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Everything posted by 500MetricTonnes

  1. Nitpicking time: - I still don't like the colour scheme of this game. I'm looking over all the screenshots on the official site and they all look very drab, dull, and dreary, like there's a grey cloud hanging over them. Forgotten Realms isn't a dark and gritty setting, so why does the game look like it's trying to ape The Witcher? In fact, that's not even a fair comparison, because even The Witcher 2 doesn't shy away from contrast and colour saturation. - If a Level 6 Wizard has 267HP, how much HP do you think bosses will have? I suspect the game will follow the Dragon Age method of artificially increasing the difficulty of boss fights by giving them more HP than a Nimitz-class aircraft carrier. - Why oh why have developers abandoned the concept of a grid inventory? The sorted list system used by modern RPGs is worse in nearly every way. I've made this post before, but it bears repeating: Here's a grid inventory: Every item is represented by an easily-recognisable icon. Not only that, the entire inventory is visible; no scrolling required. You can arrange the inventory as you see fit, meaning that finding an item is more "All right, where did I put it?" and less about tediously scrolling through some long list. Since each party member has their own inventory, you can choose who will carry certain items. For instance, I might decide that, since Minsc has high STR, he'll be carrying all the armour and weapons we pick up, while Aerie, our healer, will carry all our potions and other restorative items. NWN added separate pages, thus allowing for more organisation; I usually decided that page 1 was weapons, page 2 was armour, page 3 was scrolls, page 4 was potions, etc. Now look at the SCL example. There's sorting, but that won't help much when the inventory list can only display eight items at a time. And with four party members, you're probably going to end up carrying a lot of loot. On another point, why do these modern RPGs insist on using ALLCAPS for some (or all) of their UI? Witcher 2 does it. Dragon Age: Inquisition does it. This game does it. Don't the developers realise that making everything ALLCAPS reduces readability?
  2. I'm playing NWN2 right now, and one thing I like is how bright and colourful the world is. Perhaps it's a bit "cartoonish," but I vastly prefer this look over the "dark and gritty" trend that's infected the fantasy genre. Compare this: To this: It's the same dull, washed-out, low-contrast look, that I absolutey hated in DA:O and DA2. Attention graphical artists: take your "gritty realism" and stuff it!
  3. [citation needed] Are you actually expecting GooberGrunters to do fact-checking? What you're dealing with here is, essentially, a paranoid conspiracy theory, and like most conspiracy theories, reason and facts are no match for it. Try convincing a 9/11 Truther that the World Trade Center wasn't brought down by a controlled demolition and see how much success you have. There's no convincing them that those windmills they're tilting at are not, in fact, giants in disguise. American historian Richard Hofstadter wrote a famous essay titled The Paranoid Style in American Politics, which perfectly describes the attitude behind GamerGate. These quotes stands out in particular (emphases mine): "The paranoid seems to have little expectation of actually convincing a hostile world, but he can accumulate evidence in order to protect his cherished convictions from it." "...the megalomaniac view of oneself as the Elect, wholly good, abominably persecuted, yet assured of ultimate triumph; the attribution of gigantic and demonic powers to the adversary; the refusal to accept the ineluctable limitations and imperfections of human existence, such as transience, dissention, conflict, fallibility whether intellectual or moral; the obsession with inerrable prophecies . . . systematized misinterpretations, always gross and often grotesque."
  4. What's truly unacceptable is when the game steers my character into a romance without my input. In the first Mass Effect, I talked to Ashley a few times. At no point during these conversations did Shepard say anything that could be interpreted as flirtatious, yet all of a sudden the game decided that we were in a relationship! Likewise, Liara suddenly decides that she finds you "fascinating" despite the fact that you've barely spoken with her. It all feels extremely forced and artificial. Likewise in DA:O, I was playing as a human noble female, and I was generally nice to Alistair without moving into romantic territory. So imagine my surprise when, the next time we speak at camp, Alistair declares that he wants to spend the night with my character! She tells him "no" but everyone else in the party has banters that suggest the two of us are an item. It felt like the game was nudging me constantly towards the romance, when I kept thinking "I just to want to learn more about you! I don't want to get into your pants!"
