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Old 2012-02-01, 18:02   Link #1441
Darkbeat
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DonQuigleone View Post
I actually think the writing and characters in 2 were way superior to 1. If you take the squadmates, most of them were fairly generic (excepting perhaps wrex and Tali). I didn't really care whether Ashley or Kaidan died.
I somewhat agree. Mordin is easily the best playable character in Mass Effect and he's very good in battle too. I like Legion. Zaeed is the perfect badass. Grunt is...well...not bad, but a bit too generic. He has a hard time following up on Wrex though. To be expected.

That said, ME2 is let down by a string of not so great squad characters too. Jacob is consistently maligned, no need for me to go over that again. Then you've got Miranda who really doesn't have a personality or history outside of being genetically enhanced. Grunt, see above. Thane really doesn't make as much of an impact as he should. Same goes with Kasumi. I liked Samara but she too was one dimensional.

As you say, Tali and Garrus were improved quite a bit, but Liara was a let down (especially for her fans from ME1). Her change from young and inexperienced scientist in ME1 to angry yet inexplicably powerful Illium information broker in ME2 was bizarre, especially when you take into consideration her "Asari age".

In ME1, Ashley and Kaidan (hereafter known as the VS) are actually fully fleshed out with considerable history and in-depth personality. Either which way, ME1 had more "bang for your buck" in squad mates, there really wasn't a bad one there.

As for the writing...well...as I said, ME1 had consistently better dialogue for Shep along with the aforementioned character histories. Though ME2 has interrupts and as it focuses primarily on characters, it has more development. I'd say it comes out about even.


Quote:
The overarching plot in ME2 wasn't quite as good as 1, but the setup for Mass Effect 2, going around recruiting your squad mates and completing Loyalty missions, gave much more breadth for interesting plotlines and nice non-linear experience. Compare that to ME1, the main "Missions" were fairly well assembled (Feros and Noveria in particular), though the driving sections were poor. Everything else wasn't particularly great, and the exploration and side missions left a lot to be desired.
As I said, ME2 is primarily team based. It's about building a team and maintaining relationships within that team.

It's rare to see someone who doesn't like the exploration in ME1, but we'll have to agree to disagree on that. For me (and many others) it still provides an almost epic experience of role playing as a commander exploring uncharted worlds, some of which were unmatched in design even today.


Quote:
Mass Effect 2 on the other hand, had really great, self contained, episodes, Jacob, Tali and Mordin's loyalty missions particularly stood out for me. Also had some really good DLC, while Kasumi Goto and Zaeed were soso, Project Overlord was really creepy and atmospheric, and Lair of the Shadow Broker was just plain well done.
I liked the ME2 DLC quite a bit. The one with Dr Amanda Kenson was poor though.

The Bringing Down the Sky DLC on ME1 was top drawer stuff too.


Quote:
The collectors weren't great as a villain, I'll admit, but luckily they were only encountered on limited occasions, and at least they didn't wear out their welcome the way the Geth did in ME1 (who were basically 70% of the enemies you fought in ME1).
Again, this is where there's a difference of focus.

ME2 had more variety of enemies and missions because it was focused on gameplay. More enemy types were a requirement of the system itself with ammo types and shields/barriers added.

ME1 was all about story and exploration. Seeing a lot of Geth makes sense in that regard. The Geth themselves were only really a means to an end though, that end being Saren and of course Sovereign. Sadly ME2 didn't really have a similar focus. Without the character stories and developments, it would be pretty empty.

I'm hoping ME3 blends the two.
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Old 2012-02-01, 18:13   Link #1442
com_gwp
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Darkbeat View Post
It's rare to see someone who doesn't like the exploration in ME1, but we'll have to agree to disagree on that. For me (and many others) it still provides an almost epic experience of role playing as a commander exploring uncharted worlds, some of which were unmatched in design even today.
This depends on what you were talking about. Exploration on the main story planets was indeed well done, and the design of each was a highlight of the game, but if we're talking about the other 50-100 odd planets that were forgettable masses of rocks and hills, it got boring far too fast. Not to mention the interiors area hardly differed much in design.

Plus, IMO the driving mechanics were horrible.
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Old 2012-02-01, 18:19   Link #1443
Darkbeat
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Originally Posted by com_gwp View Post
This depends on what you were talking about. Exploration on the main story planets was indeed well done, and the design of each was a highlight of the game, but if we're talking about the other 50-100 odd planets that were forgettable masses of rocks and hills, it got boring far too fast. Not to mention the interiors area hardly differed much in design.

Plus, IMO the driving mechanics were horrible.
The main planets are exactly what I'm talking about. The other planets are quite well designed, for the most part, but as you say can get tiresome. I didn't much like the Mako for it's poor control system either.

