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karthink
05-11-2011, 02:43 PM
On the Xbox, anyway.

From the looks of it, it's a beta of what will be the demo scheduled for Jan, featuring the game intro and one other later mission. I haven't looked too closely to avoid story spoilage, but the response seems to be a mix of excitement and customary internet rage at "dumbing down" the conversation bits of "guns & conversation".

The game can now be played in three different modes:

"Action mode": The game rushes through the conversations and cutscenes, making your choices for you so you can keep shooting at things.
"Story mode": The game trivializes/removes the combat bits so you can focus on the chatting
"RPG mode": The usual; Mass Effect as we know it.
http://i.imgur.com/UN8EX.jpg

Plenty of spoilerific screens and videos here (http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showthread.php?t=451016), if you're up for it.

Bioware is fairly nonchalant about the leak (they say it's Microsoft's fault). As for action mode, some may say it gets rid of the one thing still separating Mass Effect from FPS chaff--but hey, I always wanted to play a Shepard who can make her own decisions.

BwenGun
05-11-2011, 02:56 PM
Hmm... I actually quite like the idea of having those kinds of settings. The Story mode in particular is the kind of thing that will be very useful to see all the games various endings with.

thegooseking
05-11-2011, 03:01 PM
Someone (heh, "someone") claiming that the RPG mode won't be a real RPG in 3... 2... 1...

JamesG
05-11-2011, 03:07 PM
Huh. So basically a G, C or G&C option.

From one position it is an odd design decision, as it pretty much constitutes an admission of the modular nature of the game's design. One of the things I praised ME2 for, was for making this modular nature feel 'natural' in contrast to ME1 where it somehow felt more intrusive. Of course, actually isolating the changes that made this shift possible was difficult, yet I'm not the only person to feel that ME2 was a more cohesive game than its predecessor. (Indeed, this observation, by Jim and Alec, was why G&C was coined in response to ME2, not ME1) By effectively allowing the player to switch these elements on and off it will be interesting to see whether the cohesion suffers. On the flip side, unless the game is meticulously balanced, I can't possibly see how the G or C modes can maintian a satisfying pacing and feel of progression.

karthink
05-11-2011, 03:11 PM
Someone (heh, "someone") claiming that the RPG mode won't be a real RPG in 3... 2... 1...

Well, I emphasized "guns & conversation" so Mr. Mage wouldn't think I was (gosh!) associating ME with RPG.

To be fair, the word on the game intro from the beta seems to be that it's even more like a movie, with hardly any conversation options; ME2 was like that as well until you got the Normandy, so we should probably wait and watch.

Wooly Wugga Wugga
05-11-2011, 03:14 PM
I like the fact that they give us the option of choosing how to play it but I'm worried that it may be a bit difficult to balance the game across three different styles. I'm not sure how they are going to be able to pull off being all things for all people.

What I'd like to see is a franchise sticking to one play style. I wasn't entirely happy with what they did to Mass Effect Two, the first was a fun light RPG while the second was a talky shooter. I'd rather they have a series as a light RPG and a spinoff for the shooter games.

Then again I may not even buy Mass Effect Three because I don't like the direction they took the story in the second game.

karthink
05-11-2011, 03:23 PM
I'd rather they have a series as a light RPG and a spinoff for the shooter games.

Then again I may not even buy Mass Effect Three because I don't like the direction they took the story in the second game.

Me too, but they're committed to being everything to everyone. It won't be a disaster, but I dunno how far they can get.

And no one liked the direction they took the main plot in the second game, SPOILER pumping liquefied people into a three eyed robot. What a train wreck.

Wooly Wugga Wugga
05-11-2011, 03:48 PM
Me too, but they're committed to being everything to everyone. It won't be a disaster, but I dunno how far they can get.

And no one liked the direction they took the main plot in the second game, SPOILER pumping liquefied people into a three eyed robot. What a train wreck.

SPOILERS :

Not to mention the way Cerebrus turned from what was essentially an inneffective version of the KKK in the first game to a huge mega-rich secret society capable of building spaceships more potent than anything any of the most advanced civilizations in the universe could come up with? Then forcing you to work for them. Really? Where was the option in the beginning for "No, I choose not to work with you, you filthy fucking space racist."

