Not An RPG Fan

Imagine a world, in that world is a gamer, a gamer that for the life of him can not finish and RPG. That gamer is me. Let me start at the beginning, everyday I keep an eye on the Frugal Gaming twitter feed waiting for a bargain that takes my fancy. They posted news that the fan favourite Mass Effect 2 was just £9.98 at Curry's while stocks last. Despite this being a absolute steel for most gamers, it was still quite a difficult decision whether to risk wasting 10 pounds on yet another role playing game I dislike and put down after 4 or 5 hours. I played numerous RPG games this generation alone ranging from the highly acclaimed Elder Scrolls: Oblivion, Mass Effect, Fable 2 and Fallout 3 to the not so highly acclaimed like Infinite Undiscovery (I still don't understand the title of that game). As of now I'm still yet to finish one.

It could just be the simple concept of RPG's that doesn't appeal to me, I'm quite partial to a more linear game, having the freedom to almost do what you like is slightly scary, I have know idea where to start or what to do next. Having such big worlds to explore, or even planets in terms of Mass Effect, gives me the 'what do I do now' feeling. I've sunk hours into some RPG's especially Oblivion and Fallout 3 but just when I think I'm getting somewhere I hit a stumbling block and don't know what to do next then consequently give up.

Well after the consideration I did pick it up, but only under the promise that no matter what, I will finally finish an RPG! Even if I have to sink to the lows of guides on the internet or YouTube videos, I will see them credits roll. So I bought it home today and started it perhaps 3 hours ago. I can't believe I'm writing this, but I'm enjoying it! The first game was really entertaining at the start and just like It's sequel, I enjoyed the start, but then I became stuck on a level that basically consisted of sand dunes and you scouring the surface in a buggy. Hopefully though, no such level will reappear. The main characteristics that really appeal to me in Mass Effect 2 are the storyline, which has started off just great, the witty one liners in the dialogue and the sexy females, Ashley in the first and now the lovely Miranda the second.

So there you have it, there's no hiding now, I have to finish it, and to be truthful I really want to, there's a satisfaction in finishing games, something you feel when you see the final cut-scene, or find out why that plot twist happened. Not finishing an RPG is a tick missing off the list, being in it for the long haul and feeling the satisfaction is lacking and hopefully it's only an amount of time before that happens. I'll keep you posted on how the adventure into the Lazarus project goes!

35 Comments
36 Comments
Posted by Callum_NCFC

Imagine a world, in that world is a gamer, a gamer that for the life of him can not finish and RPG. That gamer is me. Let me start at the beginning, everyday I keep an eye on the Frugal Gaming twitter feed waiting for a bargain that takes my fancy. They posted news that the fan favourite Mass Effect 2 was just £9.98 at Curry's while stocks last. Despite this being a absolute steel for most gamers, it was still quite a difficult decision whether to risk wasting 10 pounds on yet another role playing game I dislike and put down after 4 or 5 hours. I played numerous RPG games this generation alone ranging from the highly acclaimed Elder Scrolls: Oblivion, Mass Effect, Fable 2 and Fallout 3 to the not so highly acclaimed like Infinite Undiscovery (I still don't understand the title of that game). As of now I'm still yet to finish one.

It could just be the simple concept of RPG's that doesn't appeal to me, I'm quite partial to a more linear game, having the freedom to almost do what you like is slightly scary, I have know idea where to start or what to do next. Having such big worlds to explore, or even planets in terms of Mass Effect, gives me the 'what do I do now' feeling. I've sunk hours into some RPG's especially Oblivion and Fallout 3 but just when I think I'm getting somewhere I hit a stumbling block and don't know what to do next then consequently give up.

