Woah, got too many questions about Mass Effect 2

 OK. I guess there needs to be some clarification about my comments on TNT about Mass Effect 2 as I received way too many PMs on the subject. 
 
First let me start by saying that of all games released last year, I'd put Mass Effect 2 up there pretty high as the a game I would recommend to a random gamer I met on the street under the age of 30. This is strictly a personal opinion and more a commentary on the direction of the industry in general. This discussion is specifically only meaningful to those who are familiar with the history of Bioware and the Western RPG genre. 
 
It is of my opinion that Dragon's Age will likely turn out to be one of the last, if not the last AAA produced single-player CRPG. What do I mean by the term CRPG? As an acronym, Computer Role Playing Game. Put in less generic terms, the type of RPG that follows the traditions of the Rogue, Ultima, Gold-Box, Wizardry, Might & Magic and Infinity Engine era.  I leave out The Elder Scrolls mostly because it has never been a party based game, and always existed in real-time in the first perspective. In that sense, The Elder Scrolls series was always more about exploration than combat. My guess is that over time, even the Elder Scrolls style games will rapidly devolve into games more along the lines of Fallout 3. That is to say, action games with light, meaningless skill progression that exist in large, explorable worlds. Are they RPGs? Yes. Are they part of the same genre of the old CRPGs I love? No. They share more in common with Red Dead Redemption than Wizardry.
 
If you ask the majority of people what they like about RPGs, they'll normally talk about the story. But to be honest, the story in most video games is horrible, and outside of a couple true gems like Planescape, we're really talking about great stories in relative terms within the medium. What I, and I believe some people who grew up on CRPGs really enjoyed, was the complicated, challenging and more importantly... flexible combat systems that existed in those games. When you're asking me to pinpoint how I can consider this genre dead, I'm pointing to the tactical combat portion of it. The story in Dragon Age was relatively great, and by all means Mass Effect 2 seems to be better, but I thought Dragon Age was a great game because the combat was rewarding. 
 
The combat in Mass Effect 2 is boring. It's is a shooter more than an RPG. That's OK, I like shooters and I certainly like STALKER and BioShock, so what's the deal? Well, I also think Mass Effect 2 is a shitty, uncomplicated, floaty shooter with fairly meaningless skill upgrades that they are for the most part pre-set and easy to choose. Fuck yeah I want better shields. Fuck yeah I want better X attack. The actual combat involves me moving from set-piece to set-piece Gears of War style. See those barricades? Oh. I guess a fight is about to happen, I better go hide behind this wall where I'm suddenly impenetrable from anything. Because of the meatiness of the health and shields in these types of games, you largely die because of a lack of patience (trying to kill them too fast) vs. making bad decisions in strategy. I miss the puzzles of battle. I miss counterspells. I miss crowd control. I miss focus fire. I even miss the idea of things like tumble rolls. I miss knowing that in some battles I should take the mage out first, but in others I should prolly sleep his minions and take out the healer.
 
Please don't confuse this with me thinking games are too easy. I can up the difficulty in games like Mass Effect 2 and make them difficult. But that change normally only effects my caution, not my planning. I'll admit, I couldn't make it through Mass Effect 2. But that was because the fights at hour 15 were the same fights I had at hour 2. I just couldn't walk through any more barricaded chambers. The rock, paper, scissors shield mechanics created a formula that was static throughout the course of my time in the game.
 
I did enjoy the story and the characters for the most part. It's what got me through the first game. But once I found that I was going through another assemble the team style plot device (it was a weakness in DA too), even that couldn't keep me going. You want me to walk through all 3 ship decks with their individual loading points to get to the fun conversations? Ugh... at least in Dragon Age they were all sitting at that one camp. Morrigan was all of 10 steps away. Having to make my way through the ship in ME2 was the worst. I quit. I had to. I finished one of those world missions and went through all that mediocre combat and now I've gotta spend 30 minutes walking around just so that I don't feel I'm missing out on anything. Done. End. Rage Quit. 
 
But this is the new style of "RPG". They are essentially hybrid shooters with dialog trees. Deus Ex plus. Remember when Deus Ex 2 came out and the whole world groaned? That is what I think about Mass Effect 2. Oh... OK, so you took all the challenging bits out of a the good style of game you used to make (I'm talking infinity engine), made the world progression a lot more linear and made it so that it's impossible to totally gimp your character with the trade off that non of these skill choices really matter. 
 
