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Why do some people/reviewers dislike the story of Pillars so much.

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#101
Manveru123

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As for the OP, I've heard people complain about the story in Divinity Original Sin, too. On my first playthrough of PoE1, I found the story a bit dry and just serviceable. I appreciated it more when I delved a little deeper. Probably most critics don't invest the time.

 

Critic reviews are useless. Most of them are created without a clear picture in mind, because due to time constraints the guy has limited time to play the game. Paid advertising is a thing too.

 

Myself, I tend to pay more attention to user reviews.


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#102
InsaneCommander

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As for the OP, I've heard people complain about the story in Divinity Original Sin, too. On my first playthrough of PoE1, I found the story a bit dry and just serviceable. I appreciated it more when I delved a little deeper. Probably most critics don't invest the time.

Critic reviews are useless. Most of them are created without a clear picture in mind, because due to time constraints the guy has limited time to play the game. Paid advertising is a thing too.

 

Myself, I tend to pay more attention to user reviews.

 

Me too. But sometimes I check the opinion of a youtuber that I know well and it can be useful when deciding to buy a game.


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#103
LittleAmadillo0

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As for the OP, I've heard people complain about the story in Divinity Original Sin, too. On my first playthrough of PoE1, I found the story a bit dry and just serviceable. I appreciated it more when I delved a little deeper. Probably most critics don't invest the time.

Critic reviews are useless. Most of them are created without a clear picture in mind, because due to time constraints the guy has limited time to play the game. Paid advertising is a thing too.

 

Myself, I tend to pay more attention to user reviews.

 

Me too. But sometimes I check the opinion of a youtuber that I know well and it can be useful when deciding to buy a game.

 

True. You don't have to always agree with a critic/youtuber's opinion on a game. It is important what kind of mindset the critic/youtuber has and see and understand what lead them to give a review a certain score.


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#104
Verde

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I think the writing is amateurish overall.
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#105
Zitchiock

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> However I do remember hearing a lot about how the story for POE was slow, boring , "dry" etc especially at the start. I've looked at a few reviews for this game and I am noticing that although it is reviewing very well some of the critics are saying the story is bad, they couldn't get into it and it's slow at the start. 

 

Well, as someone who doesn't think highly of Pillars 1's story, I can attempt to explain why I dislike it personally.  But before I begin, let me just preface my comments by saying that my dislike of the story has nothing to do with me disliking literature in general, or not liking dark stories, or anything like that.  So if you're going to respond to my comment by painting me as an illiterate, or as having poor/unrefined tastes, you can **** right off.  You're free to disagree with anything I write of course, these are just my personal feelings on the story.

 

SPOILERS FOR PILLARS OF ETERNITY 1 AND BALDUR'S GATE 2 BELOW

 

Anyway, here goes:

 

  • Thaos seems ill-defined to me as a character and a villain.

He's just this cardboard cut-out that I'm following around because the plot demands it, rather than me actually being interested in him.  He starts off as this mysterious character who has something to do with my awakening, but I don't know for sure, and we spend the first half of the game chasing breadcrumbs that he's dropped; then we come face-to-face briefly but all he really does is talk in riddles, and I'm left thinking: well I guess I'll run after him, but I'm not all that bothered really.

 

If I compare him to someone like Jon Irenicus: that ****er stole my soul.  And he was a right pretentious git about it too.  I wanted that guy dead from the very first minute I saw him, and it only grew throughout the game as he messed with me again and again and again.  I'm not saying that all plots have to revolve around a particular type of character, but Thaos, to me, does make for a spectacularly boring villain.  He lacks the charisma of other memorable villains.

 

I have played through most of Pillars at least 2-3 times now, 4 if I count my aborted first playthrough, and I have never gotten interested in Thaos.  The one time I managed to complete the game (despite being utterly uninterested in the plot), I really didn't care what happened to Thaos.  He was just a meaningless end-game boss to be defeated in order to access the ending slides.

 

  • The writing style is generally overwritten.

I suggest that before you read the following paragraphs, you read through this: http://literarylab.b...tten-prose.html

 

After reading that, you should understand that what I'm about to say doesn't come from a dislike of elaborate or beautiful prose.  For example, one of my favourite books is One Hundred Years of Solitude, by Gabriel García Márquez, an extract of which you can read here: https://www.nobelpri...quez-prose.html

 

 

 

At that time Macondo was a village of twenty adobe houses, built on the bank of a river of clear water that ran along a bed of polished stones, which were white and enormous, like prehistoric eggs.