Well after the consideration I did pick it up, but only under the promise that no matter what, I will finally finish an RPG! Even if I have to sink to the lows of guides on the internet or YouTube videos, I will see them credits roll. So I bought it home today and started it perhaps 3 hours ago. I can't believe I'm writing this, but I'm enjoying it! The first game was really entertaining at the start and just like It's sequel, I enjoyed the start, but then I became stuck on a level that basically consisted of sand dunes and you scouring the surface in a buggy. Hopefully though, no such level will reappear. The main characteristics that really appeal to me in Mass Effect 2 are the storyline, which has started off just great, the witty one liners in the dialogue and the sexy females, Ashley in the first and now the lovely Miranda the second.

So there you have it, there's no hiding now, I have to finish it, and to be truthful I really want to, there's a satisfaction in finishing games, something you feel when you see the final cut-scene, or find out why that plot twist happened. Not finishing an RPG is a tick missing off the list, being in it for the long haul and feeling the satisfaction is lacking and hopefully it's only an amount of time before that happens. I'll keep you posted on how the adventure into the Lazarus project goes!

Posted by Hennet_sim

You will enjoy Mass Effect 2 its a very awesome game.

Posted by Callum_NCFC

I think it maybe actually converting me. I'm enjoying it so much.

Posted by SpiralStairs

Mass Effect 2 isn't really an RPG, more like an Action game with RPG elements.

Posted by Callum_NCFC

I think it's a good introduction to RPGs for me. It's like a easy first step.

Posted by Tennmuerti

You seem to be playing only a specific subset of RPGs namely the action type. (not implying that this is a bad thing, just an observation)
I also highly suggest also trying out the more traditional style of RPGs like Dragon Age, Witcher are the most recent ones that come to mind, to see if they appeal.
There is a whole plethora of very good older RPGs but you would need a PC for them and usually some tweaking to run older games, but worth looking into as those are the unparalleled classics that are simply not made anymore (Baldurs Gate series, Planescape, Arcanum, Fallout 1,2, Never Winter Nights series)
 
Good luck with finishing ME2

Posted by Einherjan
@SpiralStairs said:
" Mass Effect 2 isn't really an RPG, more like an Action game with RPG elements. "
Yeah, it's an RPG as much as Borderlands and Fallout 3 are.
Posted by Callum_NCFC
@Tennmuerti: Thanks for the suggestions, I've always thought of Dragon Age as a hardcore RPG that only the fanatics play. I've thought about picking it up a couple of times but after I've finished ME2 I'll be sure to pick it up and give it a try.
Posted by Einherjan
@Callum_NCFC said:
" @Tennmuerti: Thanks for the suggestions, I've always thought of Dragon Age as a hardcore RPG that only the fanatics play. I've thought about picking it up a couple of times but after I've finished ME2 I'll be sure to pick it up and give it a try. "
Dragon Age is a step in the right direction if you are looking to get into RPGs, but by no means is it a "hardcore" RPG. I also suggest looking into Black Isle/Bioware's back catalog if you want to see an example of some more RPGs. Oh, and maybe Mount and Blade-- that's pretty hardcore.
Posted by Callum_NCFC
@Einherjan said:
" @Callum_NCFC said:
" @Tennmuerti: Thanks for the suggestions, I've always thought of Dragon Age as a hardcore RPG that only the fanatics play. I've thought about picking it up a couple of times but after I've finished ME2 I'll be sure to pick it up and give it a try. "
Dragon Age is a step in the right direction if you are looking to get into RPGs, but by no means is it a "hardcore" RPG. I also suggest looking into Black Isle/Bioware's back catalog if you want to see an example of some more RPGs. Oh, and maybe Mount and Blade-- that's pretty hardcore. "

Ah OK, at this rate It's only a matter of time before I finish ME2 - as soon as I as I do I'll pick it up, probably second hand. Are there any advantages to picking it up new, like the cerberus network?
Posted by endaround

Dragon Age?  Yeah Shale is awesome.

Posted by Callum_NCFC

Yep, cool. I'll have a look around see where i can pick up a new copy, cheap then. Thanks.

