[360, PS3] Mass Effect 2 *(Spoiler Warning)

Discussion in 'Console Gaming' started by rusty, Feb 20, 2009.

  1. Silent_Buddha

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    Finally forced myself to finish the game...

    Easily my most disappointing game of the year. I can't think of a single game coming out with the potential to screw things up as badly as this one.

    http://forum.beyond3d.com/showpost.php?p=1392641&postcount=163

    So I don't have to repost.

    Short version.

    More combat - a LOT less of EVERYTHING else = good ratings from reviewers.

    What a piss poor job of a sequel. /sigh. But I guess this was the cheap way to develope a game.

    Regards,
    SB
     
  2. Scott_Arm

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    Is the NPC interaction and conversation really "dumbed down"? It seems to be pretty much exactly the same as what I remember from the first one, but with the added interrupts, which are pretty cool. I also think there are more paragon and renegade dialog options than in the first one, but I could be wrong.

    I would agree the game does not have the same "epic" feel as the first one. This game feels more like the setup to the finale, rather than a complete story on its own. It's also lacking a villain, like Saren, to kind of drive you through the game. I'm not sure if the story is more "dumbed down" than the first one though.
     
  3. nightshade

    nightshade Wookies love cookies!
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    Imo yes...as there isn't really any soul to the characters here.
    Its as if the characters are there & they play a Tape recorder which goes on with its recorded conversations.

    What I am saying is, the character here in ME2 lack a bit of depth ie. it doesn't matter if you dont bond with your squad mate all you have to do is just do their simple quest which pop up by itself regardless of you paying attention to your squad mates [while you had to really push for getting your squadmate's personal mission] & once you do that they are immediately loyal to you...if you indulge in a fight & don't side with them you loose their trust instantly ! Very Robotic.

    Another thing which I never really understood was why did I needed to do loyalty quests for characters such as Tali & Garrus, cause they both were my loyal crew members from ME1, infact Garrus is supposed to be the closest character to Shepard, yet I have to "earn" his loyalty in ME2 !
     
  4. Scott_Arm

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    Well, there are quite a few conversations for each of your crew members, outside of the loyalty missions. They provide a considerable amount of background for each character. The "loyalty" missions are easy to gain and complete. I'm not sure that really dumbs down anything. The real point of each of the loyalty missions is to get you more familiar with the characters, so you don't skip over them entirely, and to present you with some moral dilemmas to help shape your Shepard. I'm sure those decisions will come back to you in the third game. From memory, I felt like there were more meaningful decisions to be made in Mass Effect 2 than there were in Mass Effect 1. As for the quality and structure of the conversations, I can't see how they're any worse than in the first game. I like the way I can change the tone of a conversation by responding the way I feel about it. It's better than what you get in a game like Oblivion or Fallout. There's still quite a ways to go in the way conversations are played out in games. I would actually like to see most of the "Investigate" type conversation removed and have it streamlined, only having my character interrupt when there is an opportunity for meaningful response. I think it was Warren Specter who said having more dialog in a game is not better. What you need is meaningful words, not more words. This is one aspect where games considerably lag behind film and literature.
     
  5. obonicus

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    I'm not sure ME was any better, but the character interaction in ME2 is extremely binary. If you talk to them enough they'll give you a loyalty mission. If you do it, they're loyal. Dragon Age was sort of the polar opposite, in that you have to shower your teammates with gifts so they stop hating you.

    I've never been crazy about ME's conversation system, though. I do prefer choosing between lines and trying to figure out what'll be more 'renegade' or 'paragon' based on the character I'm interacting with and the line itself. Here it's more 'point up to paragon' and 'point down to be renegade', without much consequence to your choices -- if you're picking the choices on the right-hand side you'll move the conversation along, if you choose one of the colored choices on the left-hand-side you'll solve your problem somehow (at least in ME1 you had to invest in conversation skills).

    Oblivion/Fallout isn't really the gold standard here either, conversation trees has never been something Bethesda is good at (their skill is in creating giant sandbox worlds that will probably be janky as hell but fun to explore). To see good conversation trees I think we probably have to look at Obsidian stuff at the earliest, or maybe Troika.
     
