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Tag Archives: bioware

“The members of his karataam were killed by Tal-Vashoth but their disposal leads only here, to Saarebas and you.”

Er…What? Look, you’re clearly speaking English, so why have you just randomly made up words there? I’ve been playing this game for 20 hours and I still don’t know what you’re talking about. Why not just say ‘group’, ‘rebels’ and ‘the mage’?

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I recently bought Alpha Protocol on the cheap and it is a stupid game. Everything about it is lacking, although I expected as much from the reviews and scuttlebutt.

The thing that really bugs me is that Obsidian get a lot of credit for their writing. I do not understand this. I’ve always found them to be the ‘good ideas’ team, but definitely not star writers or storytellers.

Here’s a quick list of some of the dumbest highlights of Alpha Protocol’s story:

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I played Dragon Age: Origins on the Xbox 360. Thought I’d get the recently released demo of Dragon Age 2 on PC though to see if it improves anything. I want Dragon Age 2 to be good, I really do. But from what I’ve seen, I’m not too hopeful.

What better way to examine the demo and the game than by hosting a disastrous, oversized and summarised screenshot Let’s Play of the demo? Let’s get into it.

You start by selecting the gender and class of the protagonist – for the purposes of this playthrough, I choose the good old fashioned male warrior. Because tanking is just my style.

The game opens on a dwarf named Varric being dragged through a hall by armoured men. They sit him down in a dark room. He is interrogated by a woman called Cassandra, who identifies herself as working for the Chantry – because Dragon Age is too fancy to say ‘church’.

Cassie there also has that weird almost-French accent that was associated with the almost-French country of Orlais in the Dragon Age lore.

Faux Frenchy demands to know about ‘the Champion’, claiming that Varric knew him. Varric starts to talk as it cuts to a barren wasteland. An armoured man with a beard – our protagonist Mr. Hawke and a mage later revealed to be his sister are fighting what appear to be the henchmen of Skeletor

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…Are starting to get a little overused, no? Even Obsidian has tried copying them in Alpha Protocol.

This way of handling conversation trees was perfect for the cinematic style of the Mass Effect series. They still do a great job of making the player feel like the hero, but the game does give the protagonist a voice, fewer options and a level of canonical personality.

Compared to traditional dialogue selection, it disassociates the player character from the actual player, which can hurt the level of immersion. Rather than putting you in the shoes of a space badass, it puts you in the very specific shoes of this particular space badass.

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Given the controversial quality gap between the recent downloadable content of Mass Effect 2 and Dragon Age  (the beloved Lair of the Shadow Broker and the maligned Witch Hunt, respectively), I thought this was as good a time as any to talk about the quality of Dragon Age as a whole.

(WARNING: THERE WILL BE NON-DLC SPOILERS)

The plot

The fact this gets its own entry is not a good sign.

Virtually all your obstacles, opposition and problems originate from the villain: Loghain. This great hero of a former war betrays the King and leaves him, his army and the Gray Wardens to die at the hands of the Orc Darkspawn hordes. He then grabs power and control of the country by declaring himself Regent.

Now he’s sanctioning Elven slavery and sending assassins after you – one of the few survivors of his betrayal and the person trying to stop the Orcs Darkspawn. You and your companions are marked as traitors, while Loghain does nothing about the Orcs Darkspawn that are spreading across his land killing whatever is in front of them.

What evil fiendish plans does this scheming military strategist have? What does all this have to do with the Orcs Darkspawn and the Archdemon? What grand ambition fuels his evil deeds?

He’s just a dick.

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[There’s no alt-text/titles on this one.]




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Interactivity is what sets video games apart from other mediums. So it is odd that Bioware – who brought us the incredible Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic and Mass Effect 2 – seem to be the only game developers that bother to make the stories interactive.
While there’s definitely a place for the classic cutscene/gameplay divide, there’s also a lot of games ideas and potential that you can’t help but wish Bioware would bring their unique storytelling and writing ability to.  Here’s a simple wish-list to imagine the possibilities.

Kojima Productions

Whatever your thoughts on the Metal Gear series, you have to admit that creator Hideo Kojima has brought innovation to his games and has told some good stories. His ideas through Bioware’s storytelling medium could lead to something incredible. Their clever exposition and interactivity would fix the lengthy cutscenes so many complain about. Not to mention that as well his ideas, Kojima could bring his directorial skills, and frame the plot with style.

There’s the possibilities of a more interactive Snatcher or Policenauts sequel. Or something totally new! While Metal Gear Solid’s defined characters wouldn’t mesh with Bioware’s optionality – the secret agent drama, the military accuracy and incredible stealth/action gameplay of the series could be used to make something very special indeed.

Rockstar Games

Remember the critically lauded moments in Grand Theft Auto IV when you had to choose who lives and who dies? Ever since Vice City in which the protagonist builds a criminal empire, some gamers have been yearning for dialogue trees and decision-making.

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