By Falconer 3 Comments
As sleep eludes me this night before Dragon Age 2 is released a random thought popped into my head; why I love Bioware. I figured I would jot my thoughts down hear for others to read as they come to me. I apologize in advance, as these are not planned out in any sort of order and it's nearly 3 am as I start this.
In a way I'm missing out a bit in DA2. I never played the first game you see. I saw that game as a PC-ass-game. The console version seemed too watered down to give it my time. I badly wished to play the game though, for at a glance I loved the world Bioware had created. Granted, it wasn't terribly original, but I'm a sucker for fantasy RPGs more so than scifi games. Alas, my laptop is garbage, and it can play nothing better than TF2 at a steady framerate.
I am jumping into the foray now though. The detail to the tactic choices and character stats are still there, but the gameplay looks MUCH improved. I know there are those out there who dislike, even hate, the changes that have been made. Well, stop reading and go away. I don't want your business.
To my point now though. With both Mass Effect and Dragon Age, Bioware is creating two series in which the player has a realistic impact on the flow of the game. You as the player are able to dictate the outcome from not just two choices, but many. The majority of games today, including most under the "RPG" banner, are linear. They may have some optional side stuff to do, but the end outcome will always be the same. Even in the Elder Scrolls games, there's usually two, MAYBE three, choices in any given situation. Help the dude out, or kill him and take his stuff. Tell the authorities someone is breaking the law, or lie and reap the benefits. Etc, etc. The main quest is more or less linear as well. That being said, please note that I freaking love the ES games.
That brings me to ME and DA. In these games you're crafting the outcome of the world you're playing in. These otherwise unrealistic fantasy worlds. Some things are set in stone. And of course they must be. Only so much dialogue can be written, so many animations created, so many storylines crafted. But these games give you enough choices that you could play it as if you were in the world yourself, or if you wish to be a true Space Asshole and screw everyone over. Then by the time you're done with the series you could talk to someone who had a different experience than you in between that first title card and final closing credits.
We are nerds. We have imaginations not bound by reality. Among those in the video game industry who create worlds for our nerdy minds to explore, Bioware is tier one. Not only do they create pretty worlds, but also deep fiction and interesting personalities. And most importantly, worlds filled with character, charm, and delight found in every corner when one returns to it. No matter how many times. :)