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Bioware - Are Their Games Actually That Good?


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#21
Pop

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Anyway, I think what the problem here is that so many people can't seem to distuingish "good" from "entertaining". It's a very common misconception that you cannot enjoy something that is friggin' terrible. I recognize the fact that Planescape: Torment is a better game than Knights of the Old Republic. This does not mean that I have to get more enjoyment out of Planescape: Torment (if it did mean that, I would be a pretentious lugnut). Basically, it's the same as it is with movies: I recognize that American History X is a much better movie than The Mummy. Yet the Mummy's campiness entertains me, whereas American History X depresses the hell out of me. This is why, given the choice, I would much rather watch The Mummy.

And this is precisely what is wrong with gaming press in general. It ranks enternaining higher than good, George Lucas higher than Terry Gilliam.

I find this notion that the purpose of games isn't entertainment but rather artistic expression rather amusing. Artistic worth is a secondary good as far as games are concerned. We only play artistic games because they're fun, not because they're artistic. If Bioshock was just a passive Disney ride through Rapture nobody would care about it. Hell, plenty of people around here piss and moan about the gameplay, and they poo-poo the game as a result because who the **** cares if this boring game has artistic merit. The only reason I don't agree with them is because I didn't find Bioshock boring. I did, however, find Planescape: Torment to be an awful grind.

#22
Hümmelgümpf

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I find this notion that the purpose of games isn't entertainment but rather artistic expression rather amusing. Artistic worth is a secondary good as far as games are concerned. We only play artistic games because they're fun, not because they're artistic.

Speak for yourself. Pathologic, Tension, The 7th Guest are not fun, yet I enjoy them and rank them much higher than generic BioWare game #17.

If Bioshock was just a passive Disney ride through Rapture nobody would care about it.

This was sarcasm, right? Because you gave us one of the best descriptions of BioShock I've ever heard.

Hell, plenty of people around here piss and moan about the gameplay, and they poo-poo the game as a result because who the **** cares if this boring game has artistic merit.

"Boring" and "not fun" are completely different things. Is Seven Samurai a fun movie? Hardly. Does this fact make it a boring film?

The only reason I don't agree with them is because I didn't find Bioshock boring.

You can't be serious, you really can't.

I did, however, find Planescape: Torment to be an awful grind.

You know, among the things that can render a person absolutely uncredible in my eyes statements like this come on top.

Edited by Hümmelgümpf, 19 April 2008 - 12:07 PM.


#23
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Speak for yourself. Pathologic, Tension, The 7th Guest are not fun, yet I enjoy them and rank them much higher than generic BioWare game #17.

Well aren't you a man of refined taste and stature. The bug up your ass must love the rosy smell.

This was sarcasm, right? Because you gave us one of the best descriptions of BioShock I've ever heard.

No, not really. Bioshock was the best game of '07, and it was a good thing for the gaming industry. Orthodox roleplayers like yourself can baaaw all you like about it, but there will always be people with **** opinions. Hell, there are people like Terry Gilliam 18 years after his last decent picture.

You can't be serious, you really can't.

As serious as the crisis facing real choice-based gameplay in the current gaming market.

You know, among the things that can render a person absolutely uncredible in my eyes statements like this come on top.

There are two kinds of people I consider it a credit to horrify and mock. First, there are the objectivists, and second, there are the piss-drinking, feces-flinging chimps that ascribe to that certain Codexian ideology, present company included. It's so delightful the way they air their bitterness and their feelings of persecution and belittlement. Because you know by the way they talk that they know nobody's really listening. They're the Westboro Baptist Church of the gaming community. They reside in their compound endlessly discussing how God Hates **** the gaming industry is getting dumber and losing worth. God has told the the correct way to make games, and by enabling the sin of non-Codexian game design, the gaming industry and all who follow it are condemned to hell. Hell, they might have only 2 or 3 protesting members in any one place against many dozens of opponents, but they're right and they know it. You almost admire it, in a perverse sort of way.

