Comment of the Week: The Community Is Also to Blame

Peter Moore recently spoke out about his feelings on BioWare, claiming “the studio has done great.” Not everyone agrees with Mr. Moore, and a growing disenchantment with BioWare this last year is at the very least suggesting the studio is slipping.

Game Front reader Axetwin believes Mass Effect 2 marked the beginning of the end for BioWare, and that the community is just as responsible for approving of the studio’s direction.

Axetwin said:

I say the “Bioware missteps” started in 2010 with MassEffect 2. There was a MASSIVE tonal shift from ME1 to 2. What happened between 1 and 2? EA took over and the first thing they did was look at the complaints from the morons who bought ME1 and went “duur y r der rpg mekananicks in my shooter?? reeding r hurd me no urdersternd!! Y no MP?? Gaem haz guns y no MP?!?” EA went “oh you poor poor babies here let us make this game easier for you to understand”.

When ME2 released there were those of us who knew EXACTLY what it signified. The end of Bioware as we knew it. Yet the game received perfect scores across the board. The community was heralding it as the greatest game of our generation, one of the greatest games ever created. Then these people had the AUDACITY to question why DA2 turned out the way it did.

All of a sudden these people were confused, perplexed even as to why DA2 suffered such a dramatic tonal shift from the first game. These people that sucked the proverbial rooster of MassEffect 2 were then mystified as to why DA2 was so radically different. I wanted to tell at these people “are you fking blind or just fking stupid?!?”

Instead of the community recognizing exactly what ME2 represented and banding together to give EA a giant resounding “NO!!” they banded together, gave EA a giant thumbs up and said “Yes, this is exactly what we want”. This is a text book example of gamers reaping what they sow. As much as I dislike EA for what theyve done to Bioware, I dislike the community that much more for giving EA the greenlight to do it.

Whether you agree with his overall thoughts or not, Axetwin raises a key issue: the community that surrounds a developer and its games plays a part in the molding of that developer’s future, for better or for worse. Some devs listen to their community more than others, but ultimately, they all seek to please their players — because that translates into sales.

To quote Lisa Simpson, you can’t create a monster and then whine when he stomps on a few buildings.

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33 Comments on Comment of the Week: The Community Is Also to Blame

Aedelric

On August 24, 2012 at 6:50 pm

I do not really agree with Axetwin, Bioware did not change things solely at the whims of the few. What they did was try to convert to a different audience mid franchise (A disasterous approach to take), EA knows more money can be made in multiplayer shooters than with RPG’s.

The changes were not to satisfy Bioware fans or customer comments, but to attract the larger shooter crowd and thus gain more revenue. Lets not sugar coat this, money is the sole reason for any of EA’s developers actions

KhalDrogo

On August 24, 2012 at 7:00 pm

Totally agreed. Mass Effect 2 was a great game, but it was completely different than ME1 and not necessarily in a good way. From an awesome RPG, it turned into an okay shooter with a good story.
For me, it somehow lacked the feeling and atmosphere of the first game.

Gamer41

On August 24, 2012 at 9:01 pm

Axetwin is a ing moron if he thinks Mass Effect 2 is a bad game.You can not compare Mass Effect 2 changes to that of Dragon Age 2 changes.This guy needs to shut his mouth.He sounds like a butthurt Bioware fan boy more then anything.

Axetwin

On August 25, 2012 at 1:15 am

First, wow. Its a little awkward being in the spotlight with what I know is a controversial statement.

@ Aedelric I am willing to concede that it was pure coincidence that EA just happened to take the game in the direction that a select group of gamers were hoping the game would go. With that select group of gamers being those that had no idea ME1 was a TPS/RPG hybrid, flipped their when they found out it wasnt a straight up sci-fi TPS then took to the forums going “wtf is this crap!?” Believe me they were out there, en masse, on the forums.

Youre right, it was all about money. EA took a company with a long standing respect of gamers, a respect the company had been building since they were a simple footnote under Black Isle and used it against us. Not only did they use it against us, but it worked so brilliantly it could not have gone any smoother. Why did it work so brilliantly? Because it was the shooter genre.

