#1 Edited by Tennou486 (50 posts) -

I took a shot at replaying Mass Effect 1 this weekend wanting to redo that same great story I first had and that influenced all the following games, but I ran into an issue that got me wondering. How can I recreate that experience I had back in 2007 when I don't remember any of the dialogue choices I made?

Games with lots of player choice certainly have great attributes like choosing how your character interacts with others and drives the plot, but that interaction also seems to reveal a potential long-term weakness of these choice-heavy games in my opinion. I'm not talking about plot-centric choices since those are easier to redo the same way every time. I'm talking about the little interactions between characters. For example, Shepard and Anderson talk about Saren near the beginning of Mass Effect 1. I remember Shepard responding to Anderson with something like "The Geth would have wiped out the entire colony if I hadn't been there", but when that dialogue came up again yesterday, I chose an option and he said "The Council can kiss my ass...". Those responses create two very different impressions of Shepard, albeit subtle. It might be like if you watched Star Wars after 7 years and instead of Luke asking Obi-Wan "How did my father die?", he said "Cut the crap and tell me who killed him". It advances the story, but not in the same way you remember and creates a different impression of the character.

Does anyone see this as a potential pitfall for these games in the future? Those who might want to recreate that experience they had at first probably can't if they don't remember the exact dialogue choices they made. If there is no way to record or remember the choices you made in the dialogues, and people want to go back and have that same experience, then are all those experiences lost forever?

What do you think?

#2 Edited by Hunter5024 (6077 posts) -

It certainly is a strange experience unique to the medium. It's almost impossible to play the same game exactly the same way twice. When I lost my Dragon Age file I tried to replay my file exactly how I remembered it, for the upcoming sequel. This involved being a human noble, getting with Alistair, making him king, having him break up with my character, and then sacrificing her to kill the archdemon because she had nothing left to live for. Obviously I wouldn't take the cheaters way out because my character wasn't about to let Morrigan hook up with Alistair like twenty minutes after they broke up.

Anyways when I tried to recreate this experience, having the foreknowledge about the game actually screwed me over. In my original playthrough with Alistair, I told him what I actually thought after I took him to meet his sister, this led to changing his mental state drastically. However in my second playthrough I just said what he wanted to hear so I could get through the playthrough. This left him pretty immature, so not only did he not break up with me, he actually refused to let me sacrifice myself and did it on his own to prevent me from trying. This created a whole new crazy awesome experience that was completely different from the way it originally happened.

So basically I think rather than thinking of it as a problem, just embrace the fact that with some games you're able to experience something completely different the second time through. Because that seems more novel to me then trying to rehash some good memories.

#3 Edited by ShaggE (6828 posts) -

I have the same issue, but with trying to have a different experience.

#4 Posted by Capum15 (5026 posts) -

I can see what you're saying but I don't really try to perfectly re-create experiences. If I do, I feel that as long as it's roughly similar, I'm fine with that.

For instance, after I eventually got the ME series on PC, I had a very similar Shepard (he looked almost exactly the same, too), but not the exact same one. I actually let my Shepard be a tad more emotional this time, so rather than being all paragon all the time, he'd occasionally yell or do something renegade. Still about 90% paragon, but it felt like it made him more human. I still managed to save everyone possible though, so that didn't change.

What happens is when I try to do a completely different experience, and never really can. I've tried to go renegade, or evil, but end up not being able to go fully through with it and stopping or reloading. I just can't really bring myself to do bad things. Well, until something happens to really piss me off.

#5 Edited by HaltIamReptar (2029 posts) -

That is an interesting concept with a lot of room for discussion of what that implies about narrative in video games, but I don't think you can say that your first experience is any more valid than any consequential one. If you reread a book after you have more life experience, and your interpretations are dramatically different, I don't think you can say there's anything problematic about that.

#6 Posted by MordeaniisChaos (5730 posts) -

I don't really see it as a problem, that's kind of the point after all. If you want the same experience, well, just play it once. I like being able to go back and play from a different perspective and have a different experience.