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When everything else is good to great in each game in question

It's not. We're comparing 3 games with wildly varying strengths and weaknesses, and who's to say which strength and weakness will matter most to a reviewer?

 

 

DA:I

DA:I's combat and UI is an insufferable chore, but its lore is pretty darn good and has the unfair advantage of having been slowly built up over the course of 3 games. Its stronghold is really *really* fleshed out. Its game world is dull, its quests are MMO garbage, and its loot itemization is soulless. I can agree with you that it doesn't deserve to be rated higher than PoE.

 

Divinity Original Sin

Its combat is so fun, deep and multi-dimensional that I can totally understand someone giving the entire game a 9 because of it alone. But it also does a fairly decent job with its puzzles. And it's an overall good looking game. Its story is poorly written, its lore is... wait... does D:OS even have lore? Its Co-op mechanics are *great*. And even without playing the game co-op, the party control is rather good, and unique. You can send half your party out to do one thing, and the other half to do another thing. The crafting mechanic in D:OS is better than PoE's. D:OS's Pocket Plane is better than PoE's stronghold. And the environment interaction.... there's nothing in either game to even compare here. As a Gamer, I *wish* I could use the environment to make my spells do special sh*t in PoE and DA:I (and a bunch of other games I've played), but I can't. The extra dimension isn't there in those games.

 

PoE

The lore...yeah, what about it? It may be good, but lore can't stand on its own. It needs a good delivery system or people won't emmerse themselves in it. As it happens, PoE dumps its lore on you way WAY too quickly and in the most obnoxiously hamfisted manner imaginable. Obsidian did not heed the old advice of: "show me don't tell me". And PoE's Plot? Yes. better than the other two games. PoE's combat? Give me a Break. It's NOT good. It's Ok. It's tactical only if you want it to be. But lets not pretend you can't just mindlessly auto-attack your way to victory in about 90% of the encounters in the game. because you TOTALLY CAN. PoE's combat suffers from Obsidian-itis. I've never played an Obsidian game with good combat. And PoE doesn't break that mold in the slighest. Character Building? PoE is the Best of the 3. There's no denying that. 11 classes, 6 attributes, a talent system that allows for true diversity.... the other two games don't come close. The stronghold? yeah, I've said enough about that already. The games Visuals: I'm Bias. in my mind, the Infinity engine style of hand painted 2d environments is how all games should be done. And of the three, only PoE does it that way. So PoE wins out. Pacing? Well, bugged or not, it has a problem. A problem that the other two games don't have. You can hit the cap halfway through the game, thus reducing your motivation to play on. BG1 lost points for this, and PoE does too.

 

 

 

So what's the end result? The end result is this: ???

 

Each game has just enough strengths and weaknesses to justify any reviewer who chooses to rate one of them a point higher than another or vice versa.

Edited by Stun
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...you think P:T's gameplay was good?

 

It's been a really long time, but I don't recall it being bad.  Not that it much matters since that game's story made it great all on its own.

 

Oh, I vividly recall forcing myself to struggle through much of the actual interacting with the game part in order to get to the story.  I mean, I got a P:T tattoo so it's not like it's ruined it for me or anything, but it was still something I found pretty unenjoyable.

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...you think P:T's gameplay was good?

PS:T's gameplay was terrible lol. But generally speaking, PS:T is the exception to most rules whenever we have one of these rating-discussions. Its gameplay doesn't matter. It gets a pass because of the sheer, unmatched strength of its story alone. It simply can't be used as an argument here for anything. More to the point: PS:T's story isn't "good". PS:T's story is the best. It transcends its medium.

 

The three games we're discussing on this thread, though, do not produce this phenomenon, and therefore must be judged on more than just their stories.

Edited by Stun
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Just - wow. I can't believe the score Kevin van Ord gives PoE. 8/10, when he gave Dragon Age : Inquisition 9/10. AND Divinity Original Sin?!! Is he for real?

 

PoE is not perfect, but 8/10?

 

Something is definitely up here. Did the devs p*ss Van Ord off??

 

How can he say D:OS is a 'glimpse of the future' but PoE is treading the fine line between clone and homage? I lost interest in D:OS pretty quickly, the world is just too fairytale and garish, and everything is covered in either slime, fire or ice!!

 

I'm shocked by this review. Genuinely shocked.

 

I thought D:OS was an amazing game and an equal to this game. Both deserve a 9.

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When everything else is good to great in each game in question

It's not. We're comparing 3 games with wildly varying strengths and weaknesses, and who's to say which strength and weakness will matter most to a reviewer?

 

 

DA:I

DA:I's combat and UI is an insufferable chore, but its lore is pretty darn good and has the unfair advantage of having been slowly built up over the course of 3 games. Its stronghold is really *really* fleshed out. Its game world is dull, its quests are MMO garbage, and its loot itemization is soulless. I can agree with you that it doesn't deserve to be rated higher than PoE.