 

Pillars 1's writing is full of unnecessary complication, of the type discussed in the first link from Literarylab.  It's a chore to read through endless reams of overwrought description and awkward similes.  Much of it is contained within companion dialogue, which is surprising considering that the dialogue in the game is written by a variety of different authors, many of them established experts in their field, such as Chris Avellone.

 

I suppose this point is redundant without examples, so I'll try to provide some, but it's not as if I wrote down the worst examples I saw while playing through the game or anything like that.

 

  • Example: Durance dialogue/description

 

 

 

Durance: His chuckle dies into a smile, a genuine one.

 

'Dies' into a smile?  This is just an awkward verb to use here.

 

 

 

Durance: As you study [the staff] deeper, it shimmers slightly in your eyes, like water catching the light weaving across the statue.  Whatever power was bled from the staff, it doesn't make it - or the wielder - any less dangerous.

 

This is from the moment where you meet Durance by the statue of Magran.

 

'It shimmers in your eyes' is a really confusing phrase.  'In' my eyes?  How can something shimmer in my eyes?  That doesn't make any sense.

 

'Like water catching the light weaving across the statue.'  So this is an attempt at a simile.  The staff is shimmering, and the effect makes the staff... no wait, not the staff, it makes it seem like there's water there... floating in mid-air?  Between you and the staff?  Ok, I guess... so it's as if there is water, and it's catching the the light weaving across the statue that's nearby...  god, this is a confusing sentence.  It's very pretty but it's quite difficult to dismantle the meaning.

 

'Whatever power was bled from the staff, it doesn't make it - or the wielder - any less dangerous.'  Ok so this sentence is trying to create the image that, despite the power that's gone from the staff, it's still dangerous, and so is Durance.  But why?  This old man dressed in rags doesn't seem dangerous to me.  He's more like a runty hermit with a boss eye than a deadly enemy.  How would I even know how dangerous he is?  How would I know what power was bled from the staff?  (this is early on, before you know anything about the Godhammer and Durance's role in it)  How would I know that despite the power being bled, he's still dangerous?  Nothing about this exchange makes me think that this guy is dangerous.

 

  • Example: general description from prologue

 

 

 

A handful of dark figures stands above the fallen, treading on limbs and backs and heads, jerking their axes from bodies as if from half-split logs as they prepare to add you to the sprawling pile beneath them.  One of them, towering and severe with a thick beard tassled with knots, holds a wet blade at the neck of the man you recognise as Heodan, the last of your caravan left standing.

 

So this is another painful pair of paragraphs, this time from the start of the game.

 

'dark figures'  It's not that dark in this scene.  The enemies here could be described in detail and it would give much better understanding to the player.

 

'as if from half-split logs'  This is another awkward simile.  Half-split logs... so we're comparing these dead bodies to.. logs?  Why?  Other than similar shapes, why would you make this comparison?  Does it make these enemies appear fearsome, to compare them to woodcutters?

 

'as they prepare to add you to the sprawling pile beneath them.'  I'm already reeling from the confusing attempt at a simile with half-split logs, and now I have to dismantle this...  add me to the sprawling pile beneath them..?  The bodies can't be a pile.  Unless they brought all the bodies together to put them into a pile.   The bodies would be quite spread out.  So not a pile.  And sprawling?  Remember, the definition of pile is a heap of things laid or lying one on top of another.  So, a sprawling pile?  This is just a really awkward description.  It's quite difficult to think of a pile of things as being sprawling.

 

'at the neck of the man you recognise as Heodan'  Another awkward set of phrases.  At-the-neck-of-the-man-you-recognise-as-Heodan.  Why not use 'at Heodan's neck'?  Is it really so important to add this layer of detail, and in this sentence?  'The man you recognise as Heodan' just makes this entire sentence cumbersome.

 

Anyway, I could go on, but again these are by no means the worst examples.  They are, however, representative of writing that is generally ponderous and difficult to understand.

 

Game writing, and really, good writing in general, doesn't have to be flowery and intricately detailed in order to do its job.  One choice word, description, simile, etc is worth ten flat ones.

