What do you think of the game? (spoiler)

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Aqua-chan
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Postby Aqua-chan » Sat Feb 06, 2010 12:14 pm

If what you're looking for is old school BioWare games, yeah, you're setting yourself up for disappointment. The company itself is in a completely different state than it was when Baldur's Gate 2 was made. Even this last attempt to get back to the golden age via the "spiritual successor" Dragon Age was proof that BioWare just doesn't possess, or recognize, what it was that made the BG series so successful.

As to whether or not Mass 2 is an RPG... I think it's a hell of a lot closer to being an RPG than Fallout 3 or Fable 2, both of which we feature on the site as well. But it's slipping by cutting out the inventory, character building, and "freedom of choice" elements. Some people use the word "streamlining", but I think "dumbing down" is more accurate. The old skill trees and inventory systems weren't perfect, but I'd rather be forced to micromanage than have very little choice in developing my character at all.

Mass 2, to me, is teetering on the edge of uncertainty as to what 3 is going to be like. BW can either take the final installment in the trilogy further in the direction of games like the Half Life series and make it a really challenging shooter with a story, as Xan said. Or they can try to get back into the way of the original game, bring back that energy and invest it in writing rather than combat mechanics.

That's not to say I think Mass 2 doesn't have moments of great writing, but it really didn't unfold as well as the original did.

And... I have to grind my teeth every time somebody pulls the "consoles are ruining the RPG genre!" line. All I have to say is don't lay blame on the console-playing audience for substandard RPGs that are coming out. Blame the game companies that conclude the cutting-edge graphics inherent in consoles are a viable replacement for story elements. BioWare, Bethesda, maybe even Lionhead - they are perfectly capable of creating a great role playing experience if that was ever their intention. That they choose not to is the source of the problem.
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Salidin54
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Postby Salidin54 » Sat Feb 06, 2010 7:04 pm

I guess I see how that could be. Also I thought Martin Sheen's voice-acting was really good, which is what made me not hate him as much as anyone else did.
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jklinders
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Postby jklinders » Sat Feb 06, 2010 8:26 pm

It's hard to be moved by poor voice over work or acting, either towards hatred or liking. The Illusive Man came across as he should have because of great acting by Martin Sheen.

A good character should evoke emotion, otherwise both the writing and the actor have failed.

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Postby GawainBS » Sun Feb 07, 2010 4:36 am

jklinders wrote:It's hard to be moved by poor voice over work or acting, either towards hatred or liking. The Illusive Man came across as he should have because of great acting by Martin Sheen.

A good character should evoke emotion, otherwise both the writing and the actor have failed.


Completely agree with this. I hate TIM as a character as well, but I love the way he was portraited.

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Postby Nightmare » Fri Feb 12, 2010 3:34 am

Heh, where to start. I just finished the game, and I have thoughts aplenty. I could honestly just copy + paste paragraphs from what other people have said since most of my thoughts have been covered, but I'll just go through all of it bit by bit. Be warned, it's long.

To clarify, I do like the first game quite a bit, though it has a laundry list of flaws: the poor shooter mechanics, poor writing and voice acting in places, insultingly bad side missions/planets, horrible inventory system, etc.

For starters, I went through the game with a Paragon male character from the first game, most plot decisions where made paragon (saved Council, etc.). I think I'd like to go through the game again with my female character save, since honestly, a number of my complaints about writing and voice acting might disappear. The female voice acting for Shepard in the first game was *miles* better than the male voice acting, and I can only assume that will be true in the second game. It's tough to enjoy a game when you want to beat the main character over the head.

Generally speaking, I liked Mass Effect 2 quite a bit more than the first game. Things that were good: the general elimination of many annoying parts was welcome, the writing was certainly a lot better (relatively speaking, though), and was more fun to play.

STORY
Frankly, for the first 35 hours (finished in 38), I thought the second game had a better story. And then the endgame happened. ME2 left me with a very sharp and profound feeling of "That's it?" at the end of the game. I really feel like after destroying/saving the Collector station, that the Illusive Man would've been the final villain for the game. Cerebrus was the enemy in the first, and even if you're on-side with them in this game, you still never trust TIM. I really thought they were going to pull a Melissan from Throne of Bhaal and have TIM as the final villain of the game, but...no. Instead it's some GIANT TERMINATOR-esque REAPER.