It's certainly nothing new, and it's not Mass Effect 2's fault. If we're looking to point the finger, KOTOR is certainly the one that lead us here. I only chide Mass Effect 2 so much because I'm bitter no one is making combat CRPGs anymore. The Eastern Block style games are closest. They are both challenging and radically different. Say what you will about the technical qualities of games like STALKER, The Void or Amnesia. They are god-damned different that it takes you a couple hours just to figure out how to play them correctly. Look, that limits their appeal, but shit, that's what I enjoy out of games these days: a novel approach.  
 
I wouldn't be so mad about these games existing other than that they are pure replacements, rather than alternatives to the style of game in which they preceded. I wouldn't lose all hope though. There's still an audience for this stuff. We're not huge, but I get PMs almost daily from people who miss the old style combat CRPGs. That's what the independent gaming movement will eventually find. It's not just about games like Braid that push you outside of the mainstream to some higher plane, it's simply about reaching a smaller, passionate audience. We're out there and we're waiting. 

271 Comments
273 Comments
Posted by snide

 OK. I guess there needs to be some clarification about my comments on TNT about Mass Effect 2 as I received way too many PMs on the subject. 
 
First let me start by saying that of all games released last year, I'd put Mass Effect 2 up there pretty high as the a game I would recommend to a random gamer I met on the street under the age of 30. This is strictly a personal opinion and more a commentary on the direction of the industry in general. This discussion is specifically only meaningful to those who are familiar with the history of Bioware and the Western RPG genre. 
 
It is of my opinion that Dragon's Age will likely turn out to be one of the last, if not the last AAA produced single-player CRPG. What do I mean by the term CRPG? As an acronym, Computer Role Playing Game. Put in less generic terms, the type of RPG that follows the traditions of the Rogue, Ultima, Gold-Box, Wizardry, Might & Magic and Infinity Engine era.  I leave out The Elder Scrolls mostly because it has never been a party based game, and always existed in real-time in the first perspective. In that sense, The Elder Scrolls series was always more about exploration than combat. My guess is that over time, even the Elder Scrolls style games will rapidly devolve into games more along the lines of Fallout 3. That is to say, action games with light, meaningless skill progression that exist in large, explorable worlds. Are they RPGs? Yes. Are they part of the same genre of the old CRPGs I love? No. They share more in common with Red Dead Redemption than Wizardry.
 
If you ask the majority of people what they like about RPGs, they'll normally talk about the story. But to be honest, the story in most video games is horrible, and outside of a couple true gems like Planescape, we're really talking about great stories in relative terms within the medium. What I, and I believe some people who grew up on CRPGs really enjoyed, was the complicated, challenging and more importantly... flexible combat systems that existed in those games. When you're asking me to pinpoint how I can consider this genre dead, I'm pointing to the tactical combat portion of it. The story in Dragon Age was relatively great, and by all means Mass Effect 2 seems to be better, but I thought Dragon Age was a great game because the combat was rewarding. 
 
The combat in Mass Effect 2 is boring. It's is a shooter more than an RPG. That's OK, I like shooters and I certainly like STALKER and BioShock, so what's the deal? Well, I also think Mass Effect 2 is a shitty, uncomplicated, floaty shooter with fairly meaningless skill upgrades that they are for the most part pre-set and easy to choose. Fuck yeah I want better shields. Fuck yeah I want better X attack. The actual combat involves me moving from set-piece to set-piece Gears of War style. See those barricades? Oh. I guess a fight is about to happen, I better go hide behind this wall where I'm suddenly impenetrable from anything. Because of the meatiness of the health and shields in these types of games, you largely die because of a lack of patience (trying to kill them too fast) vs. making bad decisions in strategy. I miss the puzzles of battle. I miss counterspells. I miss crowd control. I miss focus fire. I even miss the idea of things like tumble rolls. I miss knowing that in some battles I should take the mage out first, but in others I should prolly sleep his minions and take out the healer.
 
Please don't confuse this with me thinking games are too easy. I can up the difficulty in games like Mass Effect 2 and make them difficult. But that change normally only effects my caution, not my planning. I'll admit, I couldn't make it through Mass Effect 2. But that was because the fights at hour 15 were the same fights I had at hour 2. I just couldn't walk through any more barricaded chambers. The rock, paper, scissors shield mechanics created a formula that was static throughout the course of my time in the game.
 