  5. After playing Dragon Age: Inquisition, I thought I'd sit down and play Dragon Age: Origins, a game I haven't touched since the debacle of DA2. I remember thinking that it was a "good" game, but playing it now, it's obvious that this is simply because DA2 was so awful that it made the first game seem brilliant by comparison. My thoughts are as follows: - Mass Effect, at least the first game, wore its influences on its sleeves, but it was sufficiently well-crafted that it felt fresh and original in spite of this fact. Dragon Age, on the other, is so obviously cobbled together from various sources that you can almost see the seams where the different elements have been sewn together. The game is clearly based on the traditional Heroic Fantasy plot we're all familiar with, but then BioWare realised that "dark and gritty" fantasy like A Song of Ice and Fire was the fashionable thing, and so they slapped a superficial layer of grittiness atop it in the most blatant manner possible ("sir" is spelled "ser" as in ASOIAF, see...SEE!!!???). They nicked Warhammer 40,000's magic system, replacing "Warp" with "Fade," "Psykers" with "Mages," "Blanks" with "Tranquils," and "Daemons" with...well..."demons." The elves are even more like Eldar than usual, and the Qunari might as well be the Tau. Now, keep in mind that my tastes in fantasy settings are extremely conservative. I'm not impressed with a work simply because it avoids cliches or deconstructs traditional fantasy tropes. I value quality and craftsmanship far more than I value originality. So when I feel your fantasy setting is too stale, you've got problems. - As above, the attempts at making the game feel "adult" or "mature" are shallow and pathetic. Case in point: the Human Noble origin story has you start out slaying rats in the kitchen. Typical RPG fare, right? Except that in DA:O, attacking the rats results in my character getting drenched in blood from head to toe! Really, BioWare? - An as aside, I have to wonder why BioWare didn't disable the graphics for characters' status effects (such as taking fire damage) when transitioning into cutscenes. The way the game works, if your party gets hit by a fireball and then immediately goes into a cutscene, you'll be treated the hilarious sight of your character and his party members holding a lengthy conversation while on fire! It's completely ridiculous and kills any drama the scene might have had. My character even had sex with Morrigan while transparent, glowing, and shedding flakes of stone! - Speaking of graphics, this game is Ugly with a capital "U." And I don't mean the quality of the graphics themselves (which isn't that terribly great), but the style of the graphics. I can't recall the last game I played that was this overwhelmingly, unrelentingly brown. Everything has this washed-out, low-contrast look that repulses me every time I have to look it: The entirety of Ferelden seems to consist of dirty, ramshackle huts and shanties, with the occasional stone fortress here and there. Like most modern fantasy settings, it's all so depressingly filthy and lacking in wonder. There's no point in the game where I felt compelled to stop and look around at the scenery. When I started a new campaign in NWN2, it was sweet relief to see a world that had actual colour in it! - Who wrote the depth of field algorithm for the graphics engine? It doesn't blur the parts of the scene that are supposed to be out of focus, it pixelates them! It looks horrible! - The dungeon design is hopelessly uninspired, continuing the NWN tradition of being obviously tileset-based. How odd is that the mage tower, the ruins in Brecilian Forest, the temple of the Sacred Ashes, and Fort Drakon all have the exact same architectural style? How many years was this game in development, again? - The combat is...so-so. There is a tactical element to it, but too often encounters amount to little more than having the party get rushed by enemies from all directions. This made worse by the way the game automatically transitions to a dialogue cutscene with bosses and other powerful enemies when you get close to them, showing your party stupidly walking up to the boss and his henchmen (sometimes, your party is even shown rushing blindly forward getting surprised by the boss, even if you knew he was there ahead of time). This drops your rogues out of stealth, cancels any buffs you had cast, and wrecks any tactical positioning you had in place, forcing you to start the fight in a disadvantageous position. You can't even attack the boss from a distance with AoE spells, either, because he's invincible until you speak with him! Compare this with Baldur's Gate. There were NPCs who'd initiate dialogue with you the moment you entered visual range, but there was nothing stopping you from having your thief enter stealth and backstab him for massive damage, or have your mage fireball him from a distance. Sure, you missed out on the dialogue, but there was nothing stopping you from doing this. - Cooldowns...how I loathe you. This game already has a means of limiting magic use - the mana system - so it's a bit baffling why they decided to include this odious "feature." Why is it that my mage can cast powerful spells A, B, and C one after the other, but he cannot cast one spell three times in quick succession? It's totally arbitrary, and reduces combat to a series of QTEs...press the buttons as they light