  6. Scott_Arm

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    I think the conversation system in Mass Effect is an incredibly good step up from what other games offer. What people forget while they're playing, is that most of the fun is choosing the tone of the response, rather than the response itself. Everyone gets concerned with "This time I'm playing as a paragon," so they choose the top right option every single time. I pretty much choose the response I want every time, and I think it's fantastic. And the way they changed the special paragon (blue) and renegade (red) options to work in Mass Effect 2 is much better. They are based entirely around the way you play your character (role playing) rather than on something arbitrary like how many points you have in a particular skill. You need to perform enough paragon actions to get paragon options as you play. But they didn't cripple it so much that you can't play around with both. I've been able to do quite a few renegade choices, even though my paragon bar is significantly higher.

    The thing I absolutely hate about dialog in other games, and to a lesser extent Mass Effect, is the investigative questions. You're guaranteed to click on all of them, so why not just streamline the conversation. Half the time they do it as a cheap way to provide information about the story, which is stuff that should be told through the story iteslf. An exaggerated example would be something like having your character ask, "What is an elf?" in a fantasy RPG. Oblivion and Fallout are absolutely loaded with those types of questions and the dialog drags on forever. Mass Effect suffers from the same problem, but there is usually only three questions before you can drive to the next stage in the conversation by choosing the tone of your response. I'd like to see significant improvement in the branching of the conversations in Mass Effect 3, but the design is already much better than other games.

    The goal should be to have more of the questions and answers lead to branching, and a change in tone, rather than having unemotional responses to canned questions. I guess I'd like to see conversations be less of a utility for gathering information and become more of the interactive part of the game. Mass Effect was a step in the right direction, and Mass Effect 2 has some small improvements.

    And as for the "binary" nature of the conversations, I can't really agree. There may only be two conclusions for each scenario, but there may be many more options as a means to get there, and that is part of the fun.
     
  7. obonicus

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    No you don't. You do exactly the opposite. You choose the tone and the game makes the choice of the response to you. The main advantage, beyond the simplification is that sometimes in regular conversation tree games a given line is interpreted in ways you didn't expect. You'll never be 'mean' by accident, even if you don't know what your character will say.


    What's not arbitrary about 'you must have been this much of a jerk to be a jerk again'? There's nothing more 'RPG'-ey about not having skills defining your character's social skills. In fact, the games that defined them had some of the most interesting conversation trees, well, ever. (Again, Oblivion/Fallout had terrible conversation trees, striving just to be better than them is aiming pretty low.)

    Except ME2 has less interaction via conversations than ME1. As said, you really just have to go through the motions to get the loyalty missions that change your interaction with NPC.

    It means there's very little actual meaning to your choices. You quoted Warren Spector, a favorite example of his is Shining Force 1, where the king gives you a 'choice' as to whether you want to do the first mission and won't let you proceed until you choose 'yes'. Choices that don't have much meaningful impact aren't really choices.
     
  8. Scott_Arm

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    I think I wasn't clear enough in what I wrote. I meant that I do not decide to play through the game making all of my decisions leaning one way. As I play I make the decision that I feel is appropriate at the time, and it is fun. Yes, I only choose the tone of my response, and not the actual words.

    Well, it's not really arbitrary to reward people for their tendencies. I'm not really sure which games have better conversation trees. I definitely haven't played them. Dragon Age is about the same, which is not surprising. It's been so long since I played older games like Fallout 1/2, Baldur's Gate, Planescape, KOTOR, Deus Ex and Neverwinter Nights to really compare, but I have a feeling if I went back and played them I'd find the conversations to be considerably lacking.

    To be honest, I don't believe that's true. I think there's just as much conversing with your squad as there had been in the original.

    Not really. Whether the end result is the same, or there are few actual ends to a situation, the way you get there is important in itself. Being a jerk to someone is significantly different than being nice to them, even if the person would give you what you want either way. On the whole, I think there are at least as many meaningful choices to be made in this game as there were in the first.
     