Some of the other planets were enjoyable to explore though, Maji and Antibaar spring to mind.
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Old 2012-02-01, 19:06   Link #1444
DonQuigleone
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Quote:
Originally Posted by com_gwp View Post
This depends on what you were talking about. Exploration on the main story planets was indeed well done, and the design of each was a highlight of the game, but if we're talking about the other 50-100 odd planets that were forgettable masses of rocks and hills, it got boring far too fast. Not to mention the interiors area hardly differed much in design.

Plus, IMO the driving mechanics were horrible.
This is what I mean. If the game had been limited to the main 4 story planets and plot relevant areas(li9ke the citadel) it wouldn't have been a significantly worse game.

In ME2, on the other hand, I enjoyed exploring a lot more, there weren't any copy and paste interiors (that I remember...), and you had to visit a lot of different planets in the course of doing the team missions. Because they were part of a mission, those planets were much better fleshed out, even if few of the planets were as "big" as Noveria or Feros etc.

That said, there were some big hubs in ME2. ME1 only really had the Citadel, while ME2 had the Citadel, Tuchanka, Ilium and Omega, which were all lively and interesting. Noveria and Feros were certainly interesting planets, but they didn't hold that much of interest that wasn't directly related to the missions they were associated with, so in ME1 there really was just one "main town", the Citadel, albeit a big one. ME2 had 4 "main towns", each being a little bit smaller, but with significantly more variety between them.

ME2 was just plain better designed. A much smoother experience, with very little that dragged the experience down. ME1 was much more spotty.

I think ME2 had more badass dialogue, here's ME1, here's ME2.
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Old 2012-02-01, 22:00   Link #1445
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Originally Posted by DonQuigleone View Post

That said, there were some big hubs in ME2. ME1 only really had the Citadel, while ME2 had the Citadel, Tuchanka, Ilium and Omega, which were all lively and interesting. Noveria and Feros were certainly interesting planets, but they didn't hold that much of interest that wasn't directly related to the missions they were associated with, so in ME1 there really was just one "main town", the Citadel, albeit a big one. ME2 had 4 "main towns", each being a little bit smaller, but with significantly more variety between them.
I kinda disagree with this, only because I felt that none of the "hub" planets in ME2 ever felt quite as big as any single core planet in ME1. Most of the story planets had its own "hub" areas that are comparably large compared to what you got in a hub planet from ME2.

Level design is a whole other ball game tho, one which ME2 quite literally smashes out of the ballpark.

Last edited by com_gwp; 2012-02-01 at 22:34.
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Old 2012-02-01, 22:30   Link #1446
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I really wanted to look forward to ME3, but between my bad experience with ME2 and how much I disliked the direction of the leaked gameplay I am worried ME is going out with a whimper. The devs stating they want to make the story easier for first time players does not inspire much confidence in my opinion.

To give some context for my negativity, I thoroughly enjoyed Mass Effect 1 and played it repeatedly. I was incredibly psyched about ME2 and in truth it was a good game, but after playing it once I just could not bring myself to play it again. Personally, I felt there was something off about ME2 that I could not exactly put my finger on. Perhaps a part of it was that plot and the choices did not seem very compelling to me in the end. Legions of faceless enemies did not quite get my blood boiling compared to Saren. Assembling the team and some of the personal stories were nice, but at the same time it did not enthrall me.

My biggest issue was that for most of ME2 I found myself just hiding behind a wall waiting for cooldowns even on insane mode. If not for wanting to see the story I think I probably would have stopped. Again, I was shocked that I did not like ME2. The leaked gameplay for ME3 looked very much the same to me, but perhaps I was not looking hard enough for the changes since I convinced myself that I would not like it.

I also want to say that the writing changed between ME1 and ME2, but I do not know how to articulate such a point as of yet. Perhaps ME1 felt like an introduction to a new universe where as ME2 felt like I was watching an action movie at times with so much emphasis on the action and not the dialogue or setting.
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Old 2012-02-02, 03:03   Link #1447
Darkbeat
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@Don, we are probably going to have to agree to disagree on that. I find that even in comparison of the "Commander Shepard is such a Jerk" videos, ME1 has the better dialogue and ME2 has the better actions. It's also interesting to play through ME1 and ME2 (I replayed them both last week) after watching those videos to see that there are considerably more badass lines besides in ME1 (not featured in the video), but very few in ME2. Your mileage may vary though XD