The same FPS game has been released 4 times over the past 4 years and yet the media outlets keep giving it damn near perfect scores and the community keeps droping 10′s of millions of dollars into it. You know, atleast Nintendo has the decency to give the illusion that each iteration of Mario is different from the last. Point is, if this were any other genre that EA tried to pull this crap with, they would have immediately had bull called on them……..oh wait, they did, it was called DragonAge 2.

Which brings me to GAMER41 (all caps so you dont miss your name). Yes, the changes made for DragonAge 2 were very similar to the changes made for MassEffect 2. In essence, DragonAge: Origins can be considered a spiritual successor to Baluders Gate for the PC. Where as DragonAge 2 is of a spiritual successor to Baulders Gate……for the consoles. As you see these are two different games, one is a thought provoking, at times tactical game that forces you to think about what you want to do before you do them and the other is a skill spamming hack and slash game.

As for me being a “butthurt Bioware fanboy that thought Mass Effect 2 was a bad game”. First of all, if I were a fanboy, wouldnt I be defending the company? Like, blindly defending the company? No, I believe the word youre looking for is “hater” or to some extreme depending on your point of view a “troll”, but I find it interesting that you would call me a fanboy. Anyway, to address the point, no I am not a hater or a fanboy. Either said rarely has the ability to properly defend their point of view, which you’ll find is something I am quite capable of doing.

Finally, I never said ME2 was a bad game. I just felt that it was undeserving of the Mass Effect title. Its like playing a Starwars game without any of the Starwars familiarity. Sure they might name drop to try to give things a little context. However, all in all, they could have given it a different title, and you’d never know the difference. Well, ME2 isnt as bad as that, but almost. You know earlier when I talked about how certain people bought the first game expecting something it wasnt? Well, same thing only in reverse. HOWEVER this wasnt a case of me not paying attention, the game was still being sold as a TPS/RPG hybrid. Casey Hudson was going on and on about all the improved RPG mechanics 2 had. Yet at its release the game was a TPS with minor almost completely ignorable RPG mechanics.

This would be the same as if (hypothetically speaking) Bethesda released the next Fallout game and it played way more like a Post-Apocalyptic version of CoD than previous Fallout titles. Here’s the kicker, Im pretty sure it would get a pass just like MassEffect 2 did. Why you might ask? Because like “Bioware” (by this point I use that term loosely) and Activision and of course EA (when theyre not hiding behind a bullied dev company), Bethesda can do no wrong in the eyes of the masses. It was that type of thinking that lead us to where Bioware is today.

/wall of text.

Wesker1984

On August 25, 2012 at 2:25 am

True, it because of that Dragon Age 2 was done this way because peoples wanted a medieval Mass Effect-like rpg game for DA2.

For once, Wesker isn't the stupidest person on here.

On August 25, 2012 at 4:35 am

We really need a comment up/down system or even a reporting system to prevent children like ‘Gamer41′ from sharing a forum with intelligent, analytical gamers capable of critical thought. Too many trolls spoil the debate.

Halosldr

On August 25, 2012 at 4:47 am

Well said Axetwin….well said indeed

Zach

On August 25, 2012 at 5:55 am

But there were complaints about the changes to Mass Effect 2′s game-play, just as there was praise.

I personally found it irritating that they introduced Ammunition into the game and removed a lot of the ability and changed armor customization {or removed it in the place of NPCs}.

However you have to admit that the original Mass Effect’s game-play was very slow, even boring at times in comparison to the newer iterations of the series. I think the third one is the best game-play wise due to the attention made towards the combat being exciting fast-paced and managing to balance that with the RPG character progression more akin to the first game.

Each one of the games in the series had pros and cons, some much more glaring then other. The issue here is where the blame should be applied and when you look at a developer that receives criticism and responds with “It’s ours we can do what we want!! How dare you question our decisions!?!” I then have trouble understanding how it can be the fan’s fault.

There was an abrupt shift in how BioWare started developing it’s game after the EA take over; most of it focusing on “broadening the audience” and though correlation does not mean causation it does raise many questions about the homogenous nature of EA’s products.

David

On August 25, 2012 at 9:52 am

The problem in both the ME and DA franchises is characteristic of series in general. How many Hollywood sequels are as good as the original? Very few. In movies series that run to three movies, how many times do you *not* feel a sense of letdown after the third movie? Few enough. Indeed, most Hollywood thirds are wretched…even ones directed and produced by top artists (think Godfather, Terminator, and Star Wars).