up to win! - The auto-reviving party members destroy a great deal of tension in the fights. In BG, you had to be a reasonably powerful cleric to raise dead, or pay a temple a large chunk of gold to raise your party member for you. If you were playing on Core Rules or higher, it was possible for party members to get killed off permanently, with no way to get them back. In DA:O, fallen party members just get right up after the battle ends. I know this is standard operating procedure for modern RPGs...but is it too much to ask to have at least some consequence for losing people in a fight? In DA:O, they just get slapped with an "injury" which is completely trivial because injury kits are so plentiful. And their HPs are immediately restored after combat, making HP loss even more trivial. - As as positive point, the individual origin stories is the game's best feature, and greatly influenced the way I played each character. A casteless dwarf, for instance, is probably going to have a different view of things than a human noble. In fact, the origin stories are such a good idea that BioWare eliminated them completely in subsequent titles. - DA:O stands as the last BioWare game with a silent protagonist, which means I actually get to choose what my characters says instead of picking some vague paraphrased response on the dialogue wheel and hoping my character doesn't say something I didn't want them to. Despite the game's heavy use of cutscenes, it still felt like an RPG, not some semi-interactive movie. - Purchasing DLC. Because EA hates all life in general, buying DLC is never as simple as just shelling out however much money EA/BioWare is asking, oh no. No, you have to purchase BioWare "Points" which are sold in bundles that oh-so-conveniently don't correlate with the cost of the DLC, meaning you almost always have to purchase more points than what the DLC costs. This is an incredibly cynical means of nickel-and-diming the consumer...but what else would you expect from a company that considered charging players to reload their magazines in Battlefield? - This game actually has a toolkit. Judging from the marketing push, the developers wanted the game to become a "platform" for user-created content much like NWN had: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ndrC34v83V8&oref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DndrC34v83V8&has_verified=1 All this potential blew away like dandelion spores when BioWare ceased supporting the toolset and stopped short of the "two years" of DLC that they'd promised, meaning the game would receive no new official assets for modding in the way that the expansions had done for NWN. - Despite DA:O's flaws, at the very least there's a sense that BioWare was committed to the craft of making an RPG. It's a far cry from the games they've made post-EA acquisition, which feel like mass-produced, focus group-tested, metrics-based products.
  6. That's a terrible analogy (not to mention a geometric falsehood). A line can stretch infinitely. A triangle can't. In the context of these debates that spring up on this forum, there's never 3 sides. There's only 2 sides. People like you just publically sit on the fence in between and sometimes take thinly veiled pot shots at one of the sides. Oh how I take great pleasure in pushing fence sitters off the fence. Thats a big harsh. I have found Lephys to be more concerned with the principle of reasonable debate and logic. People who don't understand this won't get his posting etiquette Stun, and any others, I want to ask you a relevant question. You have answered this before but this is probably a good time to refresh your response...think about the question before you answer What is your issue anyway with optional Romance arcs in RPG? I know you are passionate and vociferous in what you don't like about Romance but what is your primary reason for not wanting them ? Because the developers only have so much time available, and writing romances that don't feel shallow or tacked-on takes isn't really something you can put together in a day. And as others have pointed out, many people at Obsidian are indifferent or outright contemptuous of the notion of romances in RPGs, so why should they waste time putting in something they don't really want to? Secondly, romance arcs tends hide a great deal of a character's backstory and personality from people who don't want their character to pursue a relationship with that person. In Baldur's Gate, for instance, a player who doesn't pursue a romance with Viconia will learn next to nothing about her. Third, romances tend to attract a certain type of individual...we all know the type...the people who got mad because so-and-so character wasn't romantically available to their character...the people who make posts bringing their knowledge of biochemistry to bear on the question of what Tali's sweat tastes like...the people who post pictures in the "Alistair Gush Thread" of their purple-haired Mary Sue Cousland with Alistair...you get the idea. You know, THESE people:
  7. Well, BioWare likes to reuse the same characters over and over - there's always the tough, no-nonsense warrior woman (Jaheira, Ashley, Cassandra, Aveline), the sweet, innocent girl (Aerie, Tali, Merrill, Dawn Star, Liara), and the haughty, arrogant ice queen (Viconia, Morrigan, Miranda, Vivienne). That said, this isn't a bad thing, per se, just a very noticeable thing.