 

Divinity Original Sin

Its combat is so fun, deep and multi-dimensional that I can totally understand someone giving the entire game a 9 because of it alone. But it also does a fairly decent job with its puzzles. And it's an overall good looking game. Its story is poorly written, its lore is... wait... does D:OS even have lore? Its Co-op mechanics are *great*. And even without playing the game co-op, the party control is rather good, and unique. You can send half your party out to do one thing, and the other half to do another thing. The crafting mechanic in D:OS is better than PoE's. D:OS's Pocket Plane is better than PoE's stronghold. And the environment interaction.... there's nothing in either game to even compare here. As a Gamer, I *wish* I could use the environment to make my spells do special sh*t in PoE and DA:I (and a bunch of other games I've played), but I can't. The extra dimension isn't there in those games.

 

PoE

The lore...yeah, what about it? It may be good, but lore can't stand on its own. It needs a good delivery system or people won't emmerse themselves in it. As it happens, PoE dumps its lore on you way WAY too quickly and in the most obnoxiously hamfisted manner imaginable. Obsidian did not heed the old advice of: "show me don't tell me". And PoE's Plot? Yes. better than the other two games. PoE's combat? Give me a Break. It's NOT good. It's Ok. It's tactical only if you want it to be. But lets not pretend you can't just mindlessly auto-attack your way to victory in about 90% of the encounters in the game. because you TOTALLY CAN. PoE's combat suffers from Obsidian-itis. I've never played an Obsidian game with good combat. And PoE doesn't break that mold in the slighest. Character Building? PoE is the Best of the 3. There's no denying that. 11 classes, 6 attributes, a talent system that allows for true diversity.... the other two games don't come close. The stronghold? yeah, I've said enough about that already. The games Visuals: I'm Bias. in my mind, the Infinity engine style of hand painted 2d environments is how all games should be done. And of the three, only PoE does it that way. So PoE wins out. Pacing? Well, bugged or not, it has a problem. A problem that the other two games don't have. You can hit the cap halfway through the game, thus reducing your motivation to play on. BG1 lost points for this, and PoE does too.

 

 

 

So what's the end result? The end result is this: ???

 

Each game has just enough strengths and weaknesses to justify any reviewer who chooses to rate one of them a point higher than another or vice versa.

 

 

1) How anyone could find the Dragon Age lore even marginally bearable is beyond me.  Dragon Age writing has been the worst ever created by Bioware throughout the whole series.  I agree with your other points though.  Again, my point is Van Ord rating it higher than PoE really reveals what kind of RPG player he is, and he just isn't much of one really.  He like flashy gameplay over depth and content.

 

2) I clearly didn't enjoy it as much as you.  It's fun but at times it feels very predictable since certain combinations of elements are so obviously better than everything else.  I can see why some would prefer it over PoE combat, but virtually everything else about the game outside of that and possibly graphics is markedly inferior, especially the world, the story, and the lore.  And I really like D:OS. 

 

3) I was talking about the story.  It's just vastly better than the other two games.  Everything else can be chalked up to personal preference I suppose, but the writing is quantifiably better from the perspective of traditional literary technique.  It's better than the BG games too.  Basically DA:I and D:OS are on par with the worst forms of throw away fantasy novels, the BG games are on par with much of RA Salvatore's D&D stuff, and PoE is more on par with Michael Moor**** or Glen Cook.

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...you think P:T's gameplay was good?

PS:T's gameplay was terrible lol. But generally speaking, PS:T is the exception to most rules whenever we have one of these rating-discussions. Its gameplay doesn't matter. It gets a pass because of the sheer, unmatched strength of its story alone. It simply can't be used as an argument here for anything. More to the point: PS:T's story isn't "good". PS:T's story is the best. It transcends its medium.

 

The three games we're discussing on this thread, though, do not produce this phenomenon, and therefore must be judged on more than just their stories.

 

 

Planescape Torment is the only old IE game with a better story than PoE.  They all have better stories than DA:I or D:OS.

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You're not saying anything here. Water is wet. So? I don't love The BG and IWD games because of their stories. (although, if I wasn't beginning to tire of this discussion, I would debate you on some specifics. Irenicus, for example, is an infinitely better written villain than...PoE's villain, who's name I've already forgotten.)

Edited by Stun
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...you think P:T's gameplay was good?

PS:T's gameplay was terrible lol. But generally speaking, PS:T is the exception to most rules whenever we have one of these rating-discussions. Its gameplay doesn't matter. It gets a pass because of the sheer, unmatched strength of its story alone. It simply can't be used as an argument here for anything. More to the point: PS:T's story isn't "good". PS:T's story is the best. It transcends its medium.

