Bioware BewareMarch 29, 2011 at 4:52 pm | Posted in rpg | 10 Comments
Tags: Dragon Age, rpg
I like Dragon Age 2, I really do. The story is getting good. The more companions you pull in, the more the game feels alive. And for what it’s worth, I don’t mind not being able to jump. I don’t mind that the explorable areas are so closed off, existing only for the scene that you as the player are meant to witness.
On the other hand, I think I would be a bad blogger if I didn’t at least question these choices. How much better would a Bioware game be if they had the open environments of Oblivion. How much better would it be if we could jump or explore or find tiny additions to the game that not everyone is meant to find?
In Dragon Age 2 you trip over every single little detail. It’s placed in your path so that you can’t avoid it. This isn’t a criticism as much as an observation, but Bioware treats its players more like viewers at times, than interactive subjects.
Don’t get me wrong, this leads to some pretty amazing stories. The characters are detailed, the dialogue so exquisitely written, the voice work superb, every shot of you talking with characters is designed and orchestrated. The cinematic experience of a Bioware game is rarely topped by other studios.
Yet I can’t decide if they’re moving in the right or wrong direction.
Part of me thinks, that although I enjoy their games immensely, they should be moving towards more open worlds, not away from them. They should be including more and more intricate quests, instead of these ridiculously straight-forward “find random object, return to owner” quests I’m encountering in DA2.
Instead with the sales of Mass Effect 2, which simplified and streamlined RPGs to great (it really was a terrific game and my favourite of 2010) success, I see them moving away from RPGs into something else. I get the impression that what they really want is to be in movies. Take this direction much further and we’ll be watching games, not playing them.
I guess what I’m getting at is that Bioware seem intent on limiting themselves, while most people who play games are intent on freeing themselves from their limitations.
Also that Bioware risks painting themselves into a corner by making all their games so similar.
Not to mention that, although it’s probably easier to tell a story around a defined character like Shepard or Hawke, along with it being easier to market Shepard or Hawke than the specific character you created, I’m not sure they’re improving the game itself by making the change to Dragon Age.
If Bioware continues to entertain me, I’ll be happy. That’s the most important thing. Certainly Star Wars: The Old Republic has the potential to fly in the face of everything I’ve just said.
I have to wonder of course. Would Dragon Age 2 be better with a more interesting item system? Would more interesting quests take this game to the next level? What would a Bioware game be like if I could jump, swim, and scale mountains? Maybe it wouldn’t be a Bioware game any more.
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