  8. Getting way off-topic here, but... ...the Tali romance is something I really came to dislike after several play-throughs of ME2. The main reason is that Shepard feels much too old for her, like a man in his mid-thirties pursuing a teenage girl. I just felt like a complete creep watching it. Were I in charge of writing, I would have had Tali develop a girlish crush on Shepard in the first two, only to have her get over it by the second game when she realises how shallow her feelings really are. The worst, though, is the Ashley/Kaidan romance. A military officer pursuing a relationship with one of his subordinates is just a big no-no, in my books. To be honest, I wonder if even BioWare enjoys their romances. I wouldn't surprised if it turned out that Gaider et. al. are sick to death of writing them, but keep doing it simply because the fanbase expects it. Nor would it surprise me if they spend their coffee breaks mocking the fans who throw hissy fits because Cassandra won't romance a female Inquisitor.
  9. I suspect that BG romances would be quite unappealing to...certain members...of "modern" BioWare's audience. There were restrictions on what sort of PC the party members would romance (Viconia isn't interested in an elf due to her racism, for instance). You had to pick the correct dialogue, which often wasn't as simple as agreeing with everything the NPC said or just being nice to her. There was no big heart icon to indicate "SELECT THIS RESPONSE TO CONTINUE THE ROMANCE" as in Dragon Age 2. Certain actions could upset your party members enough to end any romances in progress; there was nothing like Tali in Mass Effect 2 deciding that she really loves Shepard in spite of his tendency towards a bit of cold-blooded murder every now and then.
  10. And all I am asking is that you actually play Pillars of Eternity and see how the NPCs go. Give it a chance. Until we actually have something in that regard I do not understand the whole debate. I mean hundreds and hundreds of pages of posts debating the possibility the game may or may not need romance without actually having anything to talk about is strange to me. Again we do not even know what exactly Obsidian means by 'no romance' until we get our hands on it. Fair, and it may not. But I would hope that in future installments a more fleshed-out romance option is available. There's very much a chance I will be perfectly content with the companion interactions, as you said. The reason this debate continues, to me anyway, comes down to value. We promancers argue that romance options lead to a deeper companion and PC development, while the other camp argues that they're kinda stupid, tend to be juvenile, lend nothing good to the narrative, and are an unnecessary/jarring distraction. BruceVC and I are trying to get those people to appreciate our perspective. I can't speak for Bruce, but I'd agree on the point that no romances are better than badly written romances. My primary argument is that OE, arguably having the best writing talent of any other game developer, could create a romance mechanic that is mature and tasteful. I know they've said they're not comfortable doing it, but it seems silly to me they wouldn't push themselves to become even better writers and branch out. If someone doesn't like a particular genre, such as romance, then the chances of them writing something of quality in that genre is close to zero. I utterly loathe the "dark and gritty" genre of fantasy, so if someone tapped me on the shoulder and asked me to handle the writing for the next Witcher game, then how likely is it that I will write something good? Not bloody likely.
  11. he still is anime emo elf... I remember when screenshots of the character were first released, and seeing Fenris' resemblance to your stereotypical JRPG protagonist, I made a joke about how he was probably "some angst-ridden pretty-boy with a comically oversized two-handed sword just waiting for the right woman to soothe his anguished soul." Well, guess what? That's the character we got. I mean, how bad is your writing when a character's entire personality is predictable by sarcasm? You didn't guess that he would have glowing tattoos. True, and I did say "the right woman to soothe his anguished soul" when Fenris can be pursued by a Hawke of either gender.