Because I feel the suicide mission was the last mission and that it was so very short, the entire flow of the game's story was ruined for me, since so much of the time is spent building your team (which I loved doing), that the plot is minuscule in comparison. The first game, you assembled your team, and then had a ton of plot to accomplish and an endgame that took a few hours. In this, you occasionally take plot breaks while you assemble the squad, and then use the full complement for a mission that lasts an hour. Deflating and pointless.

CHARACTERS
The NPCs in ME2 are a tremendous step forward from the first game, though personally, they're still not up to the quality of the Dragon Age NPCs, which were some of the best in years. (That's the last and only comparison to DA:O, though. They're entirely different games in different settings and genres for different audiences.) I liked how all of the ones from the first game were included in different ways, and really liked how Tali and Garrus joined you and were more fleshed out. Other characters I liked were Thane, Miranda, Jack (surprisingly), and most especially Mordin.

The loyalty mechanic worked well to give you quests and a chance to make each character shine, and usually, it worked well. The only quibble I had was that with some, the romance got in the way of furthering character development. For example, my PC had zero sexual interest in Jack, but I still wanted to talk to her after her loyalty mission to start getting her into a more stable and open mental place. Or have her reject my therapist-in-command routine. Either. Just SOME continuation.

Generally, the NPCs were better written, had superior voice acting, and were more interesting than the NPCs of the first game. The two with potential were fleshed out in the second game, Wrex (the best from the first game) has a memorable appearance, and even Kaiden and Liara had some good moments in the second game, overcoming their blandness.

Which leads me to something that's been mentioned regarding the romances. I really hope I can keep the romanced character in the second game instead of the one from the first. From the first game, Kaiden is bland, Liara suffers from some pretty bad writing and voice acting, and I just personally have a strong, irrational hatred of Ashley. So, really, I'd rather continue any romance in the second game.

GAME MECHANICS
The combat is better. Period. No one will argue that.

I liked SOME of the "streamlining", but it did go too far and really did seem dumbed down. The lack of skills and ways to build a character was unfortunate, and the tier system fell apart for me at higher levels because I was waiting for four levels before I could upgrade a single skill.

I liked the inital armour customization, but that you couldn't do it with your followers was annoying. The non-removable helmets from the DLC armour meant I didn't use them once. That Miranda only had an air mask on WHEN WE WERE IN A HARD VACUUM bugged me.

Likewise with weapons, I didn't like the lack of options. One weapon and then finding one more? I liked having ammo powers as powers instead of upgrades, and the research mechanic was good enough that ME2's "inventory" system is still superior to the first game. Still, I liked the part of the world-building in the first game where they introduced the differences between a lot of the corporations and manufacturers, personally. Finally, I liked how each NPC only got two weapons. Far more clean and better than the first game.

The hacking/bypass minigames were much better. Nothing really to say about it, they were just a lot better.

OTHER THOUGHTS
I missed having a big place to explore, like the Citadel in the first game. ME2 had numerous medium-sized areas (Omega, Illium, the Citadel), but no BIG places like the Citadel where you could spend a while walking around and exploring.

By eliminating the stupid side planets from the first game, in turn it meant far less side quests in ME2, and while that's a little preferable, still a little disappointing.

Finding materials on planets was tedious, but being the unabashed astronomy/sci-fi geek that I am, I still loved exploring each star system and reading the brief history and description of the planets. One thing the first game was excellent at was world-building, and this continued the trend. The planet you find the reaper near? The one with the huge valley from a very ancient mass accelerator round? I remember that planet from the first game.

Voice acting was mostly top notch.

Writing and dialogue was less ham-fisted, but suffered in places. The writing was much "less bad" than the first game, but I'm not sure I can call it "good" writing. As Buck mentioned, this game didn't feature any conversation on the level that your conversations with Sovereign or Vigil (my fav. moments of the series, really) were at. The Illusive Man was good, but since his character never really went anywhere...