I did enjoy the story and the characters for the most part. It's what got me through the first game. But once I found that I was going through another assemble the team style plot device (it was a weakness in DA too), even that couldn't keep me going. You want me to walk through all 3 ship decks with their individual loading points to get to the fun conversations? Ugh... at least in Dragon Age they were all sitting at that one camp. Morrigan was all of 10 steps away. Having to make my way through the ship in ME2 was the worst. I quit. I had to. I finished one of those world missions and went through all that mediocre combat and now I've gotta spend 30 minutes walking around just so that I don't feel I'm missing out on anything. Done. End. Rage Quit. 
 
But this is the new style of "RPG". They are essentially hybrid shooters with dialog trees. Deus Ex plus. Remember when Deus Ex 2 came out and the whole world groaned? That is what I think about Mass Effect 2. Oh... OK, so you took all the challenging bits out of a the good style of game you used to make (I'm talking infinity engine), made the world progression a lot more linear and made it so that it's impossible to totally gimp your character with the trade off that non of these skill choices really matter. 
 
It's certainly nothing new, and it's not Mass Effect 2's fault. If we're looking to point the finger, KOTOR is certainly the one that lead us here. I only chide Mass Effect 2 so much because I'm bitter no one is making combat CRPGs anymore. The Eastern Block style games are closest. They are both challenging and radically different. Say what you will about the technical qualities of games like STALKER, The Void or Amnesia. They are god-damned different that it takes you a couple hours just to figure out how to play them correctly. Look, that limits their appeal, but shit, that's what I enjoy out of games these days: a novel approach.  
 
I wouldn't be so mad about these games existing other than that they are pure replacements, rather than alternatives to the style of game in which they preceded. I wouldn't lose all hope though. There's still an audience for this stuff. We're not huge, but I get PMs almost daily from people who miss the old style combat CRPGs. That's what the independent gaming movement will eventually find. It's not just about games like Braid that push you outside of the mainstream to some higher plane, it's simply about reaching a smaller, passionate audience. We're out there and we're waiting. 

Posted by MysteriousBob

I think the complete opposite to you in every regard and I despise most, if not all PC RPGs.

Edited by crusader8463

Good luck with ya man. I have pretty much said the exact same thing many a times and every time I do I get nothing but replies from people calling me a fucking idiot. I miss the strategy that games used to have. Now everything is simplified to the point that anyone who has ever played a video game before can pick it up and play it and not have to ever stop and user their brains. I'm just tired of games always being about who can click the button faster then the other guy, and I miss ones that rewarded people who used their brains.

Edited by rjayb89

Wow, people need to ease up when they hear a game they like isn't as good or better than they had hoped from some random internet dude.

Posted by ZimboDK
@snide:  Damn Dave. If I ever go to the US, let me buy you a beer, 'cause I completely agree with everything in that post.
Edited by BulletproofMonk

While Dragon Age definitely had more interesting, deep and rewarding combat than neither of the Mass Effect games, some of the combat sections in both of those dragged way too much, at least to my taste. Bioware needs to learn a better balance between combat and the story stuff.

Posted by TekZero

Totally agree with you! 
 
 I played ME 1 about 3-4 times.  When I heard that they removed the inventory system and the planet exploration, I hesitated in buying it.  Now with all of the GOTY talk, I'm interested in playing it, but what you've said only confirms my fear for the game.  In the mean time, there is always GOG.com...

Posted by Weltal

I love the old style RPGs and love what new RPGs bring to the table, which is nice because I feel like I'm covered no matter which direction the industry heads. Still, I can't help but agree. I want a new Temple of Elemental Evil, or something along those lines, something that takes it to another level. Dragon Age was great but it's a modern take on an old formula and I guess I want more old, less new, in this case.

Posted by DevWil

totally understand where you're coming from, even if i disagree with you a little bit (specifically about your more negative sentiments towards ME2).

Posted by EdIsCool

Loot! where was the loot? When people can build a whole game around loot (Diablo,Borderlands,Torchlight) and when ME1's problem was actually  inventory management, why take loot out? WHY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Edited by gike987

People are way to defensive about ME2.  I'm really starting to hate ME2, not because I don't like the game but because of the ridiculous fanboys attacking people for not calling it the best game ever.