As for that fucking ending. In the first game it was stated that the Reapers are basically sentient spaceships. Then in the second we find out that the Reapers create themselves in the form of some other species in the galaxisy hence gigantic cybernetic/organic human terminator thing. Does that mean that the last race of aliens the Reapers took over were hyper intelligent spacefaring horse shoe crabs?

http://images.wikia.com/masseffect/images/8/84/Sovereign_Codex_Image.jpg

SirKicksalot
05-11-2011, 04:01 PM
I wish that when heat sinks are full (aka clip is empty) the weapon reverts to the first game's cooling method. That makes more sense than modifying every weapon in the galaxy.
This always annoyed me in ME2 :/

Rii
05-11-2011, 04:10 PM
Beancounters at work.

karthink
05-11-2011, 04:11 PM
I wish that when heat sinks are full (aka clip is empty) the weapon reverts to the first game's cooling method. That makes more sense than modifying every weapon in the galaxy.
This always annoyed me in ME2 :/

Heh. Anything that distinguished ME's shooting from today's RL shooting has been discarded in favor of an "authentic", more "visceral" shooting experience. This means bullets, guns that sound exactly like today's firearms (thanks to DICE), etc.
In the future, everything is the same as today.

icemann
05-11-2011, 04:31 PM
The way the first game did everything (other than the damn inventory) will always be my favorite over the 2nd games method. RPG mode all the way for me.

Wizardry
05-11-2011, 04:37 PM
The game can now be played in three different modes:

"Action mode": The game rushes through the conversations and cutscenes, making your choices for you so you can keep shooting at things.
"Story mode": The game trivializes/removes the combat bits so you can focus on the chatting
"RPG mode": The usual; Mass Effect as we know it.
You've got to be joking...

Wooly Wugga Wugga
05-11-2011, 04:47 PM
Does anyone know whether ME3 will have sections where you drive the Mako? I know everyone hated it but I really had a blast driving it around and exploring with it. I found it provided a bit of variety every now and then.

pakoito
05-11-2011, 04:51 PM
I read it has Origin integration :)

TillEulenspiegel
05-11-2011, 05:25 PM
You've got to be joking...
I'm torn between horror, hilarity, and thinking it's actually a stroke of genius. Why not let players customize the game to be what they want? Lots of games already have a "casual" difficulty which is basically "story mode". You can auto-resolve combat in Total War games, Lords of the Realm, etc.

If you've got a game that already combines various styles of play, it's not too hard to make it modular and cut out certain pieces based on the player's settings.

OK, the horrific part is that "Action Mode" seems to be the default.

Nalano
05-11-2011, 09:18 PM
OK, the horrific part is that "Action Mode" seems to be the default.

Well, to be fair, all three are just presets on the same options page (http://i.imgur.com/IcVoOl.jpg) you can tweak before the game starts.

Which actually means you can have a hilariously derpty run-through with no-guns/no-convo where the game practically plays itself.

Vandelay
05-11-2011, 09:28 PM
options page (http://i.imgur.com/IcVoOl.jpg).

What is this "United States" language?

Doesn't sound like a bad idea to me. Those who aren't interested in the story get to play it the way they want to, whilst those that want just the story and are not interested in the combat can play it another way. Of course, the other option is the only sensible one, but I'm guessing that will probably end up being the least used.

Nalano
05-11-2011, 09:35 PM
What is this "United States" language?

Ameeerikuuuuh, fuck yeah!

Nah, don't demonize the player base quite so quickly. Even in that thread and on BioWare's forum the question is being asked, "how can you have an RPG without dialogue?!" Easy: Pick one of the possible conclusions can call that one canon. Just like how you can start ME2 without having loaded a save from ME1.

The JG Man
05-11-2011, 10:02 PM
I'm torn between horror, hilarity, and thinking it's actually a stroke of genius. Why not let players customize the game to be what they want? Lots of games already have a "casual" difficulty which is basically "story mode".

Not to mention the fact that despite that, you can still set which difficulty you want afterwards. I think it's a great idea, really. The only bad part is that the action mode is default. Obviously should be on the both setting. Had they not learned about the "83% male soldiers" (?) thing? Sigh.

Other than that, rest of the stuff looks decent. I'll be picking it up, so looking forward to it.

vinraith
05-11-2011, 10:15 PM
OK, the horrific part is that "Action Mode" seems to be the default.

Yeah. I don't have a problem with presenting people with options, but I have to fundamentally question the design priorities when there are options to exclude half the content of the game and especially when one of those options is the default.

