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Everything posted by Archaon

  1. Why is it that whenever I discover that a western RPG uses a predefined character or set of characters, I immediately stop caring about it? This never happens with JRPGs.
  2. Oh come on. This is BioWare we're talking about. There HAS to be an "I only did it for the reward" cop-out. I mean, er, option.
  3. In single-player RPGs, I usually do one male run and then one female run, just to see what the differences are. I generally don't do MMOs, but I did have some brief stints with Anarchy Online and WoW. In AO, I had to play as a woman because, when viewed from the back, the male characters had WAY too much hip movement in their walking animations and it just looked weird. In WoW I played as a woman because all the men were ugly as sin. And so that people would lavish me with gifts (which they did). And because the only real reason I tried it was because all my friends were so into it, and I think a cute little gnome with pink hair was the absolute last thing they expected me to play as.
  4. I prefer the Game Gear version, personally. Too bad he only does the first six levels, because level 7 had the best BGM. Speaking of Game Gear, though, had some good tracks.So did Halley Wars, but sadly I can only find a Let's Play of that with some guy talking all over it. It may not exactly be obscure, but the can never be overstated enough.Terminator on the Sega CD. And the bonus stage from Cool Spot. Why not.
  5. Seems everyone is pissed off about that little gem. Every Dragon Age thread I've seen has someone complaining about this, and Penny Arcade's most recent comic features it. I'm a little disappointed; I didn't really take BioWare for the type to do this kind of crap. But then maybe it was EA getting their claws into them.
  6. Assuming they don't do another Indigo Prophecy and suddenly pull evil Internet cyborgs out of their asses in the middle of a compelling murder mystery.
  7. Hey, if you like fantasy RPGs and you want to get into some BioWare stuff, pick up the Baldur's Gate trilogy. That's real-time battle, it won't set you back $60, and I can almost guarantee that it's better than Dragon Age. Not to imply that Dragon Age is bad; just that Baldur's Gate is that awesome.
  8. I don't know. I can see how people might have problems with it. There's a fair bit of empty, boring backtracking if you want to see everything the game has to offer, and combat basically boiled down to one of two tactics. If you're a melee user, buff, click nearest enemy, wait until everything's dead. If you're a force user, FORCE STORM FORCE STORM FORCE STORM FORCE STORM FORCE STORM FORCE STORM FORCE STORM
  9. People didn't like the games much, but the music is great. This is actually my favourite track of the entire Street Fighter series. (Awesomeness begins at 0:58.) Also, best drum break/guitar solo ever.
  10. Fallout 3 is better. It's not perfect, but it's definitely much more entertaining than the Elder Scrolls games. I'm someone who honestly had to make an effort to play Oblivion for more than five minutes at a time, but I played Fallout 3 from start to finish and enjoyed most of it. Except the ending. The ending will piss you off unless you have the Broken Steel expansion. Anyway, Dragon Age. I've decided to play an elf, because from looking at the game's wiki, the Arcane Warrior class seems pretty damn cool; perhaps even a little overpowered, in fact, depending on how stingy/generous the game is with mana. Taking buffs into account, it almost looks like they have the potential to be better warriors than actual Warriors, and then they have spells on top of that.
  11. That depends on why you didn't like Oblivion. If you disliked it because it felt dull, unimmersive and unengaging, you should be fine, because the folks at BioWare are actually capable of drawing you in, writing compelling stories and creating characters that act like human beings. Also, you won't have to install a mod just so that the levelling system isn't a miserable, crippled, unintuitive wreck.
  12. I have to say, I'm kind of disappointed by the game's "Background" system. The way I heard it phrased, I was expecting more choices, or at least more freedom to choose. Instead it's just "You chose to be a human fighter, therefore your background is Human Noble." Granted, some class/race combinations might offer you a choice between two backgrounds, but it's still pretty underwhelming. Speaking of lack of freedom, I'm also not best pleased about how the game pre-picks your starting skills for you. "You're a City Elf? OK, then you use dual weapons. No, you don't get to change it. This is MY character. I'm just letting you borrow it." Now, I grant you that I am a real stickler for customization in RPGs, so maybe I'm overreacting. Heck, I only know this from playing with the character creator pre-release, so maybe it will have been changed in the final game. However, what with that and the infamous "SEX AND VIOLENCE!" trailer, I'm keeping my guard up. We'll see how it performs when it's out. EDIT: Wait, what? It's out already? I could have sworn the last ad I saw said November 11th. THIS CHANGES EVERYTHING.