Edited by Pop, 19 April 2008 - 01:00 PM.


#24
Hümmelgümpf

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Dear sir, don't even bother to try to drag me into a flame war. I will only reply to constructive posts that feature such things as "logic" and "arguements". Consult a dictionary if you are unsure of the meaning of these words.

#25
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In my ever so humble opinion Bioware's quality in their games, with the notable exception of Neverwinter Nights 1, have always been in the solid B range for a grade. They tend to be higher than average in quality, both in terms in gameplay and stability, but nothing ground breaking or risky in their formuliac design. Even Bioware's worse game, Neverwinter Nights 1, is better than some other companies' best games. Bioware has a predictable and consistant level of sustainable quality that others tend to lack but are rarely innovative.

Edited by Sand, 19 April 2008 - 01:08 PM.


#26
Pidesco

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My dictionary doesn't include the word "arguements". :(

#27
Hümmelgümpf

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Dear sir, don't even bother to try to drag me into a flame war. I will only reply to constructive posts that feature such things as "logic" and "arguments". Consult a dictionary if you are unsure of the meaning of these words.


EDIT: Spelling. Thank you, Pidesco.

#28
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Dear sir, don't even bother to try to drag me into a flame war. I will only reply to constructive posts that feature such things as "logic" and "arguements". Consult a dictionary if you are unsure of the meaning of these words.

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#29
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And this is precisely what is wrong with gaming press in general. It ranks enternaining higher than good, George Lucas higher than Terry Gilliam.



Meh. I think you are giving too much credit to the gaming press. They rank sucking the arses of major publishers and developers above everything else by far. Entertainment and quality are so far a distant 2nd and 3rd priority that any distance between the former and the latter is pretty irrelevant.

#30
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Hümmelgümpf, there is no wrong way to game. What one may find fun and entertaining may be boring and drab to someone else. Some are hardcore RPGers, while others like to take a more casual approach. For me, it all depends on my mood. Sometimes I am in a PST mood and sometimes I am in a ME mood. There is nothing wrong either way. Let people entertain themselves as they may and don't be so judgmental.

After all, if the game is not fun and entertaining why play it?

Edited by Sand, 19 April 2008 - 01:14 PM.


#31
Morgoth

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I love Halo and Fallout sucks.

*runs away*

#32
Hümmelgümpf

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Dear sir, don't even bother to try to drag me into a flame war. I will only reply to constructive posts that feature such things as "logic" and "arguements". Consult a dictionary if you are unsure of the meaning of these words.

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I'm still waiting. Tossing crap is easy. Backing it up with substantial points is a bit harder, but I am confident in your abilities.

Hümmelgümpf, there is no wrong way to game. What one may find fun and entertaining may be boring and drab to someone else. Some are hardcore RPGers, while others like to take a more casual approach. For me, it all depends on my mood. Sometimes I am in a PST mood and sometimes I am in a ME mood. There is nothing wrong either way. Let people entertain themselves as they may and don't be so judgmental.

After all, if the game is not fun and entertaining why play it?

All true, and I actually don't dislike BioWare's games. It's the fact that they get hailed as the best the genre has to offer that pisses me off.

#33
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All true, and I actually don't dislike BioWare's games. It's the fact that they get hailed as the best the genre has to offer that pisses me off.


Then what current game company is? What game company that has survived over decade of game development that have consistantly created several successful above average CRPGs on multiple platforms? That would be Bioware.

#34
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Phooee, what's that burning smell around here?

Debate the point not the person, Pop/everyone else. There is nothing wrong with having a viewpoint about the medium or its users in general, as long as one is willing to accept new evidence and not force his own down everyone's throat.