Incentives matter. If a product is successful, the natural response by a sensible organization is, don’t mess with it: try to tweak it up to make each “new” version “all-new, all-improved, now with more stuff!”, but don’t change the basic formula.

When I played ME1, I immediately saw it as more of a hybrid RPG/shooter than as a “pure” RPG. I wasn’t sure how to react to that: after all, I’d never played a shooter. But I thought it was good enough to buy the sequel, where the balance between RPG and shooter was tilted more toward the shooter side than the original. Still, the RPG elements were outstanding: arguably, ME2 is more character-focused than the original, which–to me at least–is what RPGs are supposed to be about.

Sure–plot counts. But–especially in a computer RPG–it’s basically a hook to drive the story forward. I mean…how many times has Bioware done the same plot of “you are a nobody who turns out to have a grandiose destiny”? That’s the plot arc of the entire BG series; of both KOTOR games; of both NWN series; of both DA games; and of the ME series. Yet you almost never hear people complain about that.

Yeah…I’m somewhat disappointed ME3 turned out to be basically a shooter with very limited RPG elements. But…what was the alternative? It’s not like you can really change the direction you’ve driven things in during the first two installments: I mean, the Reapers are coming, and–as always–only you have what it takes to finish the job.

My friends and I spent a lot of time debating how this would all play out: my estimation was that it would look a lot like DA:O. I thought that was fine, except I wasn’t sure all the allies you recruit in DA:O really do much for you in the endgame, other than as cannon-fodder and flak-catchers. Turns out I was right on both counts! Hey, you even have the same kinds of choices to make (Mages versus Templars) as in DA:O!

Frankly, even after all the raging back and forth that has taken place, my only real beef is with the original ending: and not even with the outcomes, but with the exposition. In other words, I am tolerably well satisfied with the DLC ending. I do agree that it would have been better if there were a big, climactic fight to win through at the end (as there was in DA:O), but I can’t really argue that we didn’t already have that with the human proto-Reaper in ME2.

The reality is, there was only so much wiggle room in the series after two magisterial installments. And that’s especially if you consider that the ending is, in a sense, telegraphed almost from the get-go, as in all those conversations where the Reapers tell Shepard that he’s changed nothing.

Quinsec

On August 25, 2012 at 10:59 am

I personally do not see Mass Effect 2 as the beginning of the end. Yes, it had more mass market appeal due to its more shooter mechanics. However, it was still a very good game with lots of production values. Mass Effect 3, minus the calamity that is the ending, is still a fantastic game. Bioware’s undoing is not just the mass market appeal they’ve been going for, which got them away from some of the hardcore RPG elements that we love, but EA’s focus on simply making money.

Bioware, much like Blizzard these days, is no longer concerned with just making great games – but for squeezing every dollar they can out of their IPs. It’s the clearly rushed and budget constrained game making which illustrate EA’s influence – DA2′s recycled environs (though I admittedly also hated the new art direction and gameplay) and Mass Effect 3′s ending illustrate what happens when a company focuses more on the bottom-line than making a great game – and perhaps the desire to make games more mass appeal is part of that.

Moloch

On August 25, 2012 at 2:29 pm

I’ve always said ME2 didn’t hold up to ME1… it’s just a shame two IP’s that started out so great (Mass Effect and Dragon Age Origins) release the second game in both series and disappoint so greatly.

It really doesn’t matter that there are a few people that can grasp the concept that companies will happily destroy an IP for profits…. because there will always be a fresh crop of kids willing to buy the newest thing and spam the internet saying how great it is.

While many people are complaining about the Dark Souls PC port…most it seem to be they lack the appreciation that From Software deserves for even attempting it.

Developers have a tough job…but listening to the loudest fans probably isn’t the best idea. Seeing how ME2/DA2 turned out i hope the current trend of trying to appease the masses will die out sooner then later. It’s like the Dark Souls PC port, From Soft said it was gonna be a straight port and yet people are all complaining…. From shouldn’t just told the PC fans “maybe next time” and moved on to Souls 3.