  13. Am I the only one who thinks the Terminator theme is off-sync? Every time I hear it I feel like there's something I'm not getting. The beat and the melody just don't mesh and it sounds completely wrong.
  14. Presumably they had the same experience as the rest of us brave few who actually dislike Family Guy. Your friends suddenly start quoting it in the middle of conversation and you wonder what they're on about. They tell you that it's from this show called "Family Guy", it's totally awesome, you should check it out. They will not stop raving about it, so you figure, hey, it must be pretty good if they ALL like it so much, maybe you'll see what the fuss is about. Then you watch one of the DVDs and spend the next four hours saying "What the hell? THIS IS TERRIBLE. AND SO ARE MY FRIENDS."
  15. It's probably to stop people from killing tough enemies by whittling them down with repeated suicide attacks.
  16. This game would be so much better if I could just move with the d-pad and jump by pressing a button. As it is, the wonky controls and retarded physics are frustrating me too much for me to really get into it. Especially on those goddamned levels where you have to avoid killing anything.
  17. Sure, but you're comparing this to "real" jobs rather than minimum wage grunt work that you do to make some initial money and work your way up the dignity ladder. In terms of that, I'd sure as hell rather be a tester than, say, working in a fast food joint and having to deal with obnoxious fat people and hot grease burns.
  18. Granted, but having the obvious good/obvious evil choice doesn't necessarily mean "ridiculously altruistic messiah" vs. "crazy mass murderer". You can tone the options down without changing the nature of the choice. You know what I think causes this problem, though? Too many damn sidequests. The developers are so concerned with giving the player a bajillion ways to occupy themselves when they're not following the main story that they just end up becoming shallow diversions. Maybe if they'd cut the number down and have longer, more involved sidequests, it'd feel less like "Bullshitting around for more XP and loot to tackle the main quest" and more a part of the whole experience, and would also permit a wider range of choices to make. Renegade Shepard is awesome. Only problem is that you never know exactly what he's going to say before he says it, so you can't be sure if you're going to be a wonderfully snide jackass or just a jock waving his guns around.
  19. Well, ideally there would be, but that's a little much to expect unless we're all OK with RPG development times reaching Duke Nukem Forever levels. However, if there must be two choices and two choices only; one heroic, one not. Yes, it may not be very realistic, but I think it's better to be a little unrealistic than to have the player saying "Bull. I could have done that right if the game would've let me." We don't care so much when the character that represents "us" never fails, and to have failure forced upon you just leads to pointless frustration. And of course, the other option accommodates those who have no intention of being heroes. (But seriously, that's another thing. If you're going to allow 'evil' characters, stop doing this bullshit where 'evil' means 'demanding a bigger reward for a quest and then killing them when they can't come up with it'. This is mostly a BioWare thing, but still. You want to be a villain, not a school bully.)
  20. I wouldn't even say that. It's strong writing and characterisation that make the difference. Even if the story itself is just a generic "You are hero! Save the universe!" deal, good writing can make you really appreciate the impact you make on the world and people's lives throughout the game. If you care about the people in the game you will care about how your actions affect them, for good or for ill. This is one of the major reasons why I can't play the Elder Scrolls games. I just don't give a shit about anyone in the world because they're all so bland, and that in turn makes it difficult to care about anything else.
  21. Realistically, yes, but we're talking about video games here. Realism is not inherently desirable. "Realism" in Fallout 3, for instance, would have been getting murdered in your bedroom and dying unceremoniously before you even knew what was going on in the Vault, but it wouldn't have made for much of a game. Besides, I'm not saying "Don't give us tough decisions." I'm saying "Don't force failure upon us." Going back to The Pitt, I could think of several different ways that I could have resolved the situation that wouldn't have screwed anyone over, (anyone who didn't deserve it, at least) but I just didn't have the option. I was stuck with "being a bastard" or "being a bastard". Now, of course they can't possibly account for every solution that the players might come up with, and there's also time constraints to think about, but I'm pretty convinced that in this case, they were just determined to have their little morally grey scenario. They didn't want us to come out of that quest satisfied, and that, to me, seems counter-productive, because there's simply nothing to be gained by not allowing the player a satisfying ending in games like this; as I said, we don't get to watch the protagonist cope with their failure and grow closer to them for it, because we ARE the protagonist. So we just end up frustrated.