Posted by litrock

I'm intrigued by this, mostly because I'm new to PC games and I haven't played any of these CRPGs.  I'd like to, but they're so old that it's hard to get into them the same way I can a modern game. I do enjoy the eastern block games, though, so maybe if a new CRPG came along I'd be able to get into it.  I like options.

Posted by Hakkesshu

Witcher 2, dude. Witcher 2.

Posted by BrowncoatGrimm

Didn't BioWare say that the combat for Dragon Age 2 is remaining the same for PC as the first game and that they're only changing the combat for the console versions? If that's the case you get the old style combat but with a Mass Effect 2 style conversation system.

Posted by TheSeductiveMoose
@ZimboDK said:
" @snide:  Damn Dave. If I ever go to the US, let me buy you a beer, 'cause I completely agree with everything in that post. "
Yup, me too. I find myself replaying all of these old RPGs ( Icewind Dale, Baldur's Gate, Planescape, etc) and having a much greater time than I've had with any of the recent RPGs to come out, I'm not saying that they're bad, it's just that those old games are so damn good.
Posted by Slaker117

I wish I could get back into old style western RPGs, but I get too obsessive over everything to the point that I'm not longer having fun.

Edited by TheMasterDS

Somehow I thought the C stood for Canadian before I read that part of the blog.  
 
Also, why are dialog trees called dialog trees if they loop around at the end? Trees aren't supposed to have circuits in them! Maybe it's because Dialog Directed Graph isn't as catchy.

Posted by Animasta

but how do you feel about witcher 2?
 
great blog though, I enjoyed ME2 at the time, but... playing through it again is just an exercise in tedium.

Edited by Abendlaender

Sir, you are a wise, wise man.
It's hard to find people who share my feelings about Mass Effect 2.
Witcher 2 is the only RPG I look forward to in 2011 and I used to be a RPG Fan...

Posted by MayorFeedback
@ZimboDK said:
" @snide:  Damn Dave. If I ever go to the US, let me buy you a beer, 'cause I completely agree with everything in that post. "
I, too, would like to buy you a metaphorical beer of your choice for the same reason.
Posted by RiotBananas

So why is it when a member of staff posts his (sort of negative) opinion about a game on the forums everyone jumps to kiss his ass and agree, but when others have shared similar views to Dave, many have just insulted them? Urgh. 
 
Totally agree with you though Dave.

Posted by Ramone

I personally think ME 2 was a much better game than Dragon Age in terms of story and gameplay but I too would like a lot more RPG-iness in ME 3. Bring back inventory, bring back loot, bring back exploration. If this is the last experience I'm going to get in the ME universe let me go where I want instead of restricting me to a few rooms.

Edited by SirPenguin

I agree with everything you said, Dave. I also think you outlined your argument very well, which is important given the touchy nature of dissing the almighty Mass Effect 2 (which I personally loved, but for different reasons) 
 
I'm 23, but I missed the CRPG boat due to playing mostly consoles until I was in my late teens. Once I "discovered" PC gaming and the unique RPGs it provided, I attempted to get into them almost immediately. Baldur's Gate 1 and 2, Planescape, Fallout, etc. I hated them all. They were boring, slow, hard, and looked really bad in comparison to modern graphics. 
 
This disliking of the genre continued all the way until Golden Sun for the GBA. It was the first RPG I had beaten in a long time, and for whatever reason it made me want to pursue more difficult and strategic games in that genre. From there, I played and beat Baldur's Gate 2 and Planescape, and even gave Ultima a try. Now I find myself enthralled by this style of game, even when it transcends genres. I'd very much argue that games like Europa Universali 3 are an example of the "traditions" of a CRPG being realized in a modern game under a different genre. 
 
I think what I'm saying is that I can't hate on modern games too much because the classics still exist, waiting for someone to pick them up. On their own, without history or nostalgia, they're hard to appreciate, but games still exist nowadays that can serve as bridges between genres and the classic titles can always get new players to pick them up. I think that something like Dragon Age being a AAA title and selling quite well is a very good sign for the future of CRPGs, past and present. 
 
Then again, Dragon Age 2 looks like utter garbage from a company too scared to capitalize on a proven success. Which is utterly bizarre. In the end, you may hate DA2 for what it'll do to the genre way more than ME2.

Posted by Ramboknife

In my opinion, the combat is only boring in ME2 if you let it be...you can choose different classes and combine all of the special abilities to make some pretty cool combos and whatnot. 