Generally liked a lot of the game, though. :)

Can't think of much else for the moment. Told ya I had a lot to say. :D
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Postby Darth Gavinius » Fri Feb 12, 2010 7:58 am

Nightmare wrote:
Because I feel the suicide mission was the last mission and that it was so very short, the entire flow of the game's story was ruined for me, since so much of the time is spent building your team (which I loved doing), that the plot is minuscule in comparison. The first game, you assembled your team, and then had a ton of plot to accomplish and an endgame that took a few hours. In this, you occasionally take plot breaks while you assemble the squad, and then use the full complement for a mission that lasts an hour. Deflating and pointless.



I have to say I agree with you there. I had half expected that there would be more to the Suicide mission aspect of the game. Doing something like what was done with KOTOR 2 (return to Onderron) would have been interesting where you split your team and choose people to fulfil the goals but still control them, and *SPOILER* given there is a portion of the game where you breifly control joker, that would have been possible within the mechanics of the game. Something that had involved more going on in the system beyond the Omega 4 mass relay would have been better.

The endgame could have had a lot of meaningful choices... but instead was pretty linear the outcome only decided by who you choose at key moments. A situation where you have to sacrifice your team members for the objective would have been more interesting than they way they decided to implement it and if you complete ME2 first time without any squad members dying... it kinda loses its replayability, why would you do something different just to kill people? Well unless you really hate Miranda :laugh:!
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Nightmare
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Postby Nightmare » Fri Feb 12, 2010 9:56 am

The more I think about it, the more I get disappointed with how they end the game. The entire plot is based around stopping the Collector's take humans, and then...they're taking them because they need them to build some giant Terminator Reaper Machine? And now the reapers aren't just machines, they're sentient mixes of organic and non-organic material, and this is how they reproduce? I smell retcon so they could introduce weaknesses for the final game.

Really, WHO at Bioware really thought a giant human machine at the end of the game was a good idea? *THAT* was the Collector plan?
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Postby Mandalorianx » Sat Feb 20, 2010 4:59 am

the Awesome:
The story was the best part of the game for me, the only drawback was that your old team was just a tiny little part of it. with only tali, garrus, joker and the Doc from the old ship. and that what you did in the first game had little to do with what happend to this game. like i saved the consul and they where like dint lissen and only gave me my specter status back and told me to be out in the terrminus systems. for me it was like WTF! after all we defited Saren, the reaper ship, the geth that attacked cithedel, and they dindt do a thing.
so i qoute '' Thats why i hate politics ''!

the other thing that was cool was the armor; to be able to costumize it was awesome, to give you the stats and the look you wanted....to bad you could'nt do that with the casual cloths.

the tech lab and its upgrade system was also great, insted of only have to deside between 2 upgrades on guns and armor,there was like unlimeted upgrade(or untill you've got all)

another thing the crew. even thou i miss the old one, the new crew is cool, everyone being difrent, with the story and all. and it was cool that ther where more crew aliens now, with thane, mordin and even legion.

now the dislikes...(not so importat, but)
a few bugs that i found, like when going to cover, you would just turn you back in the open and get shot at.and more

the loyality of you crew mates. it was like, you didnt even have to get to know them to get the missions, take jack...first playthrou never spoke to here, and then kelly tels me to talk to here, and boom get a missions. it's like they just trust you from the begining or something. no funn talking to the crew unless romanse or for info(or for old times sake with garrus, tali, joker and the Doc).

jacob.he was like a replacement for kaiden. you with the allience background and all.find a new character! nuff said!

and no blindfire from cover(good for keeping the enemys away from you when you health is low.and smater foes, an asari with low helt charging me is not comen sense!

the same old character costumize. no even some new things there. its good that you can inport the old character and ther looks and all, but comeon, the same costumize options from the first game.

and then the crews skills/abilletis, only 4 abilletis :eek:
there the first game was better!!

and the cooldown... use 1 skil and a cooldown on all skills. first time i was like NOOOOO whats going on!!

but overall the game was bloody god like.:laugh:
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