  22. I recently managed to make Fallout 3 not crash every ten seconds when I run it. Therefore, I've spent some time playing it recently, and I got to thinking. By and large, Japanese roleplaying games are only really called "roleplaying" games because nobody's bothered to come up with another term for them. Cloud, Vyse, Valkyrie; we play WITH these characters, but we don't really play AS them. It's true that we have control over Cloud, and we can decide where he goes, how he fights, and maybe even what he says every now and then, but at the end of the day, Cloud is still Cloud. He's not supposed to be "us". He's his own character with his own traits. When it's time to smack down some monsters, we're right there with him, but when it's time for plot, our only job is to sit quietly and watch how things unfold. Now, that's not to say there's anything wrong with this. It's a perfectly valid way of doing things. After all, we still watch and enjoy many other forms of media even though the protagonist is not our personal avatar, and video games are no different. You can still tell a good story without involving the player directly. However, it does necessitate a different approach to things. I mentioned Fallout 3 earlier, so let's take a look at that. There was a downloadable expansion released for this game a while ago, called "The Pitt", which promised a "lengthy quest with morally ambiguous choices". For those of you who don't want the plot spoiled, I'll try to keep this short, but you might want to stop reading here regardless. Ultimately, unless you just stop playing the quest altogether, you have to choose between leaving a group of diseased slaves to be worked and tortured to death, or killing the man who is keeping the slaves and kidnapping his newborn baby. Also, if you do this, his wife (who isn't involved with the slaves and just wants what's best for her kid) will become hostile and you'll have to kill her too. As you can imagine, neither of these options leaves you feeling particularly heroic. Now, if it had been Cloud in this situation, it wouldn't be a problem. We're interested in seeing how Cloud deals with a decision like this; or, if we actually get to push Cloud in one direction or the other, we're interested in seeing how he will feel about his actions. Perhaps Cloud will end up feeling like a bastard after making his choice, and we'll sympathise; or perhaps he'll press on, confident that he did the right thing, and we'll encourage him. However, Fallout 3 is a western RPG, with a character that we designed ourselves. This isn't happening to Cloud. This is happening to US. There's no external character to sympathise with here. WE are the ones who end up feeling like bastards, and we do not like that, because what we want is to kick ass, fix the situation altogether and feel like heroes. (Unless you actually want to be a bastard, of course.) There's a similar difference in scripted events; cutscenes that demand that the protagonist be captured, outwitted or otherwise defeated. When it happens to Cloud, we're angry, but it's a "good" anger; we're angry because we're attached to Cloud and we want him to succeed. When we're angry, it's because the characters matter to us, and that is a good sign. Contrast Fallout 3. In The Pitt, you're supposed to disguise yourself as a slave and infiltrate the place. If you try to just barge right in and slaughter everyone, you get beaten unconscious and taken as a slave anyway. No matter how powerful you are, no matter what kind of gear you have, you WILL get taken down as soon as you step through the front door. Now, when this happens to our character, to "us", we're still angry, but it's for a completely different reason. "That's bullshit! I should be able to fight my way out of this! I could kick these guys' asses if the game would just let me!" This has got nothing to do with attachment to characters and everything to do with the game having the audacity to cripple us in such a way. It's not that we failed; it's that the game HAD us fail. Now, in a JRPG, the protagonist has to fail sometimes. We don't want Cloud to be a "perfect" hero, because that would be boring. Sometimes he has to falter, and sometimes he has to show his flaws. That's part of making a character relatable, believable and lovable. However, in a western RPG, this is not necessary. We're already attached to the protagonist, because the protagonist is us. We don't want ourselves to fail. If our avatar has flaws, we decide what they are. When our avatar suffers defeat, it should be because of our own actions and mistakes, not some forced plot event. When our avatar is in a difficult situation, we don't want to "find out" how they'll deal with it, because it's entirely up to us, and therefore we already know how they'll deal with it. So when we're forced to be a bastard with "morally ambiguous choices", it removes the positive element (watching a character develop) and just leaves the frustration. It is for this reason that I say, "Let us be heroes." It's OK to deprive Cloud of the chance to be a hero. When Cloud couldn't be a hero, it resulted in Aeris' death, which was undoubtedly one of the defining moments of the game. It is not OK to deprive US of the chance. That doesn't mean you have to hand us our victories on a silver platter; by all means, make us work hard for our happy ending and it'll be all the sweeter when we get it. But do NOT put us in a situation that we simply cannot overcome no matter what we do, because all that does is piss us off. Let us be heroes.
  23. This is totally a guy wearing huge sunglasses and masturbating.
  24. It isn't. We just have the same situation as we do with nuclear weapons. One person makes a move and then everyone dies. Every single one of these seemingly innocent "meet-ups" is a facade to create the illusion of good relations, when in reality they are permeated by a thick haze of barely-contained carnage. There is no openness. There is no trust. There is only deceit and bloodlust.
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