Posted by SpiralStairs

You might like games like Deus Ex or System Shock 2. I don't know if you've played them or not, but you should give them a try if you haven't.

Posted by TheJohn

 @Callum_NCFC:  
I bought Dragon Age on sale, and saved many moneys. There was a card inside that told me that I could help myself to some free DLC (among them Shale), but the fine print on the card claimed that it was expired. I was, however, able to download it for free without hassle.
Dragon Age is the first RPG in ages that I've been able to finish in one "sitting" (as in: not playing any other games until I finished it), and I - like you - get bored with games that are to open. So you should definitely check it out

Posted by dankempster
@Callum_NCFC: Thanks for inadvertently directing me towards Frugal Gaming. I'm always on the lookout for decent deals when it comes to buying games, so hopefully this will keep me in the loop a little more. Thanks, duder! Oh, and here's hoping your time with Mass Effect 2 is time well spent. I've just finished playing through the first game and absolutely loved it. I've picked up a copy of ME2 (funnily enough through that very promotion on Currys' website that you mentioned), but I'm going to give it a while before I start it up, for fear of getting burned out on the series' mechanics.
Posted by Bellum
@Callum_NCFC said:
"It could just be the simple concept of RPG's that doesn't appeal to me, I'm quite partial to a more linear game, having the freedom to almost do what you like is slightly scary,"

Traditional CRPG's (like Dragon Age) are actually relatively linear. There might be several different paths that you can take, but rpgs are not necessarily "open world" type games.
Posted by SteamPunkJin
@SpiralStairs said:
" Mass Effect 2 isn't really an RPG, more like an Action game with RPG elements. "
Posted by TheJohn
@dankempster: I think it's a good idea to wait a while between the two ME games. I jumped straight into the sequel after absolutely loving the first one, and it was a major disappointment. I believe that if I had waited a little while, I'd have enjoyed it more.
Posted by sear
@Callum_NCFC said:
" @Tennmuerti: Thanks for the suggestions, I've always thought of Dragon Age as a hardcore RPG that only the fanatics play. I've thought about picking it up a couple of times but after I've finished ME2 I'll be sure to pick it up and give it a try. "
That's like saying that Modern Warfare 2 is a shooter that only the shooter fanatics play.
Posted by Toms115
@SpiralStairs said:
" Mass Effect 2 isn't really an RPG, more like an Action game with RPG elements. "

of course it's an rpg rofl. you have a say in pretty much all of the shit that happens in that game. you create a character, you live out that character. idk how you personally define role-playing but that seems to be pretty close to the mark.

but WHATEVER that game is essentially a masterpiece so go and buy it, original poster.
Posted by SpiralStairs
@Toms115 said:
" @SpiralStairs said:
" Mass Effect 2 isn't really an RPG, more like an Action game with RPG elements. "

of course it's an rpg rofl. you have a say in pretty much all of the shit that happens in that game. you create a character, you live out that character. idk how you personally define role-playing but that seems to be pretty close to the mark.

but WHATEVER that game is essentially a masterpiece so go and buy it, original poster. "
I meant it wasn't an RPG in the traditional sense like Dragon Age or Baldur's Gate II. Mass Effect 2 is a ton more accessible and probably appeals to a wider audience.
Posted by azrailx

as already said mass effect 2 minus the strong focus on story is not an rpg

Posted by danhimself

one of things that has disappointed me the most about Mass Effect 2 is that they got rid of a lot of the rpg elements of the first game and turned it into more of a shooter

Edited by sear
@Toms115 said:

" @SpiralStairs said:

" Mass Effect 2 isn't really an RPG, more like an Action game with RPG elements. "

of course it's an rpg rofl. you have a say in pretty much all of the shit that happens in that game. you create a character, you live out that character. idk how you personally define role-playing but that seems to be pretty close to the mark.

