wow.” There will be fiendish babes, human babes, angelic babes, asian babes,
and even undead babes. These babes will be present without nipple-age and will
all regrettably behave within the TSR Code of Ethics.


That was part of their selling pitch, which they didn't mention in the public and when the suits weren't quite suits. What PST did differently was in making an actual personality for those characters, which the Japanese also do very well.

OpenID secretarcade December 25, 2014 2:14 AM  

http://culture.vg/reviews/in-depth/dragon-age-inquisition-2014-ps4.html

Decent review of it, doesn't seem like a very good game.

" Ultimately what it comes down to is I compare this to other similar games; games like Ubisoft's great free-roaming titles, Mass Effect, other Dragon Age games, even FF12 — Inquisition comes off as lazy and badly thought out at best. And all of this without talking about the many many glitches I encountered, though I'm sure they'll be patched.
It boggles my mind as to how a game such as this can win an award labelled "Game of the Year". I think the only part I could point to that seemed well developed was the companion plotlines, which are generally well thought out and interesting."

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