 

There are a few other points I could make, perhaps about some of the supporting cast, but I already wrote a lot, and Thaos and the general quality of the writing are the two main problems I have with the story, so I guess this is ok.

 

This was a high quality post. I don't agree with all of it, but I appreciated it. I also found the literary lab link to be useful. Thanks so much. 


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#106
Tick

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So both Pillars Of Eternity and Deadfire reviewed very well and were (so far for deadfire) well received by players too.

However I do remember hearing a lot about how the story for POE was slow, boring , "dry" ect especially at the start. I've looked at a few reviews for this game and I am noticing that although it is reviewing very well some of the critics are saying the story is bad, they couldn't get into it and it's slow at the start.

Now I don't think the story of Pillars Of Eternity is like the best story I have ever played in a video game or anything. I have plenty of criticisms of it but then I have plenty of criticisms of the story in many games. Compared to other games though I really don't get why it got these comments and although I am still pretty early on in Deadfire I feel the same about this game.

What is it about the way these stories are told that is putting people off? Where as a relatively simplistic story like in the Divinity OS games does not seem to be getting this kind of response (and I am not bashing those games I loved those too).

The "slow at the start" comments especially are odd as this is pretty standard for this kind of rpg and a lot of people who are making these arguments should know this.


I just realized you've probably stopped paying attention to this thread, but :

I can't really say for sure. I think it varies depending on the person, but I *think* the general rule is that the mechanics and narrative of Pillars don't hit the beats some players assume it should.

Which is why I love these games and Obsidian games in general. They make more believable, thought out worlds and people and ideas. But if you loved Bioware and whatever tropes and patterns the company follows, I suspect Pillars - which almost goes out of its way to not just be the same RPG story, and be more grounded and introspective, and ask uncomfortable questions and have intentionally imperfect solutions to hard problems - is not satisfying.

The Last Jedi to some extent got the same response from Star Wars fans. It subverts expectations, which is cool, but some people were attached to the kind of stories that produce those expectations.
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#107
Verde

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> However I do remember hearing a lot about how the story for POE was slow, boring , "dry" etc especially at the start. I've looked at a few reviews for this game and I am noticing that although it is reviewing very well some of the critics are saying the story is bad, they couldn't get into it and it's slow at the start.

Well, as someone who doesn't think highly of Pillars 1's story, I can attempt to explain why I dislike it personally. But before I begin, let me just preface my comments by saying that my dislike of the story has nothing to do with me disliking literature in general, or not liking dark stories, or anything like that. So if you're going to respond to my comment by painting me as an illiterate, or as having poor/unrefined tastes, you can **** right off. You're free to disagree with anything I write of course, these are just my personal feelings on the story.

SPOILERS FOR PILLARS OF ETERNITY 1 AND BALDUR'S GATE 2 BELOW

Anyway, here goes:

  • Thaos seems ill-defined to me as a character and a villain.
He's just this cardboard cut-out that I'm following around because the plot demands it, rather than me actually being interested in him. He starts off as this mysterious character who has something to do with my awakening, but I don't know for sure, and we spend the first half of the game chasing breadcrumbs that he's dropped; then we come face-to-face briefly but all he really does is talk in riddles, and I'm left thinking: well I guess I'll run after him, but I'm not all that bothered really.

If I compare him to someone like Jon Irenicus: that ****er stole my soul. And he was a right pretentious git about it too. I wanted that guy dead from the very first minute I saw him, and it only grew throughout the game as he messed with me again and again and again. I'm not saying that all plots have to revolve around a particular type of character, but Thaos, to me, does make for a spectacularly boring villain. He lacks the charisma of other memorable villains.

I have played through most of Pillars at least 2-3 times now, 4 if I count my aborted first playthrough, and I have never gotten interested in Thaos. The one time I managed to complete the game (despite being utterly uninterested in the plot), I really didn't care what happened to Thaos. He was just a meaningless end-game boss to be defeated in order to access the ending slides.
  • The writing style is generally overwritten.
I suggest that before you read the following paragraphs, you read through this: http://literarylab.b...tten-prose.html

After reading that, you should understand that what I'm about to say doesn't come from a dislike of elaborate or beautiful prose. For example, one of my favourite books is One Hundred Years of Solitude, by Gabriel García Márquez, an extract of which you can read here: https://www.nobelpri...quez-prose.html


At that time Macondo was a village of twenty adobe houses, built on the bank of a river of clear water that ran along a bed of polished stones, which were white and enormous, like prehistoric eggs.