but WHATEVER that game is essentially a masterpiece so go and buy it, original poster. "
Mass Effect 2 is not "essentially a masterpiece".  It is a mechanically sound and graphically gorgeous third-person shooter with non-combat segments.  The player does not "create a character"; rather, the player choses the appearance of a predefined character and then proceeds to navigate a wholly linear sequence of events (I refrain to use the word "storyline") while making wholly aesthetic decisions along the way which have absolutely no long-term consequences.  Any decisions imported from the first Mass Effect are similarly superficial.  Character classes play nearly identically save for a few powers unique to one or two of them, and leveling up comes down to choosing which (mostly unnecessary) skills to increase first.  Player decisions are highly limited, with at best two or three options for some situations; most of the time you merely choose the tone of your voice, which does nothing except impact your purely cosmetic good/evil slider. The consequences of these aforementioned decisions are minuscule, and do not fundamentally change the world in any significant way.  Choice of character does not significantly alter the experience the player has, nor does it have any major impact upon gameplay.
Posted by CrazyBagMan

oh snap!

Posted by ajamafalous

Well that's easy enough, because ME2 isn't an RPG.

Posted by ArbitraryWater
@sear:  Isn't that all Role Playing interaction though? No video game can emulate the infinite choice and DM adaptability of Pen and Paper games. You just seem hung up on the fact that the choice is illusionary. Of course it is. No developer could ever make choice wholly effect the game in a meaningful way without wasting a bunch of time and effort on something only a few people are going to see. If you can show me any game that actually does that, you win. Or maybe you just don't like Western RPGs?
 
In any case, the choices are at least presented far better than they were in something like Baldur's Gate, where your choices have no impact whatsoever, and were transparently good and evil.
Online
Edited by Toms115
@sear said:

" @Toms115 said:

" @SpiralStairs said:

" Mass Effect 2 isn't really an RPG, more like an Action game with RPG elements. "

of course it's an rpg rofl. you have a say in pretty much all of the shit that happens in that game. you create a character, you live out that character. idk how you personally define role-playing but that seems to be pretty close to the mark.

but WHATEVER that game is essentially a masterpiece so go and buy it, original poster. "
Mass Effect 2 is not "essentially a masterpiece".  It is a mechanically sound and graphically gorgeous third-person shooter with non-combat segments.  The player does not "create a character"; rather, the player choses the appearance of a predefined character and then proceeds to navigate a wholly linear sequence of events (I refrain to use the word "storyline") while making wholly aesthetic decisions along the way which have absolutely no long-term consequences.  Any decisions imported from the first Mass Effect are similarly superficial.  Character classes play nearly identically save for a few powers unique to one or two of them, and leveling up comes down to choosing which (mostly unnecessary) skills to increase first.  Player decisions are highly limited, with at best two or three options for some situations; most of the time you merely choose the tone of your voice, which does nothing except impact your purely cosmetic good/evil slider. The consequences of these aforementioned decisions are minuscule, and do not fundamentally change the world in any significant way.  Choice of character does not significantly alter the experience the player has, nor does it have any major impact upon gameplay. "

would you like to take the time to thank the academy, or are you just going to skip that part?

after wading through all of the bullshit, i found this snippet to be the most interesting, to me at least.

" Choice of character does not significantly alter the experience the player has, nor does it have any major impact upon gameplay. "

and why would it? why would creating your character have any sort of inherent effect on gameplay and its related elements? it is the exact wording of your post that leads me to the conclusion that you are placing too much of your attention on areas where not all of it need be. in a piece of narrative driven television or film, do you treasure its ability to bring forth emotion, believability in character and plot, or do you treasure the fidelity of the cameras? in a piece of narrative driven written word, do you treasure those same things - emotion, believability in character and plot - or do you treasure how many pages there are? similarly, these things (in the context of video games, of course) should be applied to narrative driven video games. that's not to say that mass effect is at all broken on a fundamental gameplay level, it's pretty well done, but it's just not where the gold lies; it's in the narrative. that's also not to say that these things aren't desirable, you know, fidelity of camera work, length of piece of fiction, and well done gameplay elements etc. it's even more desirable in video games as you have to control what happens on-screen, which is not really the case for tv/film or literature, but when you misplace too much of your attention on not-as-important areas and less of it on thematic levels, you really need to stop what you're doing and re-asses your critique abilities.

is mass effect 2 essentially a masterpiece on a gameplay level? i don't really give a shit, but it's damn near perfect as bringer of narrative.

