subnubilus Posted August 22, 2005 Share Posted August 22, 2005 There are some spoilers in this post, so avoid it if you're allergic. I just finished "The Sith Lords" for the Xbox earlier this evening, and I feel terrible! I've since read many reviews of the game and I do not agree with the majority of their criticisms, and in fact, I feel that this sequel is superior in -every- way to the original. The things which I personally criticized in the first game were all fixed or at least somewhat mended, and the story, dialogue, and general maturity of the narrative was improved. This is a game which I've taken very seriously, and that is why the issue I have has irked me immensely. You see, the way I play these sorts of games is very much role-playing; I am an escapist and the World Obsidian presented me was my fancy. There was a lot to like, especially because I was allowed to play a "Gray Jedi" whereas in the first, I don't recall always having the option to disregard the crap from both the Jedi Council and the Sith. My character was an independent Light Sider, not because I was determined to be Light Side, but because that is how it played out. I role-played very personally, answering questions and taking actions the way I saw fit. I did not do things "just to see what happens" (as some of my friends have done), and tried my best to put myself in the place of my character. I got into it enough that in the first half of the game I was comparing it in my mind to my childhood experience of playing Final Fantasy VII, which captivated me like nothing ever had, and later in the game, when that excellent piece of music played as I walked to meet with the gathered Jedi Council, I could have cried if I was not so anxious to present myself before the Jedi (though I still walked, to gather my thoughts and take in the rebuilt Enclave). The game supported this "mode of play", and the overall design was quite good in my opinion, despite some obvious shortcuts which I really do think hurt the game (the most glaring of which is the multitude of alternate responses you give during dialogue which do exactly the same thing as another response). But right after I met with the Jedi Council, I sensed something was missing, and not in a good, climactic way, but as if something integral was being left out and wouldn't return. Atris's turn to the Sith didn't seem to make much sense, but it was plausible and I took it. After we did battle, the Handmaiden and I were able to talk, but it very much felt forced. The game didn't let me so much as clarify whether or not she was dead, dying, or just knocked out BEFORE fighting Atris, which annoyed me, but it was ok, I thought. And it WASN'T. Here's the thing. My Handmaiden was NOT a Jedi. I liked her character the best of ANY of the characters. I thought the Echani aspect of her was cool, the not-quite-Jedi thing too, and she looked very cool. She was open to opinions and didn't have any definite, stupid ones, and she was not annoying. I really liked her a whole lot, and after gaining her trust, I have to admit that apart from watching Kreia suspiciously, my relationship with the Handmaiden was my biggest concern. She SEEMED like she wanted to learn the ways of the Force, and she SEEMED ready. She SAID she was ready. So why is it, considering all of this, that my Brianna was NOT a Jedi, and my Brianna was NOT talking to me about anything new after the first half of the game, despite being my main motivation to move forward? A moment ago, I saw a picture on 1up.com of Brianna holding a lightsaber. This freaked me out because I don't even have any save games until AFTER I lose contact with EVERYBODY in my party, and having the Handmaiden go Jedi is what I had wanted to badly. It didn't take much looking to learn how one goes about taking her as a Padawan. So the reason Brianna was giving me the cold shoulder was simple. I didn't ask her to put her clothes back on. Why not? Well, we had talked about this before, and she said it was how the Echani trained (which is what she was doing in the storage room day-in and day-out). I was not uncomfortable with it, and she certainly wasn't, so there was no reason to ask. I saw the response as jerk thing to say. But the designers made this THE ONLY trigger to advance the Handmaiden's plot along. THE ONLY TRIGGER. I REALLY wanted her to go Jedi. I had a blue lightsaber constructed just for her and a Jedi outfit ready to give to her and everything; I was prepared and excited. I didn't think it would happen, but I thought it might, and I was not going to be caught unready. Getting near the end of the game, I realized this wouldn't happen, so her lightsaber laid unused in my inventory, but I still liked her, of course. BUT After our words at Telos, after Atris, she talked about being a disciple and following me and all this stuff that seemed to me to finally be moving us along to some sort of trust, some channel of communication. But you what happened instead? On Citadel Station, she reverted to responding to me with the same tired (and now irrelevant) dialogue she did earlier in the game. I winced at this glitch and moved on, hoping it would change, but no... not only did it not change, but BECAUSE I had not technically established the Handmaiden as a love interest, despite all my efforts, Visas Marr came with me. I didn't like Visas. I wasn't mean to her, but I told her I didn't like her like that, and I truly didn't. Apart from G0-T0, she was the one character I didn't particularily like. But SHE took Brianna's place... she and Canderous. And at the end of the game, Darth Traya had a bit to say about my "love", Visas. After our dialogue at Telos, the Handmaiden glitched out and then LEFT THE GAME ENTIRELY. But I trusted the developers through and through, and eventually, I saved over the last save I had before approaching the Jedi Council. The game could not have ended worse... and honestly, contrary to what many critics say, I didn't think the ending was bad, and so the ONLY thing that messed this game up for me was this one chunk of bad design. In a way, it ruined the second half of the game (after which Brianna said nothing new and didn't react to a changing influence), especially the post-Jedi Council stuff, which it glitched up and then finally topped it off by making a mess of the story... which I spent 60 hours working "my way" only to have it derailed and put on a seperate track which was contrary to my actions. It REALLY sucks. I hate to be dramatic, but it ruined the game for me big time. I spent 60 hours playing through the game, taking in all it had to offer and doing my part to the best of my abilities. My setup was perfect, I made sure when I played I could get into it and my mood wouldn't disrupt the flow of the game... and then this happens. It bothers me because it's a glitch, just as bad (no, worse) as getting all my saves deleted, yet it wasn't a technical glitch so much as a design flaw. I wonder if there are similar reasons I didn't every hear Mira say anything new (that's right, I never got past her initial dialogue options), or why I didn't learn two of the Force Powers I had slots for. If my game got erased, I could have redone it, but it's too late for that, for now, and no time is like the first time anyway. I just have to accept that this game was sabotaged by some oversights. Again, sorry to be so dramatic, but it was a big deal to me, and it's something I'm going to keep in mind for my future game dev career as a lesson. I doubt any amount of testing would have weeded this design flaw out, because I don't know that most people play like I do, or that most designers think the way I do... I don't know. But it's a bummer. Obsidian: I loved your game, you did a GREAT job with it. I've been meaning throughout my play to congratulate you. This one thing slipped through and took me down, I know, but there was so much to this game, and you did so much right. 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