Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Random Shots: Denial

  • As the debate rages on, and as I listen to and read arguments about the ending Mass Effect 3, I've come to the conclusion I've fallen into the minority position. If it has taught me anything about a vocal minority, it's that we are vocal only in comparison to a contented majority.

  • One of the first things that Adam Sessler says in this Vox Games podcast was "I didn't realize the ending was not to be liked." That made me think, but from the opposite side. Knowing that so many other were dissatisfied gave me the courage to step forward about my own disappointment. And as we've added voices of dissent, we've encouraged others to join as well. But I see now that even if we're the ones speaking up, there is still a vast majority of people who are just fine with the ending and don't have any special need to share that.

  • (Of course when I saw the ending of Portal 2, I wanted to tell everyone how great that was. But I'm not here to complain that the ending doesn't live up to that mark.)

  • There is no tyranny of the masses going on here. I have to come to terms with that fact that I may very well be wrong about the game. Bioware does not owe me a change. I'm the one who needs to change. And it is a change that has been a long time to come.

  • To date, Bioware has produced exactly three games that I have enjoyed unreservedly: Jade Empire, Mass Effect, and Mass Effect 2. Every other game that they have produced has been flawed to such an extent that I do not like them, although several are considered classics: Baldur's Gate, Dragon Age, Knights of the Old Republic, Neverwinter Nights. As much as I may enjoy some of their stories, I did not enjoy them as games. Even though I've purchase all of them, I'm come to regret doing so in many cases. And I have no one but myself to blame.

  • Going forward, I will no longer buy any games from Bioware. I won't bow to the hype as I've done several times in the past. I should have learned my lesson long ago, but I can't continue to make the same mistake over and over again.

  • Now if you'll excuse me, Skyrim seems to be a lot better than I expected from a Bethesda game. Maybe that second chance will pay off.

© 2012 Marty Runyon. All rights reserved.


  1. Ironic given I was thinking I was in the minority for having liked the ending.

    At any rate, I think you're doing yourself a disservice by deciding to stop buying BioWare games period. Why not just judge games on their merits and not worry about the publisher? I didn't enjoy Dragon Age: Origins, which made me look critically at DA2 (and eventually pass on buying it), but that doesn't mean I won't buy a DA3 if/when it comes out.

    1. @ Blue Kae - I probably should been a little more equanimical in my statement. I definitely won't be buying their games at launch any more. But if the reviews are good and user opinion stays high, I shouldn't rule them out entirely.

  2. Jade Empire. That's funny, it's the only Bioware game I really didn't care for. I'd be really curious to read your thoughts on it (have we had this conversation before?.... I'm getting deja vu)

    I personally don't buy games on hype any more. I have dozens of PS2 era games I have barely touched on my media shelves from when I used to do that. I wait for the games to come out, read some reviews, and do a trial when one becomes available. When it comes to MMOs, I try to get in some beta time with ones that interest me. If I can't, I wait for a free trial. That said, I don't dismiss games from any publisher out of hand. Hell, I'm still keeping an eye on Square-eenix even though I think they've been screwing the pooch pretty consistently since FFXII.

    1. @ Yeebo - I tend to bring up JE every time I talk about my experience with Bioware games. Maybe I should replay it and talk about it here.

      Your buying plan seems a lot healthier than mine. I succumb to hype way too often. Oh well. Every day is a learning experience.

  3. I stopped buying Bioware games when I saw the direction they were headed with Dragon Age 2. I have no interest in playing an "action RPG" with cartoony combat. I prefer complex skill trees, not trees that simplify to "pick either Row A or Row B and max it out."

    As for Jade Empire, I didn't really like the gameplay as much as KOTOR or Mass Effect, but I still think the story is the most imaginative one Bioware has ever written. The plot twist in Jade Empire is just as stunning, if not moreso, than the one from KOTOR.

    And finally, as for Mass Effect 3, I haven't purchased it. Playing the demo convinced me that the new "action combat" style just isn't for me. The animation was terrible, Admiral Anderson kept simply vanishing into thin air, and the new, cuss-filled dialogue was nowhere near as interesting as the dialogue from the first two games.

    Bioware is a perfect example that change is not always for the better. Maybe their games are now more appealing to a larger audience, but they are far less appealing to -me-. And I buy games for me, not for a larger audience....

    1. @ Vatec - Shamus Young did an amazing breakdown of the plot of Jade Empire several years ago. That game's story set the bar very, very high.


      I agree about appealing to a larger audience. The problem with doing so is that they often leave their old audience behind to do so.

    2. Yep. I didn't mind the "dumbing down" of the character development in ME2, because the story (barring the final boss fight) and the characters were even superior to the first. But the demo for Dragon Age 2 told me everything I needed to know about that game. SWTOR lowered the bar even further (though I -am- mildly curious about a couple of the storylines).

      So I no longer buy Bioware games sight unseen. I wait until reviews come out. I wait until the price goes down. Better that than wasting money -and- being disappointed.