Anyway, marginally interesting news for anyone playing the Xbox 360 version; Download the demo and get a free Gold Pass to allow you to try the multiplayer. If you are on the fence about the demo itself, it's been revealed that just like the Kingdoms of Amalur demo, there will be in-game rewards for downloading/playing it. Possibly weapons/armor, you know the drill. The demo should be out on the 14th.
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Old 2012-02-02, 04:33   Link #1448
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My main complaint about ME2 is that the plot... doesn't have much relevance to the overarching plot. The majority of the game feels like filler. Sheperd gets set out of the larger galactic affairs and solves a problem which, storywise, feels like it could mostly be cut out of the game and end up with you not missing much in ME3 if you skip it.
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Old 2012-02-02, 04:44   Link #1449
Darkbeat
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That was kinda my point, there isn't really much there if not for the personal stories etc. If ME1 set up ME3 with story, then ME2 set up ME3 with character development. Indeed, the plot in ME2 could easily have been retooled into the plot of one of the books or comics, as it's really not that important at all. I'd say they were both important for the trilogy as a whole though, just ME1 moreso.
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Old 2012-02-02, 07:21   Link #1450
DonQuigleone
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Let's be honest here, the plot of Mass Effect as a whole is nothing particularly innovative, the whole "Alien cycle of invasions" has been done before. In particular by Freespace 1 and 2 (and arguably better there).

So if ME can't really ride on the coat-tails of how unique it's plot is (simply because it isn't), so it has to elevate itself with execution, most importantly character development. In ME1, they did a great job of creating a universe filled with interesting tech and aliens, but it was only in ME2 that they managed to get me to care about it by populating that universe with interesting characters.

How many characters were memorable in ME1? There was Saren, some of the squadmates, Anderson, Joker, the Thorian and... I can't really think of any more, might I add, the Feros sequence(minus the driving sections) is probably the best part of the whole series, even if I think ME2 as a whole is better.

ME2 had a much stronger ensemble cast, not just among the core squad, but in the various places you visited. The world feels richer and more populated.

It's also worth noticing that the animations are much better in ME2, in ME1, during dialogue the characters would just stand still and mouth off. In ME2 they actually move their bodies around, and shift their weight. Definitely improves immersion. When you look back at ME1 clips the characters look more like stiff dolls.
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Old 2012-02-02, 07:48   Link #1451
Darkbeat
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It's been done, but it was still an actual plot. There were some unique ideas and twists here and there. ME2 not only messed up/retconned aspects of ME1s plot, it filled the void with almost nothing. For example, here's a picture I took (on my phone, excuse the bad quality) at the end of ME1 with Anderson giving almost verbatim the same speech Shep gives at the end of ME2;


click for enlarge

You had just defeated Saren and sealed off the Mass Relay on the Citadel to stop the Reapers from getting out of Dark Space. On top of that, you potentially could have just sacrificed thousands of human lives to save the council and (even if you didn't) there's big changes/upgrades for humanity and Shepard. It just felt epic.

At the end of ME2 it's like literally nothing has changed at all. You still give the same speech about being ready for the Reapers when they come. The whole collectors thing was such a small issue that some of the plot-lines in the books are more significant.

You're right about character development, which is ME2s strength, but there's no harm in denying ME1s strength lay in storyline. Even if it wasn't especially innovative, it was a good example of the trope. So you can see how they both were building up to ME3 in their own way.

Obviously character animations are much more realistic in ME2, not just the movements but squad involvement. You chat to your team-mates considerably more, which I find really impressive. That's the difference 3 years makes in gaming.

Last edited by Darkbeat; 2012-02-02 at 08:04.
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Old 2012-02-02, 11:12   Link #1452
Nixl
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DonQuigleone View Post
Let's be honest here, the plot of Mass Effect as a whole is nothing particularly innovative, the whole "Alien cycle of invasions" has been done before. In particular by Freespace 1 and 2 (and arguably better there).

So if ME can't really ride on the coat-tails of how unique it's plot is (simply because it isn't), so it has to elevate itself with execution, most importantly character development. In ME1, they did a great job of creating a universe filled with interesting tech and aliens, but it was only in ME2 that they managed to get me to care about it by populating that universe with interesting characters.

How many characters were memorable in ME1? There was Saren, some of the squadmates, Anderson, Joker, the Thorian and... I can't really think of any more, might I add, the Feros sequence(minus the driving sections) is probably the best part of the whole series, even if I think ME2 as a whole is better.

ME2 had a much stronger ensemble cast, not just among the core squad, but in the various places you visited. The world feels richer and more populated.

It's also worth noticing that the animations are much better in ME2, in ME1, during dialogue the characters would just stand still and mouth off. In ME2 they actually move their bodies around, and shift their weight. Definitely improves immersion. When you look back at ME1 clips the characters look more like stiff dolls.
I would argue that ME1 strength compared to ME2 was not whether it had a unique plot, but rather stronger dialogue and more emphasis on setting. ME2 felt more like an action movie at times, especially with the lines. You are right about the animations, but it appeared wasted on lines and choices that did not matter.

