Is the Mass Effect franchise being dumbed down?

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#1 Posted by jamian9210 (25 posts) -

A lot of people are complaining that the series is slowly straying away from its RPG roots and taking a more Gears of War route with the gameplay. There are even YouTube videos that are bashing the demo and comparing the game to Jersey Shore.

Do you think the series is being dumbed down or are the changes for the better?

#2 Posted by Fbomb (1173 posts) -

Well, what do you feel?

#3 Posted by SirPsychoSexy (1365 posts) -

For the better

#4 Posted by AndrewB (7782 posts) -

I can't speak to Mass Effect 3 entirely from a horribly pieced together demo, but Mass Effect 2 was leaps and bounds improved over the first game.

#5 Posted by pw2566ch (499 posts) -

Compared to the first one, yes. The gameplay is very dumbed down. However, the story still holds true to what it always was. Now if they decide to focus more on the love stories than the actual story, then the entire game would be completely dumbed down.

#6 Posted by UltorOscariot (218 posts) -

Maybe? I don't think we can conclusively say until people can play the 3rd game, but footage of a guided turret sequence is deeply concerning for someone like myself who is troubled by the thought of Bioware games resembling action games more than RPGs.

#7 Posted by Deranged (1944 posts) -


#8 Posted by Vegetable_Side_Dish (1751 posts) -

It is transitioning into a more action-focused game, or at least the marketing shows it is.  
Whether that is 'dumbing down' is up to the player. 

#9 Posted by UlquioKani (1285 posts) -

Changes made = better

RPG's shouldn't have to sacrifice smooth and satisfying gameplay for depth, it seems like we are getting the best of the first 2 games with this one

#10 Posted by SuperWristBands (2281 posts) -

I love how ME3 plays. Dumbed down? Maybe? What was so special about the original? It has been years since I have played it.

#11 Posted by Sackmanjones (5217 posts) -

From the demo the rpg stuff seems more in depth already and every change in me2 was an improvement. Man people love to botch about mass effect. Where's the chord for the whole Internet so I can pull it

#12 Posted by Sackmanjones (5217 posts) -
@Sackmanjones God damn phone and not being able to edit…
#13 Posted by Jimbo (10269 posts) -

It was dumb to start with, they just made it better dumb.

#14 Posted by Sooty (8195 posts) -

Mass Effect was never, ever a deep game to begin with. It's not like you actually needed to do the inventory management and picking the best weapons/armor/ammo types in the first game.

#15 Posted by Sputty (145 posts) -

I don't know if dumbed down is the right word, the games weren't particularly smart in the first place. I think they're just removing more and more of the RPG elements. Maybe they're not concentrating on it but I still haven't seen a single second of anything that comes off like Mass Effect or even ME2's RPG elements. Picking good guy or bad guy dialogue choices seems to be what they've taken away from past games as worth keeping.

The combat changes in ME2 were good ones but I still found ME2's options to explore and experience the world very limited. From what they've shown, ME3 will have even less than ME2.

#16 Edited by Aetheldod (3914 posts) -

Hell no ..... ionly because they took out stupid skills that made no sense whatsoever to have (paying skill point to get more hits??? Doesnt work for me on an game with guns) , or that they took out a frankly useless "loot" system that was clumsy at best. People ar just being dicks to Bioware out of no good reason. Also I love both ME games but I know that the first one didnt have an amazing combat system and making it better was they way to go.

#17 Posted by Rolyatkcinmai (2763 posts) -

It's your definitions of genres that are holding you to preconceived views. Why not let the game be whatever it wants to be, then judge it on its merits?

So far, the Mass Effect series conveys a strong narrative like no other franchise. They don't have to be an RPG if they don't want to be.

#18 Posted by matthias2437 (992 posts) -

I don't think dumbed down is the right term, I think becoming too mainstream is correct. Mass Effect 1s gameplay was pretty good but the inventory/rpg elements were the best in the series. Mass Effect 2 was more of an action game but still had amazing story. From what I can tell ME3 will has a good story, but in my opinion worse gameplay then ME2 and even less rpg aspects. So it isn't getting dumbed down, just being focused at a more mainstream audience.

#19 Posted by FreakAche (3028 posts) -

From a purely gameplay perspective, yes. But gameplay is tangential to what I like about Mass Effect, so it doesn't really matter. Mass Effect is great because of the dialogue and spectacular presentation.

#20 Posted by BrockNRolla (1725 posts) -

It has been simplified in some areas and complicated in others, but those are all mechanics. The only thing that really matters is the story, and who knows what the 3rd will bring? Anyone bashing it right now doesn't have any idea what they are talking about as the game hasn't come out yet.

