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Editorial Gamers With Jobs find Bioware *gasp* overrated

Discussion in 'RPG News & Content' started by Calis, Apr 2, 2008.

  1. Calis Pensionado

    Calis
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    Tags: BioWare

    <A HREF="http://www.gamerswithjobs.com/node/38343" target="_blank">Yes, really.</A> Unfortunately, the author of the piece in question barely touches on any kind of analysis of the design choices that, in his mind, put Bioware's games below the mark implied by the overwhelmingly positive reception from so-called critics. Here's a piece on KOTOR and Jade Empire:<blockquote>I contend that with a lesser brand (and certainly without the Star Wars trappings) Knights of the Old Republic would have been a largely forgettable experience. And, Jade Empire would have been a product praised for making the effort but condemned to a host of average scores instead of being heralded by one IGN reviewer as “one of the greatest action RPG's of all-time” while another IGN reviewer suggested that the first had “underrated” Jade Empire by giving it a 9.9!</blockquote>
    <br>
    While the author does point out the dangers of an atmosphere in which a company gets an ab-initio free pass for anything they release, nowhere in the opinion piece does he really try to analyze why this is, why the games don't deserve the praise they're getting or how the problem (perceived or otherwise) he describes applies to other developers. <A HREF="http://www.gamerswithjobs.com/node/38343" target="_blank">Anyway, you can read the rest here</A>.
    <br>
    <br>
    Spotted at: <A HREF="http://www.sorcerers.net">Sorcerer's</A>
    <br>
    <br>
     
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  2. Wyrmlord Arcane

    Wyrmlord
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    You know, whenever people say, "I don't think their stuff is bad, they are pretty good, but it's not that good, it's OK, but it's not great", it feels like they are not sure what they want to say. It's as if they are tip-toeing around instead of simply saying what they want to say and stand by it.

    It particularly happens when people try to call something overrated. Because then they'll later try to make a concession by saying that the thing is not bad, "only not as good as people think it is".

    It's all nonsense, IMO. If you find something good anyway, then why are you trying to argue against it? Why engage in this practice of futility by trying to measure the degree of it, by saying "It's not great, but it's not bad, and it's still quite good, but not that good, et cetera et cetera et cetera"?
     
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  3. Andhaira Arcane

    Andhaira
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    Bah! Thjis is where I disagree (normally I agree mainstream media always goes with the hype/advert money)

    KOTOR is one of the best rpg's ever made. (KOTOR had serious issues though, but thats because obsidian made it.) Jade empire is truly one of the greatest rpg's made. I do agree though that a score of 9.9is too much due to one HUGE flaw Jade Empire has: Your partner npc does NO damage to opponents!
     
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  4. Seboss Scholar

    Seboss
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    Right, that sure is its main flaw.
     
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  5. Andyman Messiah Mr. Ed-ucated

    Andyman Messiah
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    Alright, you're no longer allowed to post, Andhaira. Please respect my decision.
     
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  6. doctor_kaz Scholar

    doctor_kaz
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    Jade Empire has way more flaws than that.

    Bioware's recent stuff has been largely overrated, but it's not unique to just them. It's a major epidemic in the industry.
     
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  7. Disconnected Scholar

    Disconnected
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    I think Bioware's biggest problem is that they've convinced themselves their audience are 10 year olds.

    I don't doubt their ability to make an interesting, coherent plot or write interesting, coherent dialogue.
    I don't doubt their ability to create solid TB combat.
    I don't doubt their ability to create gameworlds that unfold in various ways despite, as well as because of the player.

    And I don't doubt the reason they're not doing any of those things, is because they think their target audience doesn't want them.

    Maybe they should sit down with that Brad Wardel (or whatever his name is) guy from Stardock & have a little chat about who actually buys their games & why, because if they had any sort of competition at all, I sure as shit wouldn't. And somehow, I doubt being a perpetual let-down is a good strategy for the brand.
     
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  8. Volourn Pretty Princess Pretty Princess

    Volourn
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    This article, and thread are overrated. JE is not worthy of a 9.9. No game is. However, I believe JE is udnerrated more than anything as is ME. KOTOR, on the other hand, is definitely overrated.
     
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  9. deuxhero Arcane

    deuxhero
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    I personaly think that KotoR did at the very least had memorable dialog, (aside from the strangled by the red string bits and the lack of player options) ... but that could just be because I am one of the people that would acctualy recognize every homage it includes (but even without them, you can't help but remember HK-47 or Jolee Bindo) .
     