Personally speaking, I find this dichotomy between entertainment and art very very artificial. Certainly you find works in which everyone finds value but nobody enjoys; certainly you find works that people are aware have no value and is 'trash' but enjoy anyway. But inbetween those two extremes there is a whole world and putting it on a e-a scale is very reductive. Was Torment, for example, an 'artistic' game which was not as entertaining but was 'deeper'? Putting aside the question of whether Torment was 'deeper' than your average game aside, for a moment, personally speaking, I thoroughly enjoyed, and had fun playing, Torment precisely because of the qualities that others might say made it 'deep' or an 'artistic' game. Unless you want to push the archaic and pretentious high-brow / low-brow culture distinction, this would not mean that I have superior 'taste' than anyone else. Complexity is not always better than simplicity, and so forth. It's simply that Torment's particular strengths in storytelling and so forth hit the right notes for me, and I had fun, I was entertained, and I was enthralled. Which is what any game tries to do. Torment and Halo do not have, fundamentally, different aims. The only difference is the specific tropes each game uses to achieve that aim; and usually, the more simple and visceral that trope is, we tend to label it 'low-brow'.

Someone who plays Torment and Halo and Mario Kart and enjoys them all (hah, me!) isn't being a hypocrit, in that sense. He is simply finding the games that use the right tropes in the right way to, personally, make him entertained. And msot people are capable of being entertained in numerous ways. However, this kind of debate is still very important, I feel - we could juts say "everyone just play whatever they want, nothing wrong with that", and sure, at a personal level, there is nothing wrong with that. But tastes are engineered, tastes are acquired and constructed. We aren't born with a natural tendency to like certain types of games over others. We are influenced by how we come to understand what kind of things games are, what kind of experiences they can give us and what we can/should expect from games. That's why we speak of the Halo Generation, some with worry. I'm not saying go to war over taste. I'm saying there is good reason to sound the drums and work up enthusiasm and debate about what you think games should be and what kind of experiences they shoudl deliver. Saying 'everyone do whatever they want' sounds very egalitarian and libertarian, but not really.

As for Bioware, I don't think the author was saying their games are BAD, or that Bioware is at fault for the press they receive. Certainly, that's not my point of view, either. Bioware work hard to make good games and they are dedicated to their art. Bioware work hard to promote their game. It also happens to be that Bioware is much stronger at production value and polish than at any individual RPG element (IMO); also that they are very skillful at creating an image of themselves as stellar quadriple-A developers and of their games as groundbreaking superstars. Notice how I'm carefully avoiding any pejorative connotations. We could call them cookie-cutter, we could call them devilish smart, we could call them soulless corporate giants, or whatever, but that kind of name-calling implies judgment and that is eventually left up to the individual. For me, I like Bioware. They make good games. But from past experience I know that they are not likely to give me a game that really gives me fantastic, fantastic moments (except for bg1/2).

#35
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What game company that has survived over decade of game development that have consistantly created several successful above average CRPGs on multiple platforms? That would be Bioware.

BioWare is the most commercially successful RPG developer out there, I'm not going to argue that. They are nothing compared to Troika, BIS or Obsidian when it comes to creativity and originality, however.

Edited by Hümmelgümpf, 19 April 2008 - 01:38 PM.


#36
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BioWare is the most commercially succesfull RPG developer out there, I'm not going to argue that. They are nothing compared to Troika, BIS or Obsidian when it comes to creativity and originality, however.


We are talking about the best, the strongest, and the most viable to the game market here. When we are talking about the "BEST" we need to take in all aspects of the game, not just bits and pieces. That would include both the technical aspects of the game as well as the artistic aspects. Obsidian has the creativity and originality, however their last two games have been very low on the totem pole when it comes to stability and bugginess, thus their technical aspects in quality has suffered.

Troika and Black Isle are dead, gone, and ultimately irrelevant. You can't be the best of the industry when you no longer exist in the industry.