#21 Posted by mzuckerm (442 posts) -

Yes, Mass Effect was way better 15 years ago when it was known as Star Control.

#22 Posted by RE_Player1 (7948 posts) -

Of course not. I can't wait to play ME3's action mode where it chooses the dialogue options for me...

#23 Posted by BrockNRolla (1725 posts) -

@msavo said:

Of course not. I can't wait to play ME3's action mode where it chooses the dialogue options for me...

So wait... Are you saying that the developers have dumbed down Mass Effect or that the people playing it are dumbing down Mass Effect?

#24 Posted by AlisterCat (6212 posts) -

The game was never that deep or complex to begin with.

#25 Posted by Sooty (8195 posts) -

@AlisterCat said:

The game was never that deep or complex to begin with.

This is what happens to people who steal my posts:

#26 Posted by Mr_Skeleton (5195 posts) -

I have insider source at Bioware and I was told they want to make a bad game and it's the first game they ever made so they have no idea what they are doing.

#27 Posted by MooseyMcMan (12013 posts) -

There's a difference between dumbing something down and streamlining it. From ME1 to ME2, they streamlined a lot of the stat point stuff, and made the combat better. Otherwise, they made the game bigger, with more meaningful content (like the loyalty missions).

Obviously ME3 hasn't been released yet, so we can't say, but I doubt that game is dumbed down. At least I hope it isn't.

#28 Posted by laserbolts (5471 posts) -

I just finished playing through the first game for the first time after playing through the sequel. I dont understand why people say that mass effect 2 dumbed down the experience. So you can't change your armor? Thats the reason?

#29 Edited by believer258 (12969 posts) -

It's the difference between dumbing down and streamlining. I think Bioware may have streamlined a little too much for the second game. I wish there were more things you could apply experience to, different armor pieces that actually mattered, more guns, etc. Actually, I wish experience actually did something in that game. It does have an effect, but the game never seems to make an effort to feel like it.

However, you will never hear me say that the first game is better. The second game improved almost everything save for the main story. It runs better, looks better, controls better, and is just a better game all around.

I do hope the third one has more open levels, more natural feeling environments, and more weapons to choose from, but I'll be happy with more Mass Effect 2. Besides, they added the roll function, which to me will make a world of difference in the still-wonky combat.

#30 Posted by canucks23 (1080 posts) -

No, 3 is much better than 2 in terms of depth and rpg aspects. Bigger skill trees, more customizable weapons. me2 ways way worse than 3 in terms of "dumbed down".

#31 Posted by FritzDude (2316 posts) -

Not to scare you off here, but there's always a group of people ranting about 'something' on Youtube. But to be honest here, I never saw this franhcise as a true RPG, but more like a shooter to begin with. I can't say that I've missed the Mako, the empty driving, the inventory and equipment system, the shooting and the overall performance and 'fun' elevator rides from the original game. Most changes and improvements done to the 2nd game made the franchise much better in my opinion. ME3 is not out yet so we can't say for sure how it will hold up, but what I can say according to the demo is that both skills and customization systems has become more substantial from ME2.

#32 Posted by phrosnite (3511 posts) -

ME3 - level cap 60, weapon mods, I, II, III version, etc. weapons...

So... no!

#33 Posted by leebmx (2342 posts) -

Jersey Shore???

#34 Posted by DukesT3 (2012 posts) -

You mean being more appealing to the general audience? Yes.

#35 Posted by Getz (3444 posts) -

I think the mistake that people are making from the start is blindness to what the first game was. The RPG elements were shoe-horned in, with clunky inventory management and pointless abilities. It's been slimmed down considerably, but in a very smart way. Compared to Mass Effect 2, the first game is a sloppy mess that people only remember fondly because of Bioware's legacy. Also, I imagine people are still feeling quite burned by Dragon Age II's foray in to brainless action and don't want the same thing for ME3. From the demo, it still feels tactical and choice-driven so I'm not worried.

#36 Edited by PeasantAbuse (5098 posts) -
#37 Posted by FreakAche (3028 posts) -

@PeasantAbuse: I'm replaying Mass Effect 1 right now, and I'm having a fun time with it.

#38 Posted by allworkandlowpay (916 posts) -

Mass Effect was a clunky mess of a game, cluttered down with a mess of an inventory system, a shallow and unbalanced leveling system, and unsatisfying shooting controls.