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  10. aries202 Erudite

    aries202
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    When I first read this story here:

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/ ... lTech/home

    I thought to myself that maybe this is why Bioware games seem to overuse the same plots, the same archetypal stories and characters in their game :?:
    (sorry about the icon, but I was really shocked).

    Anyway, the author at games with jobs seems to me to be complaining more about why the media is treating Bioware games with the soft gloves. I agree that no game should be getting a 9.9 rating (unless maybe PS:Torment) and that Jade Empire defiinetely isn't a 9.9 game, nor is Mass Effect a 9.75 game (or 10/10) game. That's just ridiculous.

    The author seems to be complaining about Bioware games being more like stories than games. If you look at Bioware's mission statement, however, you will see that their mission to *make the best storydriven games in the world*. The whole point of a Bioware game is that it is telling a story first and foremost, and that the game(play) support the storytelling, not the that gameplay comes first and the storyline second.

    If we look at Bioware latest game, Mass Effect, this game was planned originally for the Xbox 360 which meant that it was developed to compete with a market in which shooters rule. And so the combat etc. were (or should that be was?) designed in part to fit the target demographics of those who play the Xbox 360 i.e. the 18-30 year old males.

    If you look at the screenshots and info from the Niintendo DS game, the Sonic RPG, you will see that this game takes a completey different turn than Mass Effect. It has beautifully (handcrafted?) paintings (screens) for backgrounds and characters. It is in 2D and has a very real old school feeling, simply because of it is being developed for a completely diifferent audience (or market) than Mass Effect.

    Bioware has never, as I see it, done a real TB game. In most of their games, they've done some sort of RtwP combat where you pause the game, and then choose an action. After you unpause, the action plays out.

    The part of Bioware games, even with Mass Effect, I find really trroubling is that their dialogue options always seem to be leading to the same conslusions, although this seems to contradict this:

    http://www.mercextra.com/blogs/aei/2008 ... ok_part_2/

    If you read the section that's called

    "THANK THE GALAXY FOR THE STORY"

    you will learn that if you invest points in your charm skill, you can well, charm, your way out of combat.

    Many people that migrate from shooters and just press the A-button never see this feature, I think.

    That said, I don't think that it is Bioware's fault that the media is giving their games 9.9 or above ratings. However, it is not just Bioware games that get this treatment. The same thing happened with Halo 3 and Bioshock and some other games. I've read the opionion piece (spotted at the rpgwatch first) and I agree with Calis that it would be nice to have seen the author anaylyzr why some game studios like Bioware seem to getting a free pass from the mediia - even when they are making just above mediocre or less than mediocre games.

    Personally, I like Bioware games as I like the stories, the character interaction etc. - but I also have two critical eyes that are able to see that both Jade Empire and Mass Effect certainly aren't worth ratings above maybe about 8.0/10
     
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  11. Volourn Pretty Princess Pretty Princess

    Volourn
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    Nah. Both are around 9.0 espciially with how inflated scores have gotten where even average games are worthy of 8s.
     
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  12. Azarkon Arcane

    Azarkon
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    The BG series was about a child of Murder coming to terms with his destiny through a trial of blood.

    NWN was about an "adventurer's school" student defeating millenia-old lizard men.

    HOTU was about some dude saving a city from Teh DEVIL.

    KOTOR was about a brainwashed Sith Lord deciding whether to enslave the world or to save it.

    ME was about ExTReMe Commander Shepard saving the universe from robots.

    I shouldn't have to say why almost every Bioware narrative since the BG series has been a travesty (haven't played JE, so can't comment on that). For all its flaws, the BG series at least made an attempt at weaving a story that wasn't about "saving the world or destroying it."

    Sure, the presentation matters. Sure, there are no new stories under the sun. But come on - there's only so much you can do with a "save the world" plot and Bioware hasn't even made an attempt at subverting the genre. This is why their stories are becoming increasingly hollow - they've bought into the sycophantic hype that it's all about "how you present the story." Somehow, I don't think the meaning of the statement is "it's all about the cinematic graphics and alien sexx0rs, baby!"