  12. he still is anime emo elf... I remember when screenshots of the character were first released, and seeing Fenris' resemblance to your stereotypical JRPG protagonist, I made a joke about how he was probably "some angst-ridden pretty-boy with a comically oversized two-handed sword just waiting for the right woman to soothe his anguished soul." Well, guess what? That's the character we got. I mean, how bad is your writing when a character's entire personality is predictable by sarcasm?
  13. Good review...I'm interested to hear what you thought of the sequel. (Note: I believe I solved the video playback issue by setting the game to run in compatibility mode for Windows XP (Service Pack 3)) KotOR is definitely one of those games whose flaws are readily apparent, yet is sufficiently enjoyable that I can easily overlook them. In particular, I like how unpretentious the writing is - there's no attempts to be "dark and edgy," it's not trying to deconstruct anything, and by comparison it's largely free of modern BioWare's pathetic desperation to make their games into Hollywood blockbusters. The biggest failing is the villain - Star Wars lives or dies by the strength of its villains, and Darth Malak doesn't measure up, I'm afraid. There's little to his character beyond "IMMA KILL EVERYTHING RRRAAAAAGGGHH!!!" He's only outdone in that regard by SWTOR's Sith Emperor. That said, the romance in this game is awful, even by the (incredibly low) standards of BioWare. The "relationship" (and I use that term loosely) between Bastila and the PC is so immature, I half expected him to suggest that Bastila has cooties, while Bastila insists that he is, in fact, a great big poopyhead. And this terrible romance is canon...ugh...
  14. My biggest issue with Sera is that she embodies that sort of humour that's all over the Dragon Age games, and which I generally find extremely irritating. I'm not sure what you'd call it, but it's this sort of flippant, sarcastic, "snarky" type of jocularity that makes me want to reach through the screen and wring the offending character's neck. If you don't know what I'm talking about, the "funny" dialogue options from Hawke in DA2 is this type of humour distilled into its most concentrated form, as is Alistair's dialogue from DA:O. Compare this to characters like Sten (or Wrex from Mass Effect 1), whose humour is very dry, and very deadpan. Or the Baldur's Gate series, where the humour is usually absurd and over-the-top. Both of which I found funny, as opposed to DA2/DA:I, where nearly every joke fell flat.
  15. Funny, I was just watching a hilarious review/let's play of KotOR from one of my favourite internet reviewers, SF Debris. Here it is: I loved this line in particular: Bastila: "What have you been doing all this time?" (as the main character)SF Debris: "Becoming the living avatar of regret."
  16. That's exactly how the High Dragon fight went in DA2. To make matters worse, every so often it would fly away to an unreachable perch and spit fireballs at you, while summoning smaller dragons to harass you. Laidlaw clearly doesn't understand the difference between creating an encounter that challenges the player's skills versus one that merely challenges his patience. Hell, when people called DA2's combat "dumbed down" he flippantly dismissed this criticism by suggesting people play on "hard," which does nothing but drag the experience out further. If anything, DA:I proves that BioWare didn't understand the criticism of DA2 except on the shallowest level.
  17. "Grinding tedium" is precisely how I'd describe the experience of playing DA:I. And I must say, Sera has to got be the most repulsive character, in terms of both personality and looks, that I've yet seen in a BioWare game. It almost felt as though she were created specifically to annoy me, a dubious "honour" previously held by Bastila from KotOR. At least BioWare seemed to acknowledge that a lot of people would hate her, so they gave you the option of booting her out.