The only reason anybody gives two shits about the series is because Bioware has been able to expertly tell a hard sci-fi story that is engaging far beyond the scope of the game. The real crux of the game is the feeling of control you have over the narrative (even if its false.) Bioware has kept that in ME2 and ME3, if not even improved upon it. It's not dumbed down, it's just better.

#39 Posted by Pinworm45 (4069 posts) -

I don't know how people can call ME3 dumbed down from ME2 given that it's literally just a more complicated version of that system, in terms of the RPG mechanics. I also fail to see how the game actually controlling nicely makes it bad. It's the same gameplay as the first one, except it feels smoother and the controls are tighter. That makes it a gears of war clone? Should they purposely add some jank so it's nolonger a gears clone? What?

#40 Posted by drac96 (748 posts) -

@matthias2437: Where are people getting the idea that Mass Effect 3 has less RPG elements? It has almost the exact same gameplay as Mass Effect 2, but with MORE RPG elements. You can customize your guns now, and the skill trees have slightly more branching. While those may seem like minor things, it's certainly more than 2 had.

#41 Posted by ozzdog12 (981 posts) -

@pw2566ch said:

Compared to the first one, yes. The gameplay is very dumbed down. However, the story still holds true to what it always was. Now if they decide to focus more on the love stories than the actual story, then the entire game would be completely dumbed down.

#42 Posted by Bourbon_Warrior (4569 posts) -

The originals combat was horrible, the barron worlds were boring and needlessly stretched out the game time. Me2 had great combat and the story was non-stop no boring bits.

#43 Posted by DEMONOLOGY_24 (526 posts) -


#44 Edited by Chemin (656 posts) -

Mass Effect was an action game from day 1, with pretty mediocre combat - which they've streamlined and improved. I barely even considered it to be an RPG in the gameplay-sense when it came out (even though familiar elements are present), so no real loss there. I guess it's because I have old-ass RPGs as reference.

#45 Posted by eclipsesis (1253 posts) -

Wait! what? Mass effect is a ARRPG!?! Sorry my friend but diologue trees and a crude skill system doesn't make it an ARRPG.

only joking bud

#46 Edited by Hitchenson (4708 posts) -

It was dumbed down with 2, 3's just taking a dump on the writing. Seriously, Gears of War's got better writing than the ME3 demo. Not exactly surprising given how shocking modern BioWare games are.

#47 Posted by Nottle (1932 posts) -

@phrosnite said:

ME3 - level cap 60, weapon mods, I, II, III version, etc. weapons...

So... no!

This I am excited for.

@PeasantAbuse said:

Those people on YouTube should go back and play the first Mass Effect.

For some reason I feel like people played the first game wrong. The way you play ME1 was a way that broke the game because the game let you do crazy stuff. About 3 months ago I played the game and got every achievement (except DLC). As an Adept I had an assault rifle and a bevy of overpowered skills. I could send Krogans out of orbit by using lift and then using my assault rifle that has perfect accuracy and never overheated, to keep the Krogan in the air Devil May Cry style. I could send an singularity into the middle of the room and watch as everyone flail around.

In Mass Effect 2 that was neutered. The abilities feel different. Singularity doesn't fill a room. There is an universal cool down on your abilities so you can't just cast everything. It made combat boring in ME2. Instead of going into a room and killing everything, I'm behind a box, getting staggered back waiting for the cool downs to take effect shooting robots in the head with this pea shooter that only carries 30 shots. I can't unlock Assault Rifles until the very end of the game. I have to reload it and it's inaccurate, I can't equip things. All of that I think makes ME2 actively worse. The graphics are better, there are less annoying parts, and the characters are cool (and for the most part better all around with the exeption of Wrex.) But everything else is weaker. Even the story at large.

ME2 was polished, but I don't want that, I rather have fun and customization. Which ME3 seems to be doing better than 2. Sure the shooting was weird because you had to level up in ME1 and the Mako stuff was a drag, but they could have made it better, and more exciting.

#48 Posted by jozzy (2053 posts) -

I have to admit the demo worried me a bit. It looked a little rough around the edges, the combat felt more clunky with too much stuff on the [A] button, also the dialog was cheesier then I remember from Mass Effect 2. I will finish the trilogy at some point, but I might not buy the game at release. Curious to see the reviews for this one.

#49 Posted by PrivateIronTFU (3858 posts) -

If you think dumbing down something means getting rid of that awful weapon management system from the first game, then yes. And I couldn't be happier.

#50 Posted by ArcLyte (912 posts) -

@Jimbo said:

It was dumb to start with, they just made it better dumb.

LOL really? Mass Effect 1 dumb? Just what exactly was dumb about that game?

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