Pillars 1's writing is full of unnecessary complication, of the type discussed in the first link from Literarylab. It's a chore to read through endless reams of overwrought description and awkward similes. Much of it is contained within companion dialogue, which is surprising considering that the dialogue in the game is written by a variety of different authors, many of them established experts in their field, such as Chris Avellone.

I suppose this point is redundant without examples, so I'll try to provide some, but it's not as if I wrote down the worst examples I saw while playing through the game or anything like that.
  • Example: Durance dialogue/description


Durance: His chuckle dies into a smile, a genuine one.


'Dies' into a smile? This is just an awkward verb to use here.


Durance: As you study [the staff] deeper, it shimmers slightly in your eyes, like water catching the light weaving across the statue. Whatever power was bled from the staff, it doesn't make it - or the wielder - any less dangerous.


This is from the moment where you meet Durance by the statue of Magran.

'It shimmers in your eyes' is a really confusing phrase. 'In' my eyes? How can something shimmer in my eyes? That doesn't make any sense.

'Like water catching the light weaving across the statue.' So this is an attempt at a simile. The staff is shimmering, and the effect makes the staff... no wait, not the staff, it makes it seem like there's water there... floating in mid-air? Between you and the staff? Ok, I guess... so it's as if there is water, and it's catching the the light weaving across the statue that's nearby... god, this is a confusing sentence. It's very pretty but it's quite difficult to dismantle the meaning.

'Whatever power was bled from the staff, it doesn't make it - or the wielder - any less dangerous.' Ok so this sentence is trying to create the image that, despite the power that's gone from the staff, it's still dangerous, and so is Durance. But why? This old man dressed in rags doesn't seem dangerous to me. He's more like a runty hermit with a boss eye than a deadly enemy. How would I even know how dangerous he is? How would I know what power was bled from the staff? (this is early on, before you know anything about the Godhammer and Durance's role in it) How would I know that despite the power being bled, he's still dangerous? Nothing about this exchange makes me think that this guy is dangerous.
  • Example: general description from prologue


A handful of dark figures stands above the fallen, treading on limbs and backs and heads, jerking their axes from bodies as if from half-split logs as they prepare to add you to the sprawling pile beneath them. One of them, towering and severe with a thick beard tassled with knots, holds a wet blade at the neck of the man you recognise as Heodan, the last of your caravan left standing.


So this is another painful pair of paragraphs, this time from the start of the game.

'dark figures' It's not that dark in this scene. The enemies here could be described in detail and it would give much better understanding to the player.

'as if from half-split logs' This is another awkward simile. Half-split logs... so we're comparing these dead bodies to.. logs? Why? Other than similar shapes, why would you make this comparison? Does it make these enemies appear fearsome, to compare them to woodcutters?

'as they prepare to add you to the sprawling pile beneath them.' I'm already reeling from the confusing attempt at a simile with half-split logs, and now I have to dismantle this... add me to the sprawling pile beneath them..? The bodies can't be a pile. Unless they brought all the bodies together to put them into a pile. The bodies would be quite spread out. So not a pile. And sprawling? Remember, the definition of pile is a heap of things laid or lying one on top of another. So, a sprawling pile? This is just a really awkward description. It's quite difficult to think of a pile of things as being sprawling.

'at the neck of the man you recognise as Heodan' Another awkward set of phrases. At-the-neck-of-the-man-you-recognise-as-Heodan. Why not use 'at Heodan's neck'? Is it really so important to add this layer of detail, and in this sentence? 'The man you recognise as Heodan' just makes this entire sentence cumbersome.

Anyway, I could go on, but again these are by no means the worst examples. They are, however, representative of writing that is generally ponderous and difficult to understand.

Game writing, and really, good writing in general, doesn't have to be flowery and intricately detailed in order to do its job. One choice word, description, simile, etc is worth ten flat ones.

There are a few other points I could make, perhaps about some of the supporting cast, but I already wrote a lot, and Thaos and the general quality of the writing are the two main problems I have with the story, so I guess this is ok.