As for this massive shift towards “broadening the audience base” these developers should get into mobile/phone games… trying to dumb down games enough to attract a 50 year old women that read romantic novels, keep the attention of a 5 year old with “bright shinies” and appeal to gamers that have been playing for 20+ years while ambitious… is more then a little unrealistic.

(sorry for horrible sentence structure and grammar.)

CatmanStu

On August 25, 2012 at 5:42 pm

I can sort of see where Axetwin is coming from but I feel that using DA2 as a comparison is a bit unfair as the difference in resources and time constraints between those two developments was shocking. ME was treated like the blue eyed golden child to DA’s unwanted child of another marriage.
As for the change in tone, both game use the classic ‘second of a trilogy’ model; the one where you slow it down allowing you to flesh out your characters and create anticipation for the third so you can throw everything you have left at the audience at the end; the problem being that with these franchises the second games had very few of the originals cast making the ‘getting to know you’ part seem less fulfilling as you spent more time wondering what happened to previous characters. If DA2 needed to have a more focussed narative around a voiced character I would have rather played as Morrigan on her secret mission or Sten being an outcast to the Arishok because he helped a potential enemy.

Mark

On August 25, 2012 at 5:47 pm

Personally, I think Mass Effect would have been better as a turn based strategy/RPG game rather than a shooter/RPG.

If anyone has played Valkyria Chronicles on the PS3 or PSP, then you will know the kind of game that I have in mind. That or the upcoming XCOM game that looks amazing.

What’s the point of giving me X amount of squad members when I can only use 3 of them at a time?

I always thought it was retarded from a narrative standpoint. If the mission is so important, why won’t they deploy everyone they could?

But also, from a gameplay perspective, I found myself relying on only a couple of characters because I developed pretty foolproof tactics.

Mark

On August 25, 2012 at 5:56 pm

I think it was inevitable for ME2 to go in the direction it did.

ME1 is pretty unplayable as a shooter. And it IS a shooter.

I think it’s ridiculous that people are pretending otherwise.

Axetwin

On August 26, 2012 at 12:38 am

Holy crap so many longass comments! Ok before I get into this, just know I HAVE read all the replies, so if I dont reply directly to you then that means I either had nothing to respond to or the more likely scenario being that I just simply forgot what I wanted to say.

Oh, also, Im going to try to keep my responses short and to the point so I dont have a reply that makes Gamefront rethink their idea not to have a character limit in these reply boxes. Aaaaannndd Im already rambling, Im off to a great start.

@ Wesker – I agree

@ Guy below Wesker – I appreciate you jumping on Gamer41, and I agree a way to report posts would be nice even though I dont think any of use are completely innocent in the area of not leaving a nasty comment in one way or another on this site…..>.>

@ Halosidr – Thanks!

@ Zach – I started to reply to your comment yesterday but then halfway through I deleted it. The short version of it was, I agree with just about everything you said. Though I do want to respond directly to this: “The issue here is where the blame should be applied and when you look at a developer that receives criticism and responds with “It’s ours we can do what we want!! How dare you question our decisions!?!” I then have trouble understanding how it can be the fan’s fault.”

I didnt pay any attention to the Bioware feedback concerning DA2, so from my point of view they only gave that response to ME3 and for that fact specifically in regards to the ending. Ill concede that is less that fans fault and more the fault of the Media Outlets (excluding Gamefront of course). Even though fans might not be totally to blame, they are not blameless. Lets not forget WHY the ending was changed at the last minute. Because an unfinished version of the leaked, the community spread the unfinished ending across forums like wildfire and then proceeded to bash it, which prompted EA/Bioware to change the ending.

However, like I said, the Media Outlets are more to blame here. They were the ones stoking the EA/Bioware ego telling them “oh, give it a couple weeks and noone will remember this. Theyre only fans, they dont know what they want, you cant please your fans so dont even bother trying. Your ending was perfect, theyre just a bunch of whiners, dont worry they may hate you today but they’ll still buy whatever you throw at them in the future because theyre stupid that way”. When you have IGN, Gamespot, Giantbomb, Kotaku, Entertainment Weekley and the friggian NY Times (of all outlets) stroking the ego EA/Bioware, is it any wonder that they lashed out at the consumer they way they did? Hell, anyone else read the IGN review for the extended cut DLC? In case you didnt, the first few lines read something a little like this “Hey, remember the fan outrage at the original ME3 ending? Yeah, me neither but apparently someone at Bioware remembered. So for the few of you whiners out there that threw a fit, this is for you”.