#37
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PS:T has the same problems that The Witcher has, namely a propensity for dragging the player through tedium to get to the interesting bits. Combat in PS:T was atrocious, even more atrocious than the IE usual (which makes Baator particularly aggravating). And the way that the (meaningful) dialogue and the quests were set up was confusing. I've played through it three times and I've gotten different, but always incomplete, sets of dialogue from the CNPCs. Each time I beat it I was unsatisfied. The bad parts overshadowed the good parts. And if you're going to make an argument for ambition overshadowing ****ty gameplay in one case than it ought to apply consistently. It just happens to be the case that ****ty FPS gameplay is infinitely more tolerable than ****ty IE gameplay, which I suppose is a null point if you consider FPSes to be Crimes Against Gaming.

In the end, Bioshock was a wildly ambitious game that also happened to be wildly successful, because its design was more favorable to the whims of the market. PS:T was then and is now an ambitious game that was uncommonly set against what the market made successful. The difference is only significant if you consider eclecticism to be a virtue. I don't think it is. Bioshock's the one that has the better chance of informing the direction gaming's going to take in the future.

Edited by Pop, 19 April 2008 - 01:49 PM.


#38
Tel Aviv

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I don't have the space in my teeny tiny apartment to keep games that are very good but that I know I wil never play again once they have run their course.

eBay! eBay! eBay! Part exchange them or, better still, send them my way.

I've only ever thrown Hell: A Cyberpunk Thriller which I've always regretted and, lets not forget, that game was ****. I think I'd die inside a little if I threw out either BG I or II.

Edited by Tel Aviv, 19 April 2008 - 01:46 PM.


#39
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Guys, ISOs. Use them.

#40
Hümmelgümpf

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We are talking about the best, the strongest, and the most viable to the game market here. When we are talking about the "BEST" we need to take in all aspects of the game, not just bits and pieces. That would include both the technical aspects of the game as well as the artistic aspects. Obsidian has the creativity and originality, however their last two games have been very low on the totem pole when it comes to stability and bugginess, thus their technical aspects in quality has suffered.

Some people prefer polished mediocrity, while others give preference to rough diamonds. I think we can agree that we disagree.

Troika and Black Isle are dead, gone, and ultimately irrelevant. You can't be the best of the industry when you no longer exist in the industry.

I was saying that there always was a company better than BioWare.



PS:T has the same problems that The Witcher has, namely a propensity for dragging the player through tedium to get to the interesting bits. Combat in PS:T was atrocious, even more atrocious than the IE usual (which makes Baator particularly aggravating).

Nobody said Torment was perfect. Its combat certainly was something to be endured rather than enjoyed. Thieves with high Charisma score could avoid plenty of fighting though.

And the way that the (meaningful) dialogue and the quests were set up was confusing. I've played through it three times and I've gotten different, but always incomplete, sets of dialogue from the CNPCs. Each time I beat it I was unsatisfied.

And this is the best part. You have to replay the game several times to get everything it has to offer. Patience and thoroughness should be rewarded.

And if you're going to make an argument for ambition overshadowing ****ty gameplay in one case than it ought to apply consistently. It just happens to be the case that ****ty FPS gameplay is infinitely more tolerable than ****ty IE gameplay, which I suppose is a null point if you consider FPSes to be Crimes Against Gaming.

Prejudices in action. Bloodlines, Deus Ex and System Shock 2 are among my favorites.

In the end, Bioshock was a wildly ambitious game that also happened to be wildly successful, because its design was more favorable to the whims of the market.

There was nothing wildly ambitious about BioShock. It didn't do anything SS 2 hadn't done better. The only thing that stood out about it was art direction.

PS:T was then and is now an ambitious game that was uncommonly set against what the market made successful. The difference is only significant if you consider eclecticism to be a virtue. I don't think it is.

It is. If you try to satisfy everyone you get a very shallow game. It may be commercially successful, but it will be quickly forgotten.

Bioshock's the one that has the better chance of informing the direction gaming's going to take in the future.

I know it.




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