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Bioware - Are Their Games Actually That Good?


Humodour

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otoh, I haven't purchased or even played a Bioware game since BG2, which I enjoyed but not so much as a lot of people, so obviously not everybody is overwhelmed by their product offerings

 

Still you have to give them credit for making people want their games and for making their games at least snappy enough for many people to want.

Notice how I can belittle your beliefs without calling you names. It's a useful skill to have particularly where you aren't allowed to call people names. It's a mistake to get too drawn in/worked up. I mean it's not life or death, it's just two guys posting their thoughts on a message board. If it were personal or face to face all the usual restraints would be in place, and we would never have reached this place in the first place. Try to remember that.
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Let me see - I've currently have both Baldur's gate I and II and Neverwinter Nights I, and all of its extensions, installed on both of my PCs, and I am going to go through Kot0R I in the near future. Sure, they might not be the best games out there - but they were a damn sight better than most and all of them either got on my top-ten list or, in the case of the last game mentioned, my "enjoyed playing and would buy again" list.

Edited by Deadly_Nightshade

"Geez. It's like we lost some sort of bet and ended up saddled with a bunch of terrible new posters on this forum."

-Hurlshot

 

 

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For the record, I bought BG1, BG2, KOTOR1, NWN1 and all expansions to these games.

 

I really enjoyed BG1 and KOTOR1, as well as the NWN1 expansions (but not really NWN1). They were good, replayable games, but nothing spectacular (except maybe BG1 since it was kind of 'the first').

 

But I agree entirely with the article I posted. I urge people to read the full article, as it isn't a simple Bioware bash - it does also give credit to Bioware for consistently pumping out good games. It's more about raising awareness of the fact that Bioware produces good games, not great games, often stealing the limelight from the real gems of gaming.

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Well, there aren't a lot of developers putting real stories into their games. The writing quality alone helps them keep a pretty solid audience. Gameplay actually takes a back seat in my eyes. I play Bioware titles for the story. The rest of the gaming companies treat story like the articles in a porno mag.

 

They are also consistent as all hell.

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There's a serious case of rose-colored glasses for Black Isle. They were hell of inconsistent, and really, BI's successes weren't necessarily better than Bioware's. They were just less adept at hiding their biggest flaws.

 

Inconsistent how? Personally I liked every game they produced more than I liked every game Bioware produced, except BG1.

 

It's true that Bioware's games are lighter, more like AAA games, but that in itself doesn't make them good, it just makes them sell more.

 

And your last sentence makes little sense.

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By my estimation, none of the obvious strengths of the better Black Isle games outweigh any of the obvious strengths of the better Bioware games. But most people seem to favor the Bioware games, and this to me is explained through the flaws in BI's games being more immediately observable. In the broadest terms possible, Bioware games appealed to more casual RPG gamers and BI games were more for enthusiasts and PnP nuts. You get more out of PS:T in terms of potential story content and such, but it takes a lot of effort and a lot of patience and a lot of dealing. Bioware games are easy-breezy in comparison, but the game won't change in many basic ways from playthrough to playthrough.

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Getting away from comparisons with Black Isle, it is true that "Bioware seems better at making you believe their games are top-tier than actually making top-tier games", and that Bioware is very, very good at this art. The CEO-duos are very smart people in this regard. This doesn't make them soulless product machines out to manipulate honest innocent gamers or anything, its just an accurate statement I feel.

 

It was an average game that was elevated by a decent narrative and the funding to add real production value.

 

Certainly this is very true, IMO, post-Shadows of Amn. Now we all know we can be veyr subjective about what constitutes good narrative, or good characterisation, or whatnot. What I'm saying is true is, that Bioware's greatest strength lies not in their dialogue/narrative: there is some good stuff there, but generally it's very Disney/Hollywood and very average and forgettable, nothing more or less than you expect. Similarly, their art direction and world design checks all the checks and jumps the hoops, but rarely more. In KOTOR you see worlds you expect to see, rendered suitably well to evoke Star Wars feel but not much more. Jade Empire was probably the strongest here, but anybody who isa ctually familiar with that region and its art knows that it was very much a poor man's substitute in many places. And so forth. But all of this is put together in a very competent and professional manner, and with the funding and the drive, they achieve very good production value that clothes the game and gives the entire package something of a irresistible momentum, especially because the RPG genre is not exactly bursting with games at the moment.

 

That doesn't mean that Bio games suck, they don't. Precisely because they are so good at image control, setting expectations, making games with very good production value and internal coherence, and so forth. But this does go a long way to explain how you can play a bio game, have fun, be satisfied, but know that it's a long way from the dizzying heights of superlatives the reviewers seem to pop up with every day.