3 paragraphs…..sonuvabeech…I swear I tried to be as direct to the point as I could there. Moving on…

@ David – There’s alot there I kind of want to respond to, but instead Ill just focus on your idea of what makes a RPG a RPG. To say “character focus” is what makes a game a RPG is a very broad generalization almost to the point of being generic. There are many sides to character focus however the only way it was improved for ME2 was in terms of character development as in personal storylines. In which case if you think thats what makes a RPG a RPG then while that might be your opinion, it is a very incorrect opinion. A RPG is more than just its story and its more than just literary character development. There are many games out there with big epic stories and with that kind of character development, but that doesnt make them RPGs, heck that doesnt even make them a game with RPG elements. A RPG cannot be called a RPG if it doesnt allow you to shape your character via a leveling system. That is where the RPG mechanics start, everything else, the epic story, the meaningful character dialogs, the inventory system ect… Everything else is simply a byproduct of what makes it a better RPG.

@ Quinsec – I agree with your comparison to Blizzard.

@ Moloch – That trend will die out when companies like EA bankrupt themselves because theyre too busy trying to tell gamers what they want instead listening to the community.

@ CatmanStu – I also see where youre coming from. EA has never been too comfortable with RPG’s, or atleast thats the way its always looked to me. I know it was easier for them to work with MassEffect over DragonAge. Hell why do you think they were including early beta/demo access for ME3 with bought copies of Battlefield 3. You really think they’ll include early demo access to DA3 with bought copies of Lost Plan….damnit! I keep doing that. Its Dead Space 3, Dead Space 3 Dead Space 3 ggrrr . No of course not, they have this game, they dont know how to market it because its not a shooter and its not a sports game, so instead of just letting Bioware do what theyve done best in the past EA has to continue to meddle.

I think you misunderstood a bit. I dont have a problem with the literary tone of the game. It was the simple fact that the game was changed so dramatically that it as almost a complete change in genre that I have the problem with. That and the community’s complete acceptance of this change.

@ Mark – NO NO NO NO Im sorry but I COMPLETELY disagree with your idea that Mass Effect should have been a strategy/RPG ala Final Fantasy Tactics. I mean no disrespect to you, Im sure youre a great guy but this is the worst idea Ive heard. The numbers for the first game would have been a quarter of what they were. Not to mention EA would have taken one look at the game and simply said “series canceled”. Going down the FFT route would have been such a waste of money. Just like…um….oh hell whats the name of that game series they keep making sequels to but noone is buying? Gear…..Final…..Fire….oh man thats going to bug the crap out of me, its been around since the SNES days and I seriously cannot remember the name of it.

@ Mark (2?) – See this right here is why ME2 turned out the way it did, this guy right here. He sees the game has guns and automatically assumes it wants to be a straight up shooter. “It has guns therefor it should be a shooter and nothing else”.

Axetwin

On August 26, 2012 at 12:42 am

GUILTY GEAR!! Thats the game I was trying to think of. I feel better now.

Mark

On August 26, 2012 at 1:26 am

Well I didn’t mention Final Fantasy Tactics. I mentioned Valkyria Chronicles and the new XCOM game (which don’t even closely resemble FFT other than the fact they’re technically in the same genre).

And your argument against that being a good idea is because “money”? Can you not smell your own hypocrisy?

I mean if you’re going to take the high ground based on creative merits, then you should at least have the decency to respond along those lines.

I mean essentially, your complaints about the series boil down to the lack of incentive that taking creative risks pose so that’s why your response to me was hypocritical.

As for ME1 not being a shooter. Seriously? I mean I realize it’s also an RPG. That goes without saying.

But if it isn’t also shooter then what is it then?

I mean the key to playing ME1 was running around, looking for cover, while trying to shoot your enemy (with the help of biotic and tech powers).

What would you class it as?

It looks like a shooter, PLAYS like a shooter, therefore is a shooter.