This was a high quality post. I don't agree with all of it, but I appreciated it. I also found the literary lab link to be useful. Thanks so much.

Agreed with almost all of this. As Stephen King said, never let your prose get in the way of the story. PoE1 is a prime example of that.

PoE2's writing is all over the place. Some is good, most is silly, and some is straight cringey worthy. I mean, "I.Hate.Boats" are you serious lmao?
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#108
bringingyouthefuture

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"I.Hate.Boats" that's my favorite line ... I mean I like to read as much as the next person, just finished The Broken Earth Trilogy.  Here is a question for you about good writing - why is the Twilight series so popular - I mean you could spend days picking the writing apart but still people love them.  Faulkner wrote whole paragraph's as a single sentence.  I can't figure out what the hell Samuel Becket did with Molloy, Malone Dies and The Unnamable - but there is a whole line of scholarship behind his writing.  Did you ever try to read Infinite Jest ... I mean writing rules are meant to be broken - though if you were part of the M.G.M society from Massachusetts I could see the problem ...



#109
house2fly

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Really the only problem with the hating boats line is that it comes at the start of the game where you have a boat. It should come later on, eg your ship crashes again when you get to the final area
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#110
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But I hate boats ...  :blink: 



#111
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But I hate boats ...  :blink:

 

Then name yours "What a Piece of Crap!" :p



#112
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Which is why I love these games and Obsidian games in general. They make more believable, thought out worlds and people and ideas. But if you loved Bioware and whatever tropes and patterns the company follows, I suspect Pillars - which almost goes out of its way to not just be the same RPG story, and be more grounded and introspective, and ask uncomfortable questions and have intentionally imperfect solutions to hard problems - is not satisfying.


The Last Jedi to some extent got the same response from Star Wars fans. It subverts expectations, which is cool, but some people were attached to the kind of stories that produce those expectations.

 

 

> But if you loved Bioware and whatever tropes and patterns the company follows, I suspect Pillars - which almost goes out of its way to not just be the same RPG story, and be more grounded and introspective, and ask uncomfortable questions and have intentionally imperfect solutions to hard problems - is not satisfying.

 

'Obsidian's stories are just too grounded, too introspective, too uncomfortable, too intentionally imperfect, for you, a Bioware drone, to find satisfying.'

 

How convenient.  This is only one or two steps away from being a Rick and Morty meme.

 

> The Last Jedi to some extent got the same response from Star Wars fans. It subverts expectations, which is cool, but some people were attached to the kind of stories that produce those expectations.

 

Unsurprising, given the previous paragraph, that you'd be peddling the same nonsense when it comes to that pile of dross The Last Jedi.

 


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#113
misterjimmy

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The Last Jedi to some extent got the same response from Star Wars fans. It subverts expectations, which is cool, but some people were attached to the kind of stories that produce those expectations.

 

 

I can understand how many fans getting angry about Rian Johnson make Luke become a self-destruction old man. Even Mark Hamill said " I almost had to think of Luke as another character. Maybe he’s Jake Skywalker, he’s not my Luke Skywalker."



#114
Teclis23

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The plot was terrible in the last jedi as well 

 

Also the starwars franchise has become too mainstream. So many characters in the movie now that are just there to appeal to the masses for the purposes of selling adds. For example they have  a black character, a white character , an asian character but never two of each because they dont want to upset big corporations that are paying for adds during star wars airtime. 

 

The story plot and narrative was also along these tones. They tried to cater for little kids, teenagers, adults and the elderly. They also tried to appeal to men and women

 

You have all seen the resulting mess


Edited by Teclis23, 05 September 2018 - 11:03 PM.

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#115
Androoh

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On the topic of the writing...

Having the option to ask Rymrgand in Beast of Winter:

Why are you such a jerk?

Was one of the cringiest bits of written dialogue I've read in this game. 


Edited by Androoh, 06 September 2018 - 02:33 AM.


#116
Sherab

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The plot was terrible in the last jedi as well 

 

Also the starwars franchise has become too mainstream. So many characters in the movie now that are just there to appeal to the masses for the purposes of selling adds. For example they have  a black character, a white character , an asian character but never two of each because they dont want to upset big corporations that are paying for adds during star wars airtime. 