  18. A few months back, I decided I was going to play through Baldur's Gate, Baldur's Gate II, Throne of Bhaal, Neverwinter Nights, Neverwinter Nights 2, and Mask of the Betrayer with the same character. So having finished Throne of Bhaal, I went directly to Neverwinter Nights, and then I remembered why I can keep coming back to Baldur's Gate again and again...and why I never touched NWN for years after finishing the original campaign: - The OC is bland and banal. It consists almost entirely of fetching MacGuffins (Waterdhavian creatures, words of power, etc) via quests that are totally straightforward, and without any alternate means of solving them. With the exception of the Charwood quest, nothing in the campaign is particularly memorable and compelling. Worst of all, the game never really establishes any sort of motivating factor to your character. In BG, you had the murder of Gorion and sorting out the iron shortage to compel the PC. In the sequel, you had Irenicus torture you and abduct Imoen. In NWN, on the other hand, your character is just some random academy student with no background and no personal stake in the conflict. Another thing that bothered me was just how frequently the solution to your quests involves mass slaughter of human beings. For instance, there's one sidquest wherein your character is tasked with stealing pieces of an artwork from noblemen who have offended the local whorehouse madam. Each nobleman's estate is guarded by someone who says that he really doesn't like his job and won't stop you from entering. Since my character is a wizard with no real stealth skills, but with good Charisma and several ranks in Persuade, I thought I might try to bluff my way past the interior guards. Nope! The only real solution was to violently murder all the guards. And these people weren't evil, they were just doing their jobs. The most ludicrous example had to be the quest where you must free some animals from a zoo because the local druid believed they were being mistreated. The only solution offered to me? Kill all the guards in the zoo and murder the proprietor! There's this odd dissonance in the game where my character is 100% good-aligned, yet I've racked up a body count in the hundreds, with many of those deaths coming under circumstances of extreme moral dubiousness. And no one ever calls you on it! - What? Do you mean to tell me that the character who was incredibly rude, abrasive, condescending, and unhelpful in every single conversation with me....is EVIL? My god, I got whiplash from this UTTERLY SHOCKING AND COMPLETELY UNEXPECTED PLOT SWERVE! - Playing as a mage is highly tedious. As in Baldur's Gate, a low-level wizard has a pitiful amount of HP and can only cast a few weak spells per day. They need some sort of melee support if they are to survive. In BG, this wasn't a problem, because the game gave you decent melee fighters near he start (Khalid and Jaheira in the first game, Minsc and Jaheira in the second). Not only that, you had full control of your party members. Not so in NWN. Instead, you are allowed to have one "henchman" who is completely under the control of the AI. Unfortunately, the AI is utterly brain-dead. For instance, they can only attack targets that they have a direct line of sight to, otherwise the target may as well not even exist. So imagine my character is standing in front of a door to a room filled with monsters who could tear through her puny amount of HP in a heartbeat. In BG, I could order my melee fighters in first to deal with the enemies, while my mage stayed back and cast spells from a safe distance. In NWN, my henchmen will often stand just to the side of the door, meaning he can't see the monsters inside and will thus ignore my attack orders. The only way to get him to attack is to walk into the room first and hope he follows me inside, which is far more dangerous, especially if there are archers in the enemy ranks. You could cast invisibility on yourself, or summon a creature inside the room to aggro the enemies, but I should not have to waste spells just to do something that would be trivial if I had full control of my party! Now, this isn't a hard game by any stretch, but playing as a wizard who has to rely on her henchmen more so than other classes at low levels is incredibly frustrating. Clerics blowing their Turn Undead spells on weak zombies that they can kill with one swing of their mace...clerics trying to heal themselves in close combat and get murdered by Attacks of Opportunity...a melee fighter who decides to ignore the five guys trying to hack him to pieces and run after that archer in the distance and thus get murdered by Attacks of Opportunity...you get the picture. There's a henchmen AI mod that does a bit to ameliorate the issue, but it's not enough. - The graphics are as bland as the OC. Being 2D, the pre-rendered graphics of Baldur's Gate hold up fairly well more than ten years later. NWN's 3D graphics have not. The areas are visually uninteresting and very obviously constructed with tilesets as opposed to the more organic locales of Baldur's Gate. And bloody hell, who designed the armour for women in this game? Elder Scrolls modders? You know you've got a problem when this is the most reasonable thing any female fighter wears: - So I gave up on the OC and started with the first expansion pack, Shadows of Undrentide. The story itself is nothing special, but there are some definite improvements here, such as being able to adjust your henchman's inventory, and the fact that the game offers multiple quest solutions depending on your class and abilities (such as the bit with the kobolds holding a woman hostage in the local tavern). But the henchmen remain an issue for spellcasters, because none of them are good melee fighters. You've got a Cleric/Rogue, a Barbarian/Sorcerer, and a Bard (there's a Paladin, but she doesn't join you). And this expansion likes to throw relatively tough opponents at you, and in larger numbers than what you faced in the OC. Later on, you start facing opponents who are not just spell resistant, but spell immune, at which point a wizard better hope that her summons and henchman can take them down. Otherwise, you're SOL. Now I realise that the main draw of NWN was never its campaigns, but in the toolset and online play, which is a fair point. But surely BioWare must have realised that there would be a good number people coming into this game from Baldur's Gate who would be completely disappointed that it lacked almost everything that BG so good. Tonight I'm going to try out Hordes of the Underdark, which I've never actually played before. I've heard it's the best part of NWN...we shall see.