 

The three games we're discussing on this thread, though, do not produce this phenomenon, and therefore must be judged on more than just their stories.

 

Buddy.  Quote from that game permanently inked on my body; you don't have to talk me into this view!

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Combat and loot is a very important part of the game imo, and D:OS does it better than Pillars I'm sorry to say (IMO). The combat in D:OS is highly tactical and plays fantastic. However Pillars has a better story and more interesting companions and lore so it evens out. But you cannot dismiss combat and loot.

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To be fair, D:OS combat suffers in a similar manner to POE. That is, a few tactics will trivialize most, if not all encounters in the game; CC and magic in general for Divinity, high deflection tank and ranged DPS for POE. Divinity's combat may be far and away more ambitious than POE, but you don't have to dive very far to find the winning strategy. Fortunately, Larian is working on an update to add a new difficulty into the main game. Maybe Obsidian will be able to do something like that for POE to improve the challenge level of encounters.

 

Personally, I do not like Divinity's loot system; a lot of trash loot that is randomized, which doesn't help. POE may have the unlimited stash, but at least I'm guaranteed to find certain drops in different areas.

Edited by View619
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Combat and loot is a very important part of the game imo, and D:OS does it better than Pillars I'm sorry to say (IMO). The combat in D:OS is highly tactical and plays fantastic. However Pillars has a better story and more interesting companions and lore so it evens out. But you cannot dismiss combat and loot.

 

Totally a legitimate preference.  Both games are great.  But rating D:OS with it's weak story, world, and lore higher that PoE because of it, when PoE's combat and loot is quite good overall?  Makes no sense.  I don't get how anyone doesn't rate story and setting as the #1 thing in CRPGs, but I guess we all have our preferences.

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but the writing is quantifiably better from the perspective of traditional literary technique.

Pardon my French, but... bull-sh*t.

 

Anyone can spew forth a giant script of perfectly crafted prose, complete with Victorian era influences (or whatever's your favorite) dripping with utterly 'mature' subject matter. But that doesn't, on its own, make for a good story. And in a video game, adhering to traditional literary technique can result in tiresome cliché.

 

In PoE's case, You play the role of the Speshul, chosen one. If it wasn't for the fact that cliché, been-there-done-that, plotlines don't bother me, I'd have condemned PoE's story about a week ago. But, as it happens, I see PoE's story as "good enough". And as a sidenote, I rank it higher than D:OS's and DA:I's.

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The point being that neither can overtake the other. And ultimately? Gameplay will always trump story in a design sense.

Depends on what kind of game it is. Some games are designed from story on up, and they can and do sell well if done properly. Nobody lost money on Planescape: Torment.

 

Read the original design doc for Torment. It was very much designed with gameplay as a huge factor, moreso than what we actually ended up with. Being able to rip off limbs and use them as clubs? Yes please.

 

What is your point?  Both it and PoE were built story first and gameplay second, but in both cases gameplay was also a priority and came out quite good as well.

 

If gameplay was not a priority, Josh Sawyer would not have worked so hard at making a new system.

 

The idea that gameplay is not a priority in a game is... that's something, man. 

 

You don't need to sacrifice gameplay in order for the story to be good. You're not reading a book. 

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"Planescape Torment is the only old IE game with a better story than PoE.  They all have better stories than DA:I or D:OS."

 

L0L

DWARVES IN PROJECT ETERNITY = VOLOURN HAS PLEDGED $250.

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PS:T's gameplay was terrible lol. But generally speaking, PS:T is the exception to most rules whenever we have one of these rating-discussions. Its gameplay doesn't matter. It gets a pass because of the sheer, unmatched strength of its story alone. It simply can't be used as an argument here for anything. More to the point: PS:T's story isn't "good". PS:T's story is the best. It transcends its medium.

 

The three games we're discussing on this thread, though, do not produce this phenomenon, and therefore must be judged on more than just their stories.

 

But that's the entire point that I'm making. Story is absolutely vital to a "good" game; indeed, it is entirely possible for a game to stand as "good" or even "great" based *entirely* on the strength of it's story.

 

A video game is less like a traditional board game in the sense of "game". This wasn't always true; there was a time when gameplay was literally all that existed and stories in video games were a distant dream. As the medium matured this changed. Much as how early films were more similar to plays in a great many ways and are now a medium all their own, so to have video games came past their roots as pure games and come to a point where story, characters, plot, and writing are, at the very least, every bit as important.

 

In todays world a game can be focused on story or on gameplay, and if it's done well it can and will be successful. For me, personally, I'm a store driven person--and for me a good story with interesting characters will make or break a game.