 

The story plot and narrative was also along these tones. They tried to cater for little kids, teenagers, adults and the elderly. They also tried to appeal to men and women

 

You have all seen the resulting mess

 

 

Well, this is obviously an off-topic, but besides my relatively yong age, the original Star Wars saga was the first, I've felt in love with. Then, I was rather dissapointed about "the Old Republic" trilogy. Ok, those were good movies in their own terms, lots of special effects, and so on. But there was missing that "thing". I've only liked McGregor's and Neeson's play.

 

Now, I have the feeling of getting back to the origins. Ok, the story has it's flaws, like lack of the background for Snoke, it seems that most (now all, from neccessity) old heros returns only to die (and you don't kill Han Solo, simply don't ! :p), some copy-paste schemes from first trilogy. But in general, I was watching those two last (three if we count in "the Rogue One") movies with true pleasure, and I really like those speciffic relation between Ben Solo and Rey.

 

 

Getting back to PoE. As I wrote before somwhere, I think that yes - both games - the first PoE, and the Deadfire, have indeed big issues with writing (and I would argue, that when it comes to main plot, Deadfire is even worse than predecessor). But still, those stories were good enough, to keep me interested and enjoy both games (mosty the first one). I can only complain, that while our developers created entirely new world (no D&D universum), the so called "lore" is rather shallow - and for me personally this is mportant to really get immersed into the game's world, and enchance my role-playing experience. :)



#117
daven

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Almost derailed the thread completely there guys.

 

Subverting expectations doesn't = better story

 

Is it not possible to enjoy Dragon Age and Pillars?


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#118
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The story/plot just wasn't up to scratch in Deadfire, too many compromises were made - open world, too many changes to the gaming system etc. Not that the writers are suddenly bad writers - some of the dialogue and general writing is excellent. But it's abundantly clear that the story was not a big concern for them.

I am disappointed because it's not what I wanted in an Obs game, especially now that I have played BOW which had some superb writing and locations. Playing through the burning bridge (which is simply stunning) and then moving onto another arbitrary location in Deadfire is a major shock to the system - the drop in quality is staggering...

Mostly writing and atmospheric - though the artwork in BOW is also superb.


Edited by rheingold, 06 September 2018 - 02:52 AM.

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#119
Verde

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"I.Hate.Boats" that's my favorite line ... I mean I like to read as much as the next person, just finished The Broken Earth Trilogy. Here is a question for you about good writing - why is the Twilight series so popular - I mean you could spend days picking the writing apart but still people love them. Faulkner wrote whole paragraph's as a single sentence. I can't figure out what the hell Samuel Becket did with Molloy, Malone Dies and The Unnamable - but there is a whole line of scholarship behind his writing. Did you ever try to read Infinite Jest ... I mean writing rules are meant to be broken - though if you were part of the M.G.M society from Massachusetts I could see the problem ...


I hope you're joking about your fav line lol

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bringingyouthefuture

bringingyouthefuture

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"I.Hate.Boats" that's my favorite line ... I mean I like to read as much as the next person, just finished The Broken Earth Trilogy. Here is a question for you about good writing - why is the Twilight series so popular - I mean you could spend days picking the writing apart but still people love them. Faulkner wrote whole paragraph's as a single sentence. I can't figure out what the hell Samuel Becket did with Molloy, Malone Dies and The Unnamable - but there is a whole line of scholarship behind his writing. Did you ever try to read Infinite Jest ... I mean writing rules are meant to be broken - though if you were part of the M.G.M society from Massachusetts I could see the problem ...


I hope you're joking about your fav line lol

 

 

I mean, I saw people post about the line a while back ... but normally don't want to contradict people's opinion but that cat is out of the bag already so - I saw that line and it made me laugh, and choose it every time.  I really liked it.  It was perfect!! (call me unsophisticated if you must - but just don't call me a boat lover).

 

I don't know ... if I had a criticism of Deadfire story and plot, it would be that there isn't more of it, but not that it is deficient but the fact that I want a huge game that plays for the entire year!! LOL which is asking too much.  Even more so I wish there were more lines of dialogue to choose from, instead of five or 8, why not 10 or 15 please!!!  Last thing I will say is about Star Wars ... I keep hoping they turn Timothy Zahn's books into movies - the Heir To The Empire trilogy was great!!


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