Posted by Tennmuerti
@Toms115: 
You kind of missed the point of what Sear is saying.
He was never arguing with you if ME2 is good or not.
Merely stating that from the common conception of the western RPG, ME2 is not such for many people. The emphasis on "essentially a masterpiece" was from the way I read it referring to the genre level quality rather then the overall quality of the game.
As for game play, the common understanding is that in an RPG the choice of character does indeed change the gameplay experience, it can fundamentaly change the way you play the game. From your stats/class affecting your dialogue options and how people treat you to changing the way you go about facing your enemies: with wit and a sweet tongue or do you simply kill everything that stands in your way or simply try to avoid confrontation as much as possible by sneaking or stealing. These are just the very basic examples.
Also what you precieve as the "not-as-important" areas of the game can in fact be the most important areas to other people.
If you don't understand the point some one is making does not make it automatically bullshit.
Edited by Toms115
@Tennmuerti:
i didn't miss the point. he disagreed with me stating it was "essentially a masterpiece", and i explained why i thought he was wrong. simple.
Edited by sear

  @ArbitraryWater said:

" @sear:  Isn't that all Role Playing interaction though? No video game can emulate the infinite choice and DM adaptability of Pen and Paper games. You just seem hung up on the fact that the choice is illusionary. Of course it is. No developer could ever make choice wholly effect the game in a meaningful way without wasting a bunch of time and effort on something only a few people are going to see. If you can show me any game that actually does that, you win. Or maybe you just don't like Western RPGs? In any case, the choices are at least presented far better than they were in something like Baldur's Gate, where your choices have no impact whatsoever, and were transparently good and evil. "

Of course games can't offer infinite possibility, but next to games that are ten years old Mass Effect 2 falls woefully short, and its choices are transparent even next to the already-transparent choices of the first Mass Effect.   Before you try to justify it by saying "oh well games are more expensive to make, they need voice acting", etc., I look at games.  I don't forgive inadequacy because the developer gave me Bambi eyes.  The finished product is what matters.
 

@Toms115

said:

would you like to take the time to thank the academy, or are you just going to skip that part?

after wading through all of the bullshit, i found this snippet to be the most interesting, to me at least.

" Choice of character does not significantly alter the experience the player has, nor does it have any major impact upon gameplay. "

and why would it? why would creating your character have any sort of inherent effect on gameplay and its related elements? it is the exact wording of your post that leads me to the conclusion that you are placing too much of your attention on areas where not all of it need be. in a piece of narrative driven television or film, do you treasure its ability to bring forth emotion, believability in character and plot, or do you treasure the fidelity of the cameras? in a piece of narrative driven written word, do you treasure those same things - emotion, believability in character and plot - or do you treasure how many pages there are? similarly, these things (in the context of video games, of course) should be applied to narrative driven video games. that's not to say that mass effect is at all broken on a fundamental gameplay level, it's pretty well done, but it's just not where the gold lies; it's in the narrative. that's also not to say that these things aren't desirable, you know, fidelity of camera work, length of piece of fiction, and well done gameplay elements etc. it's even more desirable in video games as you have to control what happens on-screen, which is not really the case for tv/film or literature, but when you misplace too much of your attention on not-as-important areas and less of it on thematic levels, you really need to stop what you're doing and re-asses your critique abilities.

is mass effect 2 essentially a masterpiece on a gameplay level? i don't really give a shit, but it's damn near perfect as bringer of narrative.

