Hey there! Have you ever wondered if there's a game you'd like but wish it was done in an isometric style by the guys at Obsidian?
I've been on a Mass Effect binge lately (sadly cant play Andromeda until I get a decent GPU and given the average-good reviews i'll wait for the sale) and although not a terrible series, I do feel like it suffers from trying to do so much while also trying to simplify mechanics and become a loud shooter and lastly being rushed by EA (specifically ME3 which had about two years while ME2 had about three years of development).
However, I have entertained the idea of the ME games being done by Obsidian and having an isometric angle to it.
Writing: For one I think Obsidian would have continued their tradition of writing compelling multi layered characters as we've seen in KOTOR 2, New Vegas, and Pillars of Eternity. Not that Bioware can't write good characters. I really thought Garrus, Tali and some others were consistently well written and were likable. Others though like Ashley, while having a surprising amount of depth in the first game, don't carry the same consistent quality into the other games. I feel like the dialogue in the ME games is generally really good. The problem is that what they say after their character arc is finished is much to be desired (i.e. Ashley/Kaiden were interesting in ME1 but in ME3 all they did was talk about how they can't trust you because... drama?).
I also think Factions in Mass Effect would have been far more explored. I find the politics and factions in ME games to be too simplistic. There's hints of nuance here and there but it feels largely generalized. Humans have pro human and pro multiculturalism factions. That's kinda it. What about wealth inequality, corporations exploiting colonists, actual politicians trying to undermine one another, and so on? Again it's hinted at (i.e. the corporation on Feros observing the effects of the Thorian on colonists) but it's very shallow and not focused on. I think it's worse for the other alien races where they just had aliens like the Volus just all share this one trait like their love for banking and exploiting people for financial gains. How would a species devoted entirely to running businesses with no sign of any Volus labor manage to work as a society?
Lastly, I think Mass Effect would have less deus ex machina and supernatural elements and been more grounded in 'reality'. I guess some would miss the more fantastical elements in Bioware's ME games but personally, I prefer more grounded stuff. Kinda like how in Battlestar Galactica, the sci fi was my favorite aspect but all that mystical I-Cant-Explain-It-Cuz-Magic felt really jarring. Maybe Obsidian's ME would have focused more on the existing factions and politics while the Reapers played a less galaxy-apocalyptic role (and none of the Crucible nonsense).
Morality: I think it's safe to say this binary Good or Evil morality system we've seen in so many games is finally losing its popularity. I mean, heck, the new Mass Effect Andromeda is dropping the Paragon/Renegade system for something more Reputation/Influence focused. And yeah, Obsidian's RPGs have largely done away with binary morality (in KOTOR2, it was how one's morality conflicted with how people viewed you). I dislike how the morality system in ME1-3 is done. Either you're an avatar of all things good or you're sometimes this badass or sometimes you're this dangerous psycho who slams reporters into the wall and threatening them while this horrific terrifying music is playing in the background. Plus binary morality forces you to full commit instead of mixing and matching. Obsidian's ME would have factions and characters judge you based on your words and actions.
Squad Combat: I hate the idea of having all these characters available to you but you're limited to only two to use. And usually you always pick these certain two characters rather than experiment with others. If Obsidian made ME, I would have loved to have had a squad of 4 to 5 to go with on missions. I know why Bioware's ME is limited to two, as well as the KOTOR games, that being it was 3D and controlling more than two characters would be too hard (especially without a tactical isometric camera view) but given that Obsidian would make it an Isometric game, controlling a larger squad would be ideal and much appreciated. Firstly because it grants more tactical options but secondly it would bring these characters along on the mission who otherwise would be stuck on the ship for the entire game.
Combat Style: I'm not sure whether I'd like it to be a real time or turn based game. I think most would prefer a turn based game but personally I'm not that big of a fan of being forced to play at the pace the game is allowing you to. Games like XCOM 2 can get real tedious too, moving every single soldier into position or to take an action one by one can be a bit too slow and repetitive. I much playing a game at the pace I want to play it at (like Pillars of Eternity's Pause-And-Play). Plus I find real time to be more tense and engaging as i'm always on my feet and reacting in real time. I guess that would have to play like Dawn of War 2. It contains hero units, abilities, a cover system, and it's tactics based (flanking, flushing enemies out of cover, suppressing fire, etc.). I think it could translate well into a ME game. Otherwise, we could go with a traditional AP Turn Based gameplay for ME.
That said however, there is one significant downside I can see from an Isometric Mass Effect game and that would be the lack of 'cinematic cutscenes' which is one of the reasons why Mass Effect is popular. Seeing characters exchange dialogue, facial expressions, and body language in these ingame cutscenes is one of the reasons why a lot of people connect with the characters. I think that would be hard to overcome if the game is in an isometric view. I'll confess, while I do enjoy reading in Pillars of Eternity, I do feel spoiled by the 'cinematic' approach Mass Effect and Dragon Age have. It's a bit harder for me to connect through text than it is to see it happen visually. Again, it could be me for being spoiled. Still a point worth mentioning though.
In any case, what do you think? And what games or maybe even stories (books, movies) would you like to see turned into an Obsidian isometric game?