And in that regard, ME2 and ME3 are much better games (from a gameplay perspective, from a story perspective, I think it’s a toss up between 1 and 2)

Axetwin

On August 26, 2012 at 6:36 am

Mark you have a very unilateral way of looking at this series. Yes these games use elements found in TPS games for its combat HOWEVER that doesnt automatically make this strictly a TPS game as you keep trying to imply. ME1 was trying to not only blend but balance RPG and TPS elements to redefine the action RPG genre. Look at Jade Empire, you would move from person to person using your fists to fight in a freestyle manner with the occasional special attack, does that automatically mean its a beat em up and should only be considered a beat em up? No of course not and the same thing applies to MassEffect. Yes, the game is part shooter but only part of it and trying to limit its description to just a “shooter” is like trying to say Zelda is “just a dungeon crawler”.

Now as for my “hypocrisy”. There is a massive difference between taking a game that sold reasonably well, taking everything that made it unique out in an attempt for pure mass appeal and alienating the already existing fanbase along the way. All the while the company that is pulling the strings is openly saying that all of their future games will be as generically designed as possible to reach as many players as possible. So theres a difference between that and simply designing your game from the start to the fanbase of a specific niche genre.

I know businesses exist to make money, however there needs to be a balance between trying to make as much money as you can while still retaining some semblance of who you are and it was you originally set out to do. This is what we call not selling out. Bioware sold out with Mass Effect 2 Why else would a large portion of the ME3 plot revolve around ME2′s paid DLC as well as Day 1 paid DLC for ME3?

However you might not see it as them selling out but as just the natural evolution of the series. In some extreme way I can actually see that. So tell me what happened with DA2. How do you go from tactical pseudo-turned based RPG to hack ‘n slash RPG? Was that also the natural evolution of the series?

Everything changed when the EA nation attacked.

R.J.

On August 26, 2012 at 11:30 am

What happened with ME and DA is basically classic EA. “Broaden the audience” is the company’s mantra because they have delusions that all their games will sell millions of copies. I’m not so sure that it was the people that bought the game and griped that EA listened to, but rather those that didn’t buy it. EA has a habit of not caring one bit about what a current customer has to say, good or bad, because they count them as locked in. What they do care about is what sells for other companies, and then play follow the leader.

Nulltron

On August 26, 2012 at 12:47 pm

There was something in the ME universe. Something that the creators of the game could not live with. Something that in the back of their minds, they wanted and had to destroy eventually. Now, Axetwin says that it was the MP and EA and the community. Wrong, wrong, …, wrong. He gets it right, that the action to undo the universe (if that is what he is saying) started with ME2, but then as far as Bioware was concerned, the success of ME2 compounded the problem. So, there was ME3. They way it was, that is. It completely, literally destroyed everything. And the DLC even reinforced and complemented the intention. A fourth route to destruction.

What is that something, only Bioware knows. In fact as it transpired so transparently during the ME3 fiasco, only a few at Bioware are fully aware of. But there is a thread that weaves through the ME universe that Bioware just could not live with.

By the way, all MP games are the same. No story, just an environment. Nobody can blame a game for offering MP just as no body should applaud one for the same. It is just arcade. Neutral.

Red Menace

On August 26, 2012 at 12:51 pm

I HATE DIFFERENT POINTS OF VIEW.

sep

On August 26, 2012 at 4:40 pm

I wish people like axetwin were part of game companies management.

bob

On August 26, 2012 at 6:20 pm

i think its more what ea think we want based upon a very very small group of people they hire

Wesker1984

On August 26, 2012 at 8:52 pm

”For once, Wesker isn’t the stupidest person on here.”

Lol and dont worry i stopped being like that. Now i try to share my opinions intelligently without trolling or irritating others.

Mark

On August 27, 2012 at 12:47 am

-”Mark you have a very unilateral way of looking at this series. Yes these games use elements found in TPS games for its combat HOWEVER that doesnt automatically make this strictly a TPS game as you keep trying to imply. ME1 was trying to not only blend but balance RPG and TPS elements to redefine the action RPG genre. Look at Jade Empire, you would move from person to person using your fists to fight in a freestyle manner with the occasional special attack, does that automatically mean its a beat em up and should only be considered a beat em up? No of course not and the same thing applies to MassEffect. Yes, the game is part shooter but only part of it and trying to limit its description to just a “shooter” is like trying to say Zelda is “just a dungeon crawler”.”