Also, I would disagree on the cast. Let us not forget the antagonists. ME1 had Saren and Sovereign where as in ME2 we had faceless Collectors, a reaper that never showed up, and a terminator. In truth, I would argue part of what made ME1 strong was the antagonists. Furthermore, personally aside from Mordin and Legion I did not find Thane, Jacob, Miranda, or the tattoo girl all that memorable. I guess, I simply did not find the cast stronger. I know it is subjective, but I just do not think of ME2 as a stronger game than ME1.
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Old 2012-02-02, 11:38   Link #1453
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I don't think Saren was that memorable a villain (though Sovereign was certainly grandiose). I'll admit the collectors aren't great as a main villain, but ME 2 did have a lot of good lesser villains, Jacob's father being a favourite of mine. But you also had the Shodowbroker and his lackeys, the prisonship, Blood Pack and Maelon, and of course the Ambiguous Illusive Man.

In fact, I challenge you to find anyone who's more ambigious and intriguing then the Illusive Man in ME1.

I actually found the appeal of ME2 to be somewhat similiar to the appeal of Baldur's Gate 2. In BG2, the appeal wasn't about completing the main plot, but seeing all the various side plots. Though I must say the main plot in BG2 (underdark!) was considerably more compelling then ME2's was. Still, a similiar style.

ME1's style was more similiar to what you had in Kotor, which is basically a beginning, 4 things you can do in any order in the middle, to get plot coupons, and an end. It was also fairly similiar in Dragon Age.

I preffered the missions in ME2 because I was getting squadmates, and doing stuff with personal relevance to them, rather then trying to get random Macguffins in ME1, which don't usually feel compelling.
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Old 2012-02-02, 11:51   Link #1454
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To clarify, I am not trying to say ME2 was "teh sux," but something just felt off to me.

I liked the Illusive Man, that was one of the few parts that I liked. Outside of IL, Mordin, and Legion, I just did not care. In ME1 there seemed so much to learn and explore and I did not feel that in ME2. As far as ambiguous characters, perhaps Kreia from Kotor 2, the Transcendent One from Planescape Torment, and maybe even Revan before TOR.

With Saren it is not so much that he himself was memorable, but rather there was a dedicated villain with a face. To me having a dedicated villain like Saren made the plot more immediate, because you knew he was up to something and finally besting him was satisfying to some degree.

In ME2 I feel like Bioware was trying to make Shepard this badass who took on whole armies, hence the Blue Suns, the Blood Pack, etc. I just do not think fighting faceless detachments of soldiers is quite as enticing without some dedicated antagonist such as Saren or Sovereign to take down. I feel like the Old Republic has that same problem. You have plenty of enemies, but virtually no dedicated antagonists. I could not imagine liking Kotor 1/2 as much without Malak, Sion, and Nihilus.
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Old 2012-02-02, 12:14   Link #1455
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Not sure if this counts as a spoiler, but I'll tag it anyways. Stick Twiddlers supposedly has the full list of ME3 weapons and upgrades;

Linky

Spoiler for ME3:


There's images at the link too.

If true then I'm very, very happy.
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Old 2012-02-02, 22:48   Link #1456
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Darkbeat View Post
Not sure if this counts as a spoiler, but I'll tag it anyways. Stick Twiddlers supposedly has the full list of ME3 weapons and upgrades;

Linky

Spoiler for ME3:


There's images at the link too.

If true then I'm very, very happy.
This is a cause for celebration!

Spoiler for weapons:
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Old 2012-02-03, 01:02   Link #1457
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So apparently the Deception novel is bad...like really bad...
http://social.bioware.com/forum/1/to...ndex/9070774/1
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Old 2012-02-03, 01:18   Link #1458
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Originally Posted by Alchemist007 View Post
So apparently the Deception novel is bad...like really bad...
http://social.bioware.com/forum/1/to...ndex/9070774/1
The worst thing to me is Gillian apparently getting over her autism.

You can't get over the hardwiring of your brain, that's fucking stupid.
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Old 2012-02-03, 05:27   Link #1459
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PC IGN: The First 90 Minutes Of Mass Effect 2

If you've seen all the previews and trailers before, there isn't really anything spoilerific about the article. One thing did surprise me though:

Quote:
Originally Posted by IGN
Being able to pick up dropped grenades and weapons and actually use them on the spot is a revelation for Mass Effect
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Old 2012-02-03, 06:02   Link #1460
GN0010 Nosferatu
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Originally Posted by LoweGear View Post
PC IGN: The First 90 Minutes Of Mass Effect 2

If you've seen all the previews and trailers before, there isn't really anything spoilerific about the article. One thing did surprise me though:



You didn't know that Gear? It was one of the first bits of into on gameplay we got. I get picking up grenades, but why weapons though? Won't the ones we'll be using by default be stronger with upgrades and such? Wouldn't picking up weapons throughout the level make our character have less of an advantage?
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