Posted by Chirag4

Streamlining the combat is a natural progression in RPGs. I think most people have this vision of RPGs and games in general becoming more and more realistic to the point where they resemble reality. Coupled with the fact that most games try to appeal to the widest audience possible, we get games like Mass Effect 2 which is basically a shooter with light upgrade mechanics. 
 
What I enjoy in RPGs however, is the story. In my opinion, the plot and setting of ME2 was far more interesting and engaging than most other games on the market. 
 
I'm happy with the direction that these games are headed, evolution is natural and I think it's being done well.

Edited by sharma55

Personally,I've always found the 'pull out and pause the action' RPGs a little too intimidating but have always liked the conversations and paving out your own story part of it. This new style of RPG has all those elements I really like and really accessible gameplay.

Posted by crusader8463
@BrowncoatGrimm said:
" Didn't BioWare say that the combat for Dragon Age 2 is remaining the same for PC as the first game and that they're only changing the combat for the console versions? If that's the case you get the old style combat but with a Mass Effect 2 style conversation system. "
There is a different feel to it. In the first game the characters animated in a very realistic way, in the sense that a guy running around in big heavy armour lumbered around and when he fought he would through his heavy shield and wasn't jumping like crazy- ogre killing animation a side. Take a look at one of the gameplay trailers for 2 and the main character is zipping around the map, doing back flips, 360 spins in the air and teleporting around the map like it was Devil May Cry or a Dynasty Warriors game. It just doesnt have the same feel to it imho.
Posted by crusader8463
@RiotBananas said:
" So why is it when a member of staff posts his (sort of negative) opinion about a game on the forums everyone jumps to kiss his ass and agree, but when others have shared similar views to Dave, many have just insulted them? Urgh.  Totally agree with you though Dave. "
Because they know Dave and they treat him like they would treat another human being face to face due to seeing him in videos and hearing him on the podcast, while everyone else is just a faceless avatar on the internet.
Posted by Grissefar

I agree with you, Dave. I don't want games like ME2 and AC:B that are designed for impatient 12-year olds to rush through. Is Dragon Age II heading in the same direction? That would make me sad since I just ordered DA Ultimate Edition.
 
Have you tried some japanese RPGs? Demon's Souls is great and I am going to pick up Resonance of Fate some time, it should be a good challenge.

Posted by LiK

@snide, no hope for Witcher 2? Its not AAA but it looks awesome.

Edited by Fish_Face_McGee

I completely see your point.  I guess I just prefer an "RPG" where the idea of playing through again isn't completely daunting.  The idea of playing through Dragon Age again almost frustrates me.

Posted by Zippedbinders

 I'm actually quite relieved that a staff member wasn't completely enthralled with Mass Effect 2. I don't have quite the same connection to CRPGs as you do (though I will say as a side note that I've heard the C stand for "Classic" as well as "Computer"), I can certainly understand your gripe with how western RPGs have changed over the years. My fascination is twiddling with stats and specing a character to play a certain way. Sure there wasn't a ton of variety in ME1, but in ME2 leveling is a mindless formality with almost zero room for experimentation or character building. 
 
I miss just about everything they took out of ME1 when making ME2, except Kaiden and Ashley. Fuck those guys. ME2 is a fine dialogue simulator with a lot of load times the first game didn't have and crappy shooting mechanics. I had previously defended ME1's shooting mechanics by explaining that it was an RPG in the guise of a shooter, ME2 is just a bad shooter wearing an RPG wristband. I was, however, able to finish it though and the story is fine enough, but the characters are where Bioware has always shined. So much so that I was at least satisfied with the product, enough to want to play ME3, but not at anything resembling a full price. 
 
The whole thing just makes me want to play Fallout 1 again and then enjoy more of New Vegas the way it was meant to played. Fisticuffs. 
 
Also, I know it was touched upon on TNT, but I was sorely waiting for a Dave's Top 10. Even if something like Civ 5 is iterative (and Amnesia being iterative on Penumbra, STALKER being STALKER, etc), I'd still love to hear what you had the most fun playing in 2010.  

Posted by yinstarrunner

I agree with you completely, but I usually just keep my mouth shut to avoid any flamewars that could come from dissing the "GOTY".  I physically cringe whenever I see someone say that Mass Effect 2 is one of their favorite games ever.
 
