Some Structural Questions

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#1 Posted by Red (6146 posts) -

I've found myself craving a rather specific kind of RPG. While I do appreciate the nonlinear components of games like Skyrim or Arcanum, I've come to realize that I need a more guided structure in my RPGs. In my mind, BioWare's games have the past decade (KotOR, Jade Empire, Mass Effect, Dragon Age) are pretty much the epitome of RPG structure. They slowly introduce you to gameplay and game world, and then slowly open up, giving you a variety of mission objectives, while still having each of those mission objectives fairly straightforward. Between missions you talk to interesting companions, with each revealing more about their character as the game progresses. Side quests usually have an actual story to them, are rarely hard to find, and tend to be brief. It's difficult to get lost in a BioWare RPG, you constantly feel as though you're making progress, but you still feel like you're an influential component in a living, breathing world. A year ago, I played through KotOR for something like the fourth time, and did absolutely everything in the game without once getting lost.

Hoping to scratch that itch, earlier this year I picked up Baldur's Gate, which I have been playing off and on for a few months. While the game has fantastic writing, and a great combat system (after the initial frustrations and oddities are moved past), it takes the "quantity over quality" approach I find myself unable to get into. There are dozens of companions, but few of them have any impact on the game's story. The game has tons of environments, but I feel little motivation to explore them.

I've heard nothing but good things about Planescape: Torment, and, upon seeing its smaller list of characters and hearing of its personal story, I was wondering if its structure was similar to that of the BioWare games I've obsessed over. If not, what games do?

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#2 Posted by ArbitraryWater (14689 posts) -

Planescape is pretty Bioware-esque in how it's structured, with it dumping you into a small-ish area with plenty of people who need you to solve their problems (which are usually pretty weird. Because it's Planescape) However, being that Planescape is also "Talking to people: The Game", you should probably do what I did when I played it and occasionally use a guide, as a lot of the game's best moments (many of which involve your party members) require pretty specific conditions (i.e. a high wisdom score) to be met. There's also occasionally combat. It's not very good.

So I think it would meet your criteria, as would Baldur's Gate 2 for that matter. While the first BG is Bioware's first RPG and a classic, BG2 more closely resembles the games they would go on to make in both structure and characterization. You don't really have to finish the first game (though that certainly helps) if you don't want to.

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#3 Posted by mordukai (8482 posts) -

@Red: If you can get over the combat the you'll get to enjoy the best story in crpg history.

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#4 Posted by endaround (2267 posts) -

@Red: As mentioned BG2's characters are much more important to the game than BG1. In BG1 outside of Minsc most of the characters don't lead to anything opening up. Bioware basically added characters in a way to balance parties of differing alignments (I'd argue they screwed that up, the lack of an early game good or neutral cleric sucks.) All of BG2 characters have individual quests, part of what makes BG2 so huge (120 hours really isn't an exaggeration).

Planescape's characters are arguably the best in any game ever. You'll forget most BG2 characters. You will not forget Planescape characters

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