  9. T.B.

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    I think the "loyalty mission" moniker is just bad here.
    It's made pretty clear that Garrus simply hasn't dealt with the death of his team, which is what he needs to take care of before he can truely focus on The Mission. Same with Tali. She's being charged with treason, after all.
    It works this way for a lot of them. You need to get them to focus, and maybe to trust you, but it's never a question of them not following you.

    Personally, I actually prefered the "do something for them" instead of "just talk to them" way of doing character influence. But I can see why some people really don't like it. The mission based mechanic can be gamed easier, as in "I'm a prick all day, but I helped you once so you love me?".

    Disclaimer: Had they released it a month earlier, it would have been my game of the decade. A bit like Planescape: Torment. Had they released it a month later, it would have been game of decade as well. ;)
     
  10. obonicus

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    But you can do that in any case, choose the option that you want. There are restrictions, but remember that you can't resolve things with the red renegade option if you don't have enough points, that choice will be kept from you. You'll be forced to take the paragon route.

    It's not arbitrary to reward people for spending points in social abilities/intelligence, either.

    Planescape, Fallout 1/2, Vampire: Bloodlines. The Witcher's conversation wasn't always terrific, but the way the trees were constructed was great (you can get dramatic differences in how a plotline plays out based on what sort of conversation choices you make). I bought Arcanum off GoG and will get through it soon, but I hear that that has Fallout's terrific 'stupid' conversation options. Planescape, since it's almost a text adventure has terrific conversations. I can't remember BG2's conversations either, since I lost my copy of the game ages ago (but just bought the 4 in 1 boxset, so I should be going through it again soon).

    There's probably even more, going by the few text adventures I've played, but I'm certainly not an expert there.

    There is. But what you say isn't very important. I was constantly telling Mordin that he was wrong wrong wrong and I got his loyalty mission anyway.


    ME1 wasn't a paragon for player choice, though. In fact, I was hoping that it would be something better addressed in ME2.

    Don't get me wrong, ME2 does some really fun things -- in particular, the continuity from one game to another is pretty neat, even if a whole bunch of plotlines are brought back as text messages.
     
  11. Scott_Arm

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    The end of that game is awesome. Any complaints I have are pretty minor.

    Oh, one funny bug in the game. I'm pretty sure the ladies room has urinals.
     
    #531 Scott_Arm, Feb 11, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 11, 2010
  12. xexuxjy

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  13. Silent_Buddha

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    Replying to you and Scott_Arm at the same time.

    ME1 was sort of a middle ground between the DAO system (makes sense as an evolution/improvement of ME1 system) and ME2 (the dumbed down ME1 system).

    With ME1 your "approval" or "acceptance" rating with teammates could go up or down depending on whether your conversation choices fit in with that particular person's personality. It wasn't as extensive as DAO, but did at least require you to think somewhat about what makes that person a person. What makes that person tick. In essense it made each of the characters in ME1 feel more like a real person.

    Contrast this with ME2 where it really doesn't matter diddly squat what you say. Yes, you can then talk to them after their their loyalty mission to find out their backstory, but at this point all the NPCs are basically cardboard cutouts with a paper backstory glued to it. You can't even say the wrong thing or anything inappropriate to make them NOT reveal their backstory. Be understanding, be a jerk, be schizophrenic, it doesn't freaking matter.

    Romance also follows this. ME1 you had to actually work somewhat at getting them to "fall" for you and the choices weren't always the most obvious one, once again making you think of them as a person and try to figure out what makes them tick. In ME2? Yah, do whatever, say whatever, as long as you don't turn them down they'll fall in love with you. /yawn...

    Conversations in the rest of the world follow the same. There's no illusions that what you say actually have any meaningful impact on anything. There's no convincing the council, much less other alien races, that Humans are deserving. There's no convincing anyone (like your own race) that you aren't cuckoo and there really is a big imminent threat to the universe. There's no big choices like whether you want to save a race or make it extinct (rachni). And that's just a few examples of some of the things that gave the illusion that you were having an impact on the universe.