By default, there's no dialog choices or decision making in the game. What does that tell me about the amount of care that went into those aspects of the title?

I'll wait for reviews, and I'll probably grab it at some point just to see the end of a story I've been enjoying, but I can't see putting much money (or time) into a game designed with this mentality.

Lukasz
05-11-2011, 10:17 PM
What is this "United States" language?

think nicolas cage accent and you have whole game.

well. that's... just wow. This is something i need to see for myself but damn. I am torn. They better make the shooty shooty thing good or without dialog it will show how weak it is compared to proper tpp shooter games.

Nalano
05-11-2011, 10:42 PM
Yeah. I don't have a problem with presenting people with options, but I have to fundamentally question the design priorities when there are options to exclude half the content of the game and especially when one of those options is the default.

By default, there's no dialog choices or decision making in the game. What does that tell me about the amount of care that went into those aspects of the title?

I'll wait for reviews, and I'll probably grab it at some point just to see the end of a story I've been enjoying, but I can't see putting much money (or time) into a game designed with this mentality.

So long as you're aware that you're making quite a lot of drastic conclusions based on the order of three options.

I mean, whenever I see difficulty options, "easy" is always on top. That's clearly the way the developers want it to be played!

TillEulenspiegel
05-11-2011, 10:49 PM
So long as you're aware that you're making quite a lot of drastic conclusions based on the order of three options.

I mean, whenever I see difficulty options, "easy" is always on top. That's clearly the way the developers want it to be played!
There's no particular logical order here, and UI design wise, it'd be quite unusual to highlight the bottom option as the default. It's not even alphabetical. I obviously can't say for sure what the default will be on release, but whatever the case, something strange is going on here.

It's too bad they didn't post a video of character creation.

Nalano
05-11-2011, 10:50 PM
G, C, G&C. Sounds logical to me.

Wizardry
05-11-2011, 11:05 PM
How is it possible to break a supposed RPG down into combat and story?

vinraith
05-11-2011, 11:08 PM
How is it possible to break a supposed RPG down into combat and story?

They're not even pretending that it is anymore. Now it's a guns and conversation game. Or a guns game, or a conversation game. By default (and thus, as we know from the statistics, for something like 80% of the audience) it'll just be another shooter, abandoning all pretenses of the genre.

I don't approve, obviously, but I suppose they get points for finally being honest.

Wizardry
05-11-2011, 11:17 PM
They're not even pretending that it is anymore. Now it's a guns and conversation game. Or a guns game, or a conversation game. By default (and thus, as we know from the statistics, for something like 80% of the audience) it'll just be another shooter, abandoning all pretenses of the genre.
That's my point. I think these three modes demonstrate how the Mass Effect games are composed of two distinct elements, and almost nothing else. You couldn't divide many other RPGs that easily.

It's quite scary if you ask me. This could result in other developers splitting up games into neat chunks that can be enabled and disabled to suit the player. This can only be a bad thing.

vinraith
05-11-2011, 11:49 PM
That's my point. I think these three modes demonstrate how the Mass Effect games are composed of two distinct elements, and almost nothing else. You couldn't divide many other RPGs that easily.

It's quite scary if you ask me. This could result in other developers splitting up games into neat chunks that can be enabled and disabled to suit the player. This can only be a bad thing.

Eh, much as I agree that the underlying idea of having your game elements so independently designed and poorly integrated as to be able to turn them off and on is a bad thing, I don't think it's much of a threat to game design as a whole. Let's face it, most mainstream games are just dumbass FPS's at this point, and ME has been drifting more and more in that direction itself. This is just its final transitional state to allow it to appeal to FPS fans without making them do anything new or different. I tend to think any game headed in that direction is going to get there anyway, and any game not headed in that direction is not under threat.

soldant
05-11-2011, 11:58 PM
I really don't mind Mass Effect as a guns and conversation game, that's all it ever was to me right from the outset with the first Mass Effect. I can't understand people talking as if it started out as a D&D game and turned into MW2 or something.

But I can't figure out why the hell they thought that this change would be a good idea. "Oh, we've got a story-driven shooter with player choices... let's remove the choices and neuter the story!" I know it's an option but why should a core gameplay mechanic be an option? It's ridiculous.

Also slightly off topic: har friggin' har har, another 360 leak. And they blame the PC for all the industry's problems?

deano2099
06-11-2011, 12:08 AM
Having the mode available makes sense, as something like 15% of players skipped dialogue, choosing the default option anyway, so why not give them a mode where they'll get a better story.