 

Edit: yeah, I know somebody will come in and blast me for this post. Am I getting controversial or what? :lol:

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Yes, recent Bioware games are overrated, but that doesn't make them bad. I just remember the big hype of Jade Empire or Mass Effect when it was first announced, and everybody thought "OMG the revelation is here!" (including myself), but when the games got released, they just were on par with any other (not so much hyped) games. NWN, while not so good, had at least great support and a great longevity. I personally enjoyed Kotor very much, but Jade Empire was rather forgettable. And I fear Mass Effect will face the same fate - a quick blockbuster that sells well but everybody forgets shortly. Now I hope at least Dragon Age will capture the awesomeness again that I felt in older Bio games.

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Definitely, I wouldn't say they are bad. The only BIO experience I would say was 'bad' was the NWN1 OC. That was just a piece of crap. :lol:

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To give Bioware a little more credit though, I don't think that BG1 and BG2 were merely "good games". Both were near-classics of the genre. And this is coming from someone who threw both those games away a long time ago and doesn't regret doing so in the least.

Notice how I can belittle your beliefs without calling you names. It's a useful skill to have particularly where you aren't allowed to call people names. It's a mistake to get too drawn in/worked up. I mean it's not life or death, it's just two guys posting their thoughts on a message board. If it were personal or face to face all the usual restraints would be in place, and we would never have reached this place in the first place. Try to remember that.
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Hence why Tigranes worded it with "I would say" and not "everyone would say".

 

He is not implying that everyone should have the same opinion as him.

 

(And personally, I would probably stop playing video games if I started having the same opinions as critics because video game critics generally have no clue what they're talking about.)

 

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.

Edited by TrueNeutral
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To give Bioware a little more credit though, I don't think that BG1 and BG2 were merely "good games". Both were near-classics of the genre. And this is coming from someone who threw both those games away a long time ago and doesn't regret doing so in the least.

 

You throw games away? Ones you loved?

 

Okaaaaay.

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To give Bioware a little more credit though, I don't think that BG1 and BG2 were merely "good games". Both were near-classics of the genre. And this is coming from someone who threw both those games away a long time ago and doesn't regret doing so in the least.

 

You throw games away? Ones you loved?

 

Okaaaaay.

 

 

No, I don't throw away games that I truely love. But 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. Which is precisely how I feel about BG1 and BG2. But I still think they are classics, even if they didn't quite thrill me enough to keep them around forever.

Notice how I can belittle your beliefs without calling you names. It's a useful skill to have particularly where you aren't allowed to call people names. It's a mistake to get too drawn in/worked up. I mean it's not life or death, it's just two guys posting their thoughts on a message board. If it were personal or face to face all the usual restraints would be in place, and we would never have reached this place in the first place. Try to remember that.
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I think what the problem here is that so many people can't seem to distuingish "good" from "entertaining".

 

Yeah, much in the same way people confuse "crap" with "I don't like this for some reason". If you like it it's a masterpiece, if you don't it's an abomination.

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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.

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The main problem I'm having with the author's comments is that he seems to say that Bioware are to be blamed for the very good press they get when their games are rated. To me, this is not Bioware's fault or wrong-doing. It is simply the way the press, the gaming media and the reviews for games work today. If you follow the Bioware forums closely (as I do), you will see that most devs, especially in the Dragon Age forums, but certainly in the forums, too, always have very candid, honest and up front answers. The same goes for Patrick Weekes who hangs out at the rpgwatch and David Gaider who hangs out at the ropgcodex from time to time. Especially David Gaider's comments on the rpgcodex are very candid as he does not pay lip service to the -ehm- codexians?- but simpy and plainly states the why, how of where Bioware is coming from in regards to the design of their games.

 

Bioware's mission statement is 'to make the best storydriven games in the world.' Please note that it says 'games', not RPGs. That way, the main story in Mass Effect and Jade Empire still gets to be a good story about something (important), and the devs. then build the game mechanics etc. around this story. Other games or rpgs are more engines in search of a game - or games in search of a story. To me, it seems that he complains about Jade Empire or KOTOR or even Mass Effect being (good) stories with a game tacked onto them. This is exacly the reason I like Bioware's games. I know that I will be getting a decent main story, and some interesting sidemissions as well. Of course, not everything the devs. wanted to put into the game, is going to end up in the game. The game has to be released at one time.

 

It is by no fault by Bioware that the gaming press is hyping say Mass Effect or Jade Empire which both got very hight ratings. I believe IGN gave Mass Effect a 9.9/10 or maybe even a 10/10; Jade Empire got a 9.9 rating from IGN when it was first released for the Xbox, then 2

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Actually, the guy seemed fairly in awe of Bioware's marketing ability, to me. "Blaming" Bioware didn't seem to be his agenda so much as questioning the validity of the god-like status often afforded them. He points out numerous times the fact that Bioware does produce good games.

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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 H
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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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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

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