It was a complete chore for me to play through.  I couldn't stand the structure of it.  "Go here, get x member, do their loyalty mission."  While that stuff has always been in Bioware games,  it was wayyy too transparent in ME2, and halfway through I began to feel like I was simply playing to tick another thing off the checklist.  I'm surprised that I actually beat it, as I didn't find most of the loyalty missions all that intriguing, personally.  I would have preferred a more natural story structure.

Posted by ChickenPants

As a 19 year old guy who spends most of his gaming time playing 90s PC CRPGs I can say that I totally agree with you. Really makes me sad that the genre seems to have died out.
 
Dragon Age was a cool homage but I thought the combat was flawed and started to get repetitive about midway through the game. I also hated the ''assemble a team'' plot and the linearity of world exploration. Also, everything I hear about DA2 just puts me off the game more and more.
 
RPG-wise I'm currently most looking forward to Guild Wars 2, Diablo 3 and The Witcher 2. I really hope publishers realise that there's still a dedicated market of CRPGs. We don't care about AAA polish.

Posted by Von

Well, nothing modern is going to beat Ultima IV and VII it seems. ;) (maybe Sword of Fargoal, but that's a dungeoncrawler, not a pure-blood RPG)
 
 I also agree on most parts regarding ME2, especially the things about combat since that's what killed the fun for me and turned the latter half of the game into utter boredom, just to get to the damn ending.

Posted by Doctorchimp
@TekZero said:
" Totally agree with you!   I played ME 1 about 3-4 times.  When I heard that they removed the inventory system and the planet exploration, I hesitated in buying it.  Now with all of the GOTY talk, I'm interested in playing it, but what you've said only confirms my fear for the game.  In the mean time, there is always GOG.com... "
I think you totally misinterpreted what Dave is saying, he could go through the first Mass Effect but it's not like that was his favorite game of all time. 
 
If you liked the first Mass Effect so much you went through it about 3 or 4 times then you'll probably dig Mass Effect 2 enough for at least one good playthrough. It's not like the first Mass Effect was the incredibly deep combat experience Dave is looking for in games either... Mass Effect 1 is actually more shallow in combat than Mass Effect 2 is. Dave was just fed up with the style of game that's all he was saying. 
 
Unless you truly let that inventory system and repetitive planet Mako stuff become your favorite parts about the game...
Posted by LordXavierBritish

I never played a lot of CRPGs, but I can sympathize with this sentiment entirely. I found the combat in Dragon Age to be a complete delight that I could enjoy several times over where as Mass Effect 2 was a one time affair simply played for the lore and story. I've found myself scrapping through back catalogues now trying to catch up on everything I've missed. It'll be an extremely extraordinary experience when I finally get around to play all those classics, if nothing else.

Posted by Doctorchimp
@Ramboknife said:
" In my opinion, the combat is only boring in ME2 if you let it be...you can choose different classes and combine all of the special abilities to make some pretty cool combos and whatnot.  "
Yeah I have to agree with you, when Brad was saying how the game is pretty much a shooter now and he only played as Soldier I rolled my eyes and sighed "oh Brad". 
 
An adept on insanity is amazing fun.  

I still have to agree with Dave though, the CRPG genre is dead as people are trying to push their games more and more into the mainstream, judging from the Dragon Age 2 they have been showing that looks like it's going the hack and slash route too. But we'll wait and see.
Posted by Animasta
@Doctorchimp said:
" @Ramboknife said:
" In my opinion, the combat is only boring in ME2 if you let it be...you can choose different classes and combine all of the special abilities to make some pretty cool combos and whatnot.  "
Yeah I have to agree with you, when Brad was saying how the game is pretty much a shooter now and he only played as Soldier I rolled my eyes and sighed "oh Brad".  An adept on insanity is amazing fun.  I still have to agree with Dave though, the CRPG genre is dead as people are trying to push their games more and more into the mainstream, judging from the Dragon Age 2 they have been showing that looks like it's going the hack and slash route too. But we'll wait and see. "
I've never played soldier but I don't think the other classes play as differently as you think.
Posted by GunslingerPanda
@snide: Thank you. I am sick of the constant collective sucking of ME2's penis that emanates from this forum and, sorry to say, your colleagues. ME2 is not a good game. It is just another TPS with great marketing now, which is a real shame as I enjoyed ME1. ME2 was a fucking chore to get through with it's garbage combat and transparent plot.
 