    As I said in the PC version of this thread...

    In ME1, it's like combat was just there to give consequence and perspective on the story and your actions in the story. It was another backdrop (in addition to all the character developement and relationships) to flesh out your character. And important story elements were interwoven with the combat.

    In ME2, it's Combat. And then everything else as fluff and filler with virtually no meaning, no involvement, no illusion of developement of your character...

    If this had NOT been labeled a Mass Effect game, I probably would have liked it for what it was. But by being Mass Effect 2 (a sequel to a promising first episode) there are already expectations built up. There's something you can't help but directly compare it to.

    And in almost all ways ME2 is a far worse "game" than ME1. Except possibly for combat. But even in that aspect I find combat worse as there is no significance for it. There's no value given to it as there was in ME1.

    Regards,
    SB
     
  14. tha_con

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    Well, I enjoy it, I think it's fun. *shrug*
     
  15. Scott_Arm

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    I guess I just have to agree to disagree about the conversation system. It doesn't feel any less "deep" than the first one did. I understand what's being said, about approval ratings, but I don't remember ever making tough decisions or any effort at all in the first game to have my crew like me, but they all did. If they did something I didn't like, I gave them shit. If they did something I liked, or if I wanted to help, I was nice. In this game I was pretty much able to do the same thing. You get their loyalty mission no matter what, but I don't really see why that matters. I have a lot of fun choosing how I'm going to interact with people.

    There was a boatload of meaningless combat in the first game, with a ton of pretty mundane side-quests just to make the game longer and allow you to level up. As for the importance of decisions made, the second game is more of a personal story, so your decisions usually change the narrative of one person. Whether that's good or bad, will depend on the person playing. I enjoyed the "loyalty" missions, so I had fun deciding how I'd end them.
     
  16. Billy Idol

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    Today, finally, it is time to start ME2 for me!!
    I hope that ME1 character import works for me...
    Looking forward to the game, can't wait till afternoon,
     
  17. DuckThor Evil

    DuckThor Evil Anas platyrhynchos
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    I think the game imported the fan named Conrad oddly in my game. I was paragon with him in ME1, but he said in the sequel, that I had put gun to his face... other than that it has been nice to bumb into some of the events and their continuation from the first game, I think that part was handled well.

    I've put around 15-20h into the game. Shepard is level 15 I think. Overall I like it a lot, some of the streamlining is not so great, and the tight focus on gathering the team, instead of advancing the main plot with
    Reapers
    would be more annoying if the first game didn't exist, now I feel like this is a logical continuation of the first game. I'm playing with soldier class and I'm not particularly fond of the fact that I constantly have to change the bullet type on the fly. Basically the mechanic wouldn't be that different to the first game, if there weren't also the ammo clips. I'd rather have the old system, but it's not a big issue.

    Mining takes a bit of time, it got better after the upgrade, but still takes times. Luckily compared to the first game getting minerals is actually worth something. Imo the economic side in the game is much better now and credits are actually worth something, for more than few first hours of the game.

    Shepards actions seem much more renegade orientated, often even the paragon option is quite ill-tempered :smile: not to mention that basically the whole team and Cerberus are also a bit nasty. I'm quessing I'll get atleast two satisfactory playthroughs out of this.
     
  18. Kyyla

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    Well I don't see the difference either. I hated the lack of any meaningful consequences in ME1 and felt like a got to make more of a difference in ME2.
     
  19. Scott_Arm

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    My only real complaint would have been to have a few more main plot missions interspersed between the team missions.
     
  20. Billy Idol

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    5 hours in (I could switch my ME1 character to soldier: wanted to use the heavy weapons this time- great feature!).
    But, what a phantastic game it is...no complains up to now (I even like the little hacking game stuff and scanning the surfaces and all this cool things, need a break but then I am in-game again).

    I visited the Afterlive Club in Omega: I know I am a freak, but the animations of the go go girls are one of the realistic real time stuff I have ever seen. Had to watch a couple of minutes the different girls (obviously: only for scientific reasons!!).
     
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