As I said.. it goes without saying that ME is ALSO an RPG.

But the combat is simply shooter. It has shooter mechanics and it relies on reflexes.

Jade Empire is a beat em up IF it relies on reflexes. (Never played it but I have played KOTOR and that is turn based combat because it doesn’t rely on reflex rather the commands you give your characters in the pause menu)

ME2 is the best of the series and the reason ME3 falls down is because the story was crap.

I mean even IF you class ME1 as not a shooter, it’s gameplay is actually mediocre at best.

-”Now as for my “hypocrisy”. There is a massive difference between taking a game that sold reasonably well, taking everything that made it unique out in an attempt for pure mass appeal and alienating the already existing fanbase along the way. All the while the company that is pulling the strings is openly saying that all of their future games will be as generically designed as possible to reach as many players as possible. So theres a difference between that and simply designing your game from the start to the fanbase of a specific niche genre.

Whatever. I was speaking strictly from a creative standpoint. ME would have worked better as a turn based RPG. I gave my reasons.

I really don’t care for your “business” arguments. I really don’t care about the business side of games. I’m a gamer not a marketing advisor.

-”However you might not see it as them selling out but as just the natural evolution of the series. In some extreme way I can actually see that. So tell me what happened with DA2. How do you go from tactical pseudo-turned based RPG to hack ‘n slash RPG? Was that also the natural evolution of the series?”

I can agree with you on the problems of DA2. Don’t think it’s relatable though as ME2 is a good game and DA2 isn’t.

sep

On August 27, 2012 at 5:39 am

Q:
“I can agree with you on the problems of DA2. Don’t think it’s relatable though as ME2 is a good game and DA2 isn’t.”

* Fighting Thresher Maws using Mako
* Elevator Rides
* High explosive rounds
* The lack of an antagonist as bad ass as Saren
* Overheat system
* Hacking mini game
* The ing Citadel
* Still would prefer a refined ME1 inventory system than the crap we had in ME2.
* The best ever climax to a video game. I ing go in guns blazing into the citadel on the SR1.
* The retroish sci-fi feel with the option to turn those screen grains on. fantastic.
* Music was aweingsome

I don’t know, I could go on and on. Those little things add a lot more value than say… run and gun. Man I used to sit in the mako, on those desolate lifeless planets with no vegetation, eerie lonely and dark environment, looking up into the sky at their massive moons or nearby planets / stars. Just damn, with that music going on in the background. I actually sat and stared at those scenes for over three – four minutes sometimes.

SXO

On August 27, 2012 at 8:16 am

I saw Mass Effect 2 as the beginning of the end as well. I had huge trepidations about the future of the series after I finished the game, and those feelings were confirmed after the debacle of the novel that released between 2 & 3. That’s when I became certain the series was broken, and the controversy surrounding ME3 just validated those feelings.

We could talk about the game mechanics until we’re blue in the face, and the end result is that there are those of us that did not like all the RPG mechanics being stripped from the game, and then there were many that liked the changes, hence the success of the title. But I think the biggest case against Mass Effect 2 is concerning the story.

While one can easily say that Mass Effect 2 contains some of the best written characters in all of gaming, and each of their specific storylines were very well done (some more brilliantly than others), where Mass Effect 2 absolutely fails is in its narrative. Mass Effect 2 is supposed to be a bridge within an epic trilogy, an Empire Strikes Back if you will. At the end of Mass Effect you barely stopped what was considered an inevitable extinction of civilization in the galaxy at the hands of entities that could rightly be compared to Cthulu-esque old gods. But it was merely a stopgap, you prevented it from happening on schedule, you’ve given the galaxy more time to find a way to stop this from occurring. How does the story progress from this point? In Mass Effect 2 nothing you’ve done matters, no one believes in the Reapers, and once again you find yourself on a mission to prevent them from getting into the galaxy sooner rather than later. By the end, once again all you’ve accomplished is a stopgap against the Reapers, who at this point have been diminished from Old Gods into nothing more than big robot monsters. In essence the story arc has not moved forward.