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it is entirely possible for a game to stand as "good" or even "great" based *entirely* on the strength of it's story.

No, it's entirely possible for Planescape: Torment to stand as good or great based entirely on its story.

 

Because Planescape: Torment is unique. PS:T is the ONE super-freakish exception to the rule because it managed to have a story that transcended gaming itself (it can compete with classic literature) No other RPG can (or ever has) succeeded on story alone.

Edited by Stun
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but the writing is quantifiably better from the perspective of traditional literary technique.

Pardon my French, but... bull-sh*t.

 

Anyone can spew forth a giant script of perfectly crafted prose, complete with Victorian era influences (or whatever's your favorite) dripping with utterly 'mature' subject matter. But that doesn't, on its own, make for a good story. And in a video game, adhering to traditional literary technique can result in tiresome cliché.

 

In PoE's case, You play the role of the Speshul, chosen one. If it wasn't for the fact that cliché, been-there-done-that, plotlines don't bother me, I'd have condemned PoE's story about a week ago. But, as it happens, I see PoE's story as "good enough". And as a sidenote, I rank it higher than D:OS's and DA:I's.

 

 

This probably won't be a popular opinion around here, but I found DA:I's characters (the companions and advisers) more interesting than PoE's. Yeah, the writing for Bioware companions can be a little juvenile at times...but at least I'm entertained by them and felt like my character had a connection/relationship with them. PoE's companions largely feel like they join me for kinda random reasons, dump their backstories on me, then give me a short quest and don't really change or anything.

 

While I really Baldur's Gate 2, I think Dragon Age: Origins did a much better job with companions mainly because interaction with the BG2 companions felt very limited. For most of the non romanceable characters, I believe there were only a handful of instances where the PC could even speak with them after joining and those were only in instances triggered by playtime. I feel like Baldur's Gate 2 set the bar for companions and Bioware's later games (plus other companies like Obsidian with Mask of the Betrayer) exceeded it. 

 

This is seperate from plot though, DA:I's plot is very basic (although has some nice themes about faith and stuff I guess) and its sidequests do it no favors.

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No, it's entirely possible for Planescape: Torment to stand as good or great based on story alone.

 

Because Planescape: Torment is unique. PS:T is the ONE super-freakish exception to the rule because it managed to have a story that transcended gaming itself (it can compete with classic literature) No other RPG can succeed on story alone. Especially in 2015. Because such a "game" wouldn't sell enough to pay the salaries of its writing staff.

 

So you're argument is simply that P:T is unique and no other video game will ever be able to accomplish what it did because it's just that special? That game, and that game alone, is the pinnacle and ultimate achievement of storytelling in video games and no other game will ever be able to depend on things like character, plot, and story for success?

 

I find that theory less than plausible. P:T is an example of what is possible and should be aspired to in the medium, not some godlike achievement that should be admired but never attempted.

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No, it's entirely possible for Planescape: Torment to stand as good or great based on story alone.

 

Because Planescape: Torment is unique. PS:T is the ONE super-freakish exception to the rule because it managed to have a story that transcended gaming itself (it can compete with classic literature) No other RPG can succeed on story alone. Especially in 2015. Because such a "game" wouldn't sell enough to pay the salaries of its writing staff.

So you're argument is simply that P:T is unique and no other video game will ever be able to accomplish what it did because it's just that special? That game, and that game alone, is the pinnacle and ultimate achievement of storytelling in video games and no other game will ever be able to depend on things like character, plot, and story for success?

 

I find that theory less than plausible.

 

By all means, Prove that 'theory' wrong, then. Edited by Stun
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Gamespot and other "review" sites are shills for whichever publisher pays them the most.  Why do you think all the big budget games with the known/rich publishers generally score very good (unless the game is so utterly trash that even kickbacks aren't worth outright lying).

 

The fact PoE got as good a score as it did speaks volumes about its quality.

"Console exclusive is such a harsh word." - Darque

"Console exclusive is two words Darque." - Nartwak (in response to Darque's observation)

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No, it's entirely possible for Planescape: Torment to stand as good or great based on story alone.

 

Because Planescape: Torment is unique. PS:T is the ONE super-freakish exception to the rule because it managed to have a story that transcended gaming itself (it can compete with classic literature) No other RPG can succeed on story alone. Especially in 2015. Because such a "game" wouldn't sell enough to pay the salaries of its writing staff.

So you're argument is simply that P:T is unique and no other video game will ever be able to accomplish what it did because it's just that special? That game, and that game alone, is the pinnacle and ultimate achievement of storytelling in video games and no other game will ever be able to depend on things like character, plot, and story for success?

 

I find that theory less than plausible.

 

Go ahead. Prove me wrong, then.

 

I don't have to. But I'm very glad that people don't listen to you, and will continue to try.

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