    In storytelling, the ideas that you put forth do matter. The maxim "it's all in the presentation" does not refer to the content, but the structure of the story. It's okay to use the same structure. It's even okay to use the same basic plot (ie saving the world). But if you're going to do something as cliche as "saving the world," you had better have content beyond what's been done a hundred times already. Failing that, I find no reason to go through an interactive narrative that trumpets itself as "all about storytelling" ... and then goes off and tells the most uninspired story ever conceived.
     
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  13. Section8 Erudite

    Section8
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    Sean Sands is a cunt. You may remember him from such gems as "Baaaaawwwwwww!! Only professional game journalists should be allowed to express their opinions". Anyway:

    That's poetry.

    Sean Sands: Mnnn gmnn urrr srrrmm urmmnngggnnn
    Fake Doctors: What was that, little piggy?
    Sean Sands: <stops trying to take both doctors' cocks into his mouth at the same time and catches his breath> I said, 'You guys are so over-rated.'

    How can any so called professional fail to see why Torment and Icewind Dale were never going to achieve the same success as Baldur's Gate? Torment was weird and ugly, Icewind Dale was just Baldur's Gate Junior. It's also not hard to see why an independent company with a lot of money survived Interplay's collapse, while a division of Interplay didn't. Hurrrrrr. And where the fuck is this impressive track record from Black Isle?

    I mean, he does make some pretty good points about Bioware being salesman, and not game developers, but I can't buy any of it, when he's part of the fucking problem.
     
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  14. Helioth Scholar

    Helioth
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    Location:
    Berlin - Dystopia.
    Do you think he's even thought about whether others might think about why he would think he doesn't need to explain himself, as far as reasoning/logic goes or why he'd put that into his article ?

    codex doesn't count for people like him apparently.

    @Wyrmlord, shades of gray, shades of g(r)ay...
    you do sound a little zealous somehow, not exactly defending the company at issue, just, what ?

    It's always seemed valid to label a game mediocre overall or excellent in same sense but a failure in others, hoeblivion for instance.
    Save the polarization for the more than averagely average inhabitants of "real-life"
     
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  15. Nameless0ne Novice

    Nameless0ne
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    Personally, KOTOR was a pretty good game for single play through. JE was and OKAY game with many flaws! I am yet to play Mass Effect, so cannot comment on that.In my opinion KOTOR 2 is way better than KOTOR though :P
     
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  16. Saint_Proverbius Arcane Patron

    Saint_Proverbius
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    KotOR had a lot of problems, most of which are largely a lack of creative thinking on BioWare's part. The idea they have to drop holodisks around everywhere telling the player how to solve puzzles is okay maybe once or twice, but as often as BioWare did it in KotOR is three miles beyond the border of stupidtown. The puzzles in the game which were ripped straight from puzzles everyone should already know from elementary school or junior high such as the get four gallons from the one and two gallon bucket one or the Towers of Hanoi were both out of place and overly simplistic. The fact they set up every single area the exact same way so that all classes could get through the areas the exact same way was also uninspired. Thanks for leaving broken droids in every single area that involved combat, really! I guess that at the time of the game, the Droid Repair Workers Union were having a strike or something.

    At least KotOR2, despite having it's own problems, set up areas differently for different skills rather than setting up all the areas nearly identically and offering a holodisk cheat sheet at the start.
     
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  17. mjorkerina Scholar

    mjorkerina
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    You WHAT ? Bioware never did ANY game with TB combat. How can you "not doubt" their ability to create "solid TB combat" ?

    RTwP is not TB and sucks more dicks than either actual real time combat or true TB.
     
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  18. Volourn Pretty Princess Pretty Princess

    Volourn
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    Wrong. RT/w pause is awesome. Period.
     
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  19. dagorkan Arbiter

    dagorkan
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    What is it with you and your periods, Volourn?
     
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  20. mjorkerina Scholar

    mjorkerina
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    [​IMG]
     
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  21. Dementia Praecox Arbiter

    Dementia Praecox
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    Fixed.
     
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  22. Nael Arcane

    Nael
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    Shhh, he's feeling a little bloated. Just offer him some Midol, and step away.
     
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  23. Ratty Scholar

    Ratty
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    It has been scientifically proven that an individual's liking for RTwP is inversely proportionate to their IQ. You can't argue with science.
     
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  24. deuxhero Arcane

    deuxhero
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    *insert religous joke here*
     
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  25. Thrasher Erudite

    Thrasher
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    FIXED
     
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