Now that we’ve gotten the obvious out the way, let’s talk about the details. Anyone who picks apart story and lore could easily see that Mass Effect 2 introduces many retcons and inconsistencies throughout not just the story, but even the game mechanics themselves (reloading weapons?). And while any sci-fi or fantasy storyline requires you to suspend your disbelief and let a few inexplicable things and plotholes slip by, Mass Effect 2 was riddled with so many that it simply became impossible to ignore. While the first game felt like the story writers painstakenly took their time so their lore made sense, Mass Effect 2 felt like a different set of writers got their hands on the lore and lazily created or outright changed things along the way. Overall Mass Effect 2 felt like a holding pattern until Mass Effect 3 could start, or just an excuse to introduce new people to the story without any regard whatsoever for the overall story arc.

Axetwin

On August 27, 2012 at 11:52 am

Since the new wave of stories are coming in, this article is going to be lost on the back pages within the next couple days. Im sorry I didnt reply to the new replies since my last post. I know my initial comment was very controversial. I know that saying I didnt care for ME2 is like saying to an old school Star Wars fan; “I personally didnt mind JarJar Bink, I actually found him quite charming” (which btw, I dont, it was just an example). I just wanted to thank you all, most especially those that disagree with my point of view, for being better. Im not gonna extensively kiss ass here, but I do appreciate the civility that was on display here.

There is one more person I want to respond directly to….

@ SXO – I could not agree more with what you said. As a matter of fact I agree so whole-heartedly with your post, I want to tell you to get out of my head because those are exactly my personal thoughts when it came to the story. I raised an eyebrow of suion when all of a sudden out of the blue guns needed ammo. However when I got to the part with the Council still denying the existence of the Reapers stating they had no evidence they ever existed, I damn near shut the game off right then and there. That is lazy, it is a cop-out and worst of all, it is insulting to the players who have been paying attention to the story. Then again, this is all a conversation for a different topic. Specifically ‘Why MassEffect 2 ISN’T the greatest game of our generation but instead why its one of the most overrated games of our generation’. I better stop before I get myself in even more trouble.

tfads

On August 27, 2012 at 12:47 pm

One big problem, mass effect was a shooter / action game that improved its core mechanics vastly between 1 and 2 and also improved story telling (at least in regards to presentation). Age was a classic turn based rpg. Yes the fans should not have been shocked that age is now going with the more main stream action approach, but mass was geared towards main stream already. EA and bioware just forgot they were two different types of games, as did some readers and just tried to make them the same. They should never have been made the same game, but mass should have improved the way it did because it was already an action game. Where ME3 failed was story. Which has nothing to do with either of the pace changes and everything to do with the leads and losing a lead writer.

James

On August 27, 2012 at 4:28 pm

DA and ME are for different audiences. People who like DA do not like ME for the same reason. To blame one audience for the shift in another franchise is pretty strange. If he want to say “I told you so” for ME2 leading to ME3 then that makes sense. But DA2 is entirely the fault of Bioware/EA.

Mark

On August 27, 2012 at 7:09 pm

@SXO

2 quick points.

First- That you don’t like ME2 because it didn’t fit a pre-conceived notion of what the second act in a trilogy should be is just being closed minded.

Second- What do you mean nothing you do matters? You basically facilitate the rise of Cerberus!

R.J.

On August 27, 2012 at 7:20 pm

@James

Speaking from my personal experience, I’d say you are incorrect. I bought ME1 and ME2 only after playing DAO, and I did it because I wanted more of what Bioware is (or at least was) known for: great stories with great characters. To say that people who like DA like ME for different reasons would not be accurate. There is enough crossover between audiences that I don’t think you can paint it was such a broad brush.

SXO

On August 28, 2012 at 6:17 am

@Mark If by preconceived notion you mean I expect a storyline to actually progress rather than repeat itself? Then yes, I’m guilty. At the end of Mass Effect 2 you’re in the same exact situation as the end of Mass Effect 1, you know the Reapers are coming and you have to find a way to stop them, but nothing in the greater narrative has changed. A second act in a greater trilogy needs to change things for either the antagonists or protagonists (or both) in a story in order to properly propel the plot forward. Even an awful movie like The Matrix Reloaded managed to do this, but one need only look at other great second acts like The Two Towers or the previously mentioned The Empire Strikes Back.