"
First off, I'd like to thank you for your insults.  I appreciate it when the people who I'm having a discussion with dismiss my arguments as "bullshit" and then, rather than explain why, pick and choose small points to attack instead.  I am glad that you show such respect for me, because the feeling between us is mutual.   You have established the terms of our discourse, and I shall respond accordingly.  Cockbag.
 
As to your question, why should character building alter gameplay, the answer is simple.  Let's look at a classic RPG like Fallout as an example.  In Fallout, I am able to specialise in a number of skills which all have a specific effect on gameplay.  Depending on what I specialise in, my results are very different.  For example, if I increase my Repair skill enough, I might be able to fix the water pump that the Ghouls in Necropolis are using, and thus save them from the dehydration taking their Water Chip would cause them.  Please note that this is a) a non-combat solution, b) a solution contingent upon the way I have built my character, and c) a solution which has significant story implications.  In other words, my solving this problem hinges upon my character creation and building, as does the way that I navigate the game world (since I may pursue a different solution with a different skill set).  Mass Effect 2 features no such situations; in places where the player is called upon to make a choice, these choices are rarely connected directly to gameplay mechanics or player skills, and the game even goes as far as to refuse to reward you for not taking an absolute paragon/renegade stance.  Even Mass Effect 1 had places where certain lockpicking/hacking skills were necessary to open doors and chests, but Mass Effect 2 eschews what little depth there for action instead.
 
Regarding the rest of your tirade, I'm not sure where I ever mentioned things like cinematography and technical merit, or length vs. depth.   You seem to be making a number of assumptions and are responding to things which I never said, in an attempt to dismiss my argument without directly addressing any of it, save for one particular statement, which I have taken the time to clarify.
 
If you consider Mass Effect 2 to be "nearly perfect" from a narrative perspective, then you should have stated that in your first post.  What you did say, however, is that it is "nearly perfect" as a complete game, and that is something that I object to.
 
On the topic of narrative, I also disagree with your claim that the game is "nearly perfect".  Although I could spend a lot of time digging through the plot holes in Mass Effect 2, I'll instead refer you to a couple of other people who have already done just this, and done so in a more cohesive form than I am able to in a forum post.  I suggest you read the following three articles:
 
 http://www.shamusyoung.com/twentysidedtale/?p=7004 
 http://www.shamusyoung.com/twentysidedtale/?p=7006
 http://www.shamusyoung.com/twentysidedtale/?p=7007 
 
As well as watch the following video series:
 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rR558wTjOUU

Mass Effect 2 is a prime example of a story which makes great sense when you're taken in by the great writing and colourful characters, but falls apart when put under scrutiny.  In my opinion, that is not the mark of a masterpiece.  As I said, the game is technically brilliant for the most part, plays well, and has a lot of other good qualities.  I don't think it's a downright bad game, but I do think that it is severely lacking in what I expect from a good RPG, namely, a coherent and intriguing story, and meaningful choice and consequence when it comes to both that story and its gameplay.  The next time you argue with me, please address what I have to say, rather than invented statements and straw men.
Posted by sagesebas
@Callum_NCFC: Don't be afraid to use a walk through they are all over the internet, and can help alot, I've been using it extensively on Fallout 3, also mass effect is an rpg but not as much of an rpg as say oblivion or fallout 3 or even the first mass effect.
Posted by SpiralStairs
@sear:  Good post, I found it hard to really get into Mass Effect 2. The charactes, story, etc. It's a game that takes itself way too seriously, and suffers from it.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Posted by RaceKickfist

good on you, OP. 

Posted by LiquidPrince
@Callum_NCFC said:
" I think it maybe actually converting me. I'm enjoying it so much. "
You would have enjoyed it even more had you played and finished the first one.
Posted by azrailx

3rd person action cover game does not equal an rpg 
hell games like gow almost hve more weapon options...