  19. Something I just noticed the other day. After sparring with her, she'll be standing around the cargo hold in her underwear. Normally, you can tell her to put some clothes on...but if your character is also in his underwear, she'll respond with "It doesn't seem to bother you." To which you can reply, "Yeah, well, I can walk around like this if I want to. This is my ship." That's what I love about Obsidian games, there's usually little bits of content hidden away that most people will never see.
  20. In Baldur's Gate, the tutorial was delivered by a number of green-robed monks standing around Candlekeep. One of the first things you'll hear from them is "if you don't use pause, you will find the entire game very difficult to play." Given that PoE is a spiritual successor to the Infinity Engine games, would it be too much to ask for reviewers to make at least some effort to familiarise themselves with the type of game they're attempting to evaluate? You don't pick up a copy of Falcon 4.0 and whine "Oh my God, you mean I actually have to read this three-ring binder of a manual just to play the game? What the hell is wrong with these people?" This is how we get games like Skyrim and Dragon Age 2. Someone picks up an RPG, finds out that it's more complex than "A space marine is you! Kill everything that isn't you!" and complains about it.
  21. "Just" Aveline? I swear, someone at BioWare had a fetish for women with huge, masculine jawbones. Just look at Isabela's...LOOK AT IT: On a closer examination, this picture just embodies everything wrong with Hawke (and DA2 in general). For instance, why is his armour so asymmetrical? Why is he wearing a HUGE pauldron his right shoulder but not his left? Why is his left arm unarmoured? Why does the pauldron have these huge, deep creases in them? Didn't the armourer realise that this would channel every spear or sword thrust directly towards the crease, which is would be a weak spot in the metal? Why does his belt buckle have these huge, upward-pointing spikes on it? Wouldn't these stab him in the stomach every time he tries to lean forward? Why is there sharp piece of metal extending from near his right elbow? Why does his right glove have randomly-placed spikes coming out of it? Why the hell doesn't he wipe the goddamned blood smear off his nose? And don't even get me started on that awful, washed-out colour palette...
  22. The video is correct that The Witcher is "mature" in that it attempts to present moral conflicts of greater complexity than "Us good, them bad." (Though I would argue that Geralt is most certainly not a realistic character by any stretch of the imagination- he's a mess of anti-hero cliches shamelessly nicked from Michael Moor****'s Elric of Melnibone, right down to the "White Wolf" moniker. He is no more "realistic" than Batman or The Punisher) But here's the thing: "mature" and "realistic" does not equal "good" or "enjoyable." There's a great quote from C.S. Lewis on the matter: “Critics who treat 'adult' as a term of approval, instead of as a merely descriptive term, cannot be adult themselves. To be concerned about being grown up, to admire the grown up because it is grown up, to blush at the suspicion of being childish; these things are the marks of childhood and adolescence. And in childhood and adolescence they are, in moderation, healthy symptoms. Young things ought to want to grow. But to carry on into middle life or even into early manhood this concern about being adult is a mark of really arrested development. When I was ten, I read fairy tales in secret and would have been ashamed if I had been found doing so. Now that I am fifty I read them openly. When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up.” A good example of a "realistic" setting done well is the Thief series. The main character Garret is, well, a thief. He's not a hero, he's not out to save the world (at least not initially), and he's not really a good person. For the most part, he's just looking out for number one. When he avoids killing people, it's not because of his morality, but because he considers it "unprofessional." The principal conflict in the game between the Hammerites and the Pagans is not one of Good VS Evil, but two radically differing philosophies. The first two games show both the good and bad aspects of each faction. The third game, Deadly Shadows, revealed that the Keepers, the closest thing the setting has to the "good guys," are highly corrupt and incompetent. So why do I love this series so much while utterly loathing The Witcher? Simple - the setting of Thief is compelling, while the setting of The Witcher