Kind of wondering if I should check out DA on the PC now. The one I had at the time wouldn't run it so I got it on the 360.
Posted by Doctorchimp
@Laketown: Between Adept biotic combos and warp detonations and the infiltrator stuff...the class difference was pretty stark to me... 
 
But if you played it all the same, more power to you.
Posted by GunslingerPanda
@RiotBananas said:
" So why is it when a member of staff posts his (sort of negative) opinion about a game on the forums everyone jumps to kiss his ass and agree, but when others have shared similar views to Dave, many have just insulted them? Urgh.  Totally agree with you though Dave. "
As someone who has been on the receiving end of these insults, yeah it is lame, but that's the GB forums for you.
Posted by snide

For those mentioning The WItcher 2. I'm highly looking forward to it and think the first was generally a good game. I wouldn't classify it as a AAA game though simply because it's made by a Polish developer that likely won't have comparable marketing, polish or audience to Dragon Age.  That may be splitting hairs, but basically I'm saying that I think only Eastern European shops have an overhead low enough to make games that are for the most part, limited in their appeal. 
 
I'm really waiting for someone to create essentially a GURPs engine for people to create old style CRPGs at lower costs for the indie market.

Posted by Sacerdos87
@GunslingerPanda:  You should definitely check it out, I played the hell out of it, sure it has cliches with each party member but the combat is pretty awesome. I had some frustrating moments with it at first but now there is so much information out there to play the game it's not really an excuse to bitch about how hard it is. Hope you enjoy it if you get it.
Edited by phrosnite

Yeah, I would like to see more RPGs with deep combat systems like Baldur's Gate 2 but even the D&D system had many flaws. I think DA combat system is a step in the right direction because it's not restricting you in ways that the D&D system does.
But let's face it. Games need to sell tons of copies to keep the studios alive. Super simplistic, and imo revolting, games like Assassin's Creed wouldn't sell 9 million copies each if they were complex. I always find it funny that even though the average gamer is 25 years old the games must appeal to the 10-16 years olds to sell boat load of copies.
 
Also I agree that people who say Soldier is the only class worth playing in game like ME1,ME2, Borderlands, etc. are SO F-ing WRONG! You hear that BRAD!!!

Posted by Driadon
@snide: Well there is GemRB... 
Though I can't speak at lengths on how developer friendly it is, and how likely an Indie developer is going to jump on it and make something out of it.
Posted by Skald

I like both kind of western RPGs, the KOTORs and the Icewind Dales of our times. It's a shame they can't seem to coexist.

Posted by Sacerdos87

This is a commendable blog and is something I can relate to. I have Neverwinter Nights 2 and that game was awesome. Dragon Age was amazing cause of the stuff you got to do with the characters in that game. Mass effect 1 was my favorite thus far out of the ME trilogy, ME 2 is meh. I haven't tried much else but I do enjoy challenges and when they take those out of games in favor of point A to point B approaches, I start to lose faith. So glad someone finally is willing to say "HEY give us some goddamn combat challenges!"

Posted by Deathpooky

 Agree on the sad demise of CRPGs, though disagree on the dislike for Mass Effect.  If you're trying to go through Mass Effect to get an old-school RPG or CRPG experience you're going to be disappointed, but Mass Effect shows what can happen when you have a tightly-focused and well-paced game with RPG-ish components can do.  It reminded more of Uncharted 2 than anything in showing where that style of game can go in the future when you design it very well.  Just a great, polished experience.
 
But for the most part, its not an RPG in the traditional sense.  The skill development and equipment are perfunctory, and the combat is action focused and doesn't require much strategy.  It's speech heavy, has a well-constructed universe, has some great characters, and has you make choices that matter, but those alone don't make an RPG.  In fact, you can find most of those components in other genres of games these days.  So I'd say Mass Effect is a great game to play through, but not great if you're looking for a deep, strategic, old-school RPG. 
 
The good news is that I don't think you necessarily have to have a AAA budget to make a great CRPG, and I think for the most part it'll get in the way of the development of the CRPG either by putting too much emphasis on making it mainstream or spending too much time on the expensive parts (graphics, voice, locations, etc.) instead of the interesting parts.  Final Fantasy XIII shows how much devotion to production value (along with some terrible design decisions) can get in the way of an otherwise interesting combat system, which was the only saving grace of that game.  I think eventually you'll find a Telltale Games type developer which will specialize in making deep CRPGs and bring them back.  I'd completely go for a short, episodic CRPG with persistent characters / skill development.

Online