is not. Thief takes places in a world that can be described as a combination of film noir, steampunk, and gothic horror, something I consider unique and interesting, while The Witcher is, as I said in an earlier post, just 12th century Europe with some beasties roaming the swamps. It's far more realistic than, say, Forgotten Realms, but that doesn't mean I have any desire to waste my time experiencing that world via a video game. Second, the Thief games lets you discover the darker aspects of the setting yourself, rather than ramming them down your throat. There's nothing as absurd as random NPCs saying things like "I can't sleep over the sound of my neighbour beating his wife." In fact, there's not even any sign of a main plot at the start of the games beyond "Here's some nobleman's house, go rob it." It's only later that Garret gets drawn into the central conflict...usually against his will. So there you have it - two "realistic" settings that I consider polar opposites in terms of what I consider quality. Thief is a classic series (shame the recent reboot was so mediocre), while The Witcher is just intolerable rubbish.
  23. Well, when I hear people talk about "realism" in terms of setting, nine times out of ten what they usually mean is that it's "DARK, MAN, DARK!" Game of Thrones is a good example; I'm always hearing praise for how "realistic" it is, that is, how closely it resembles the European Middle Ages (in their understanding, at least). This sort of "realism" needs to be thrown in the rubbish bin, if you ask me. I despise how utterly mundane fantasy settings have become lately, to the point where many can be charitably described as "12th century England with some nastier beasties roaming the swamps." To use an RPG example, compare the alien landscapes of Morrowind to the follow-up games Oblivion and Skyrim. Oblivion took place is a setting that was utterly banal, and Skyrim did the same thing while adding a veneer of "gritty realism" to its artistic style. Dragon Age: Origins gave us a setting that was filled with dirty, filthy shanties, and whose only notable characteristic was just how brown everything was. The Witcher is another example...but I've already written at length of my hatred for that particular franchise in other threads so I won't repeat it here. Nor is "realism" desirable in gameplay mechanics. In a shooter, "realism" would dictate that getting shot just once would incapacitate you. In a game like KotOR, it would mean that getting hit by a lightsaber-wielding opponent would immediately kill or dismember you. I don't know about you, but I don't consider that "fun." What is desirable is verisimilitude and believability, and I believe many RPGs go wrong in this regard by failing to show consequences for the PC's actions. There's a sidequest in the original campaign of Neverwinter Nights where I have to steal some pieces of artwork from three noblemans' estates. The way I accomplished this was by slaughtering the entire guard staff of each estate. And yet there are no consequences for my actions, no repercussions despite the fact that I basically barged into someone's private property and killed everyone inside. Or how about Mass Effect? I can have Shepard shove a loaded gun in the face of an annoying civilian. Amusing, but Shepard's a military officer, and pulling that kind of stunt ought to result in a court martial, or at least some sort of reprimand. In the second game, he can resolve a hostage situation by murdering the hostage right in front of numerous police witnesses, and the consequence for this is...nothing. The police don't shoot him down or take him into custody, and none of his teammates have anything to say, either. It's a thoroughly ludicrous and unbelievable series of events.
  24. Sure, I get that idea of yours is part of the new breed of suggestions that would make Romance more realistic and meaningful and that should be included But why would you want to kill the person you are having Romance with, it sounds strange ? Wait. Are you saying the purpose of romance is not to get close enough to someone in order to brutally murder them? Most women who fall for my protagonists, Viconia, Aribeth, Leliana, Bastila - end up dying by my hand. Only the Handmaiden survived, but I consider having to exist in a setting that is now being written by BioWare to be a fate worse than death.
  25. I am not opposed to the presence of Drizzt, so long as the player is allowed to murder him. I am not opposed to the presence of romance, so long as the player is allowed to murder his love interest.
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