It's not going to be the default option either and I'm almost positive about that. There's a reason this 'beta' is just a demo and not meant for public consumption yet. Yes: that action mode is the default for the entire actual game is one explanation. Also: it's to be used as a show-floor demo at noisy expos where it'll give the best experience for someone playing it for 10 minutes. Or: that was the first mode developed internally. Or: they were doing a lot of combat testing on this version of the demo and so set it as default...

There's a ton of other plausible explanations too.

The vast majority of Mass Effect 2 players didn't skip dialogue. It'd make no sense to encourage them to.

SirKicksalot
06-11-2011, 01:40 AM
But I can't figure out why the hell they thought that this change would be a good idea. "Oh, we've got a story-driven shooter with player choices... let's remove the choices and neuter the story!" I know it's an option but why should a core gameplay mechanic be an option? It's ridiculous.



I am intrigued by the idea of playing a Bioware game following only the canon version of the story.

Serenegoose
06-11-2011, 02:12 AM
I ended up doing mostly the same thing in Dragon age, to be fair - once I got past a certain point where the combat sufficiently bored me, I just turned it to the easiest difficulty setting and plodded through it to get to the end, since I was right at the end and tired of it as some sort of mandatory chore just to get to the next bit of exposition. I don't see why ploughing through something that bored me so much was somehow better than just skipping it and getting to the bit of the game I actually enjoyed. That is what a game is for, yes?

vinraith
06-11-2011, 02:16 AM
I ended up doing mostly the same thing in Dragon age, to be fair - once I got past a certain point where the combat sufficiently bored me, I just turned it to the easiest difficulty setting and plodded through it to get to the end, since I was right at the end and tired of it as some sort of mandatory chore just to get to the next bit of exposition. I don't see why ploughing through something that bored me so much was somehow better than just skipping it and getting to the bit of the game I actually enjoyed. That is what a game is for, yes?

That rather underlines the point though, doesn't it? If your combat is so crap some of your players want to skip it completely, maybe it'd be better to FIX THE COMBAT instead of providing an option to bypass it. It's typical Bioware design, though. They never fix flaws, they just jettison features until you're left with, well, apparently ME3.

Smashbox
06-11-2011, 02:31 AM
Oh good I was hoping we could have the same conversation about arbitray definitions again and again and again.

deano2099
06-11-2011, 02:51 AM
That rather underlines the point though, doesn't it? If your combat is so crap some of your players want to skip it completely, maybe it'd be better to FIX THE COMBAT instead of providing an option to bypass it. It's typical Bioware design, though. They never fix flaws, they just jettison features until you're left with, well, apparently ME3.

There's a difference between combat that is broken and combat that's just not to some people's taste.

I'm somewhat amused actually that when Bioware made an RPG with shooting elements in ME1, RPG fans claimed it was dumbing down. When they further refined it to make it more player-skill than character-skill based in ME2 is was dumbing down even further. But now they capitulate and give you the option to basically turn it off entirely and apparently that's even more dumbing down.

deano2099
06-11-2011, 02:53 AM
Oh good I was hoping we could have the same conversation about arbitray definitions again and again and again.

I dunno, it's actually kind of interesting as if the story mode makes combat unfailable or removes it entirely then the game sort of fits Wizardry's hardcore pure RPG definition. Of course, it's an extremely shallow example of one, but it removes that twitch action thing.

Nalano
06-11-2011, 03:06 AM
There's a difference between combat that is broken and combat that's just not to some people's taste.

I'm somewhat amused actually that when Bioware made an RPG with shooting elements in ME1, RPG fans claimed it was dumbing down. When they further refined it to make it more player-skill than character-skill based in ME2 is was dumbing down even further. But now they capitulate and give you the option to basically turn it off entirely and apparently that's even more dumbing down.

This. There's a rather important difference between "this isn't to my taste," and "this is bad."

vinraith
06-11-2011, 03:18 AM
There's a difference between combat that is broken and combat that's just not to some people's taste.

And again, if your combat is not to the taste of so many of your players that you're considering giving them an option to remove it entirely, wouldn't doing something different with the combat, even optionally, be a better choice?




But now they capitulate and give you the option to basically turn it off entirely and apparently that's even more dumbing down."Dumbing down" is not what I'd call it. "Giving up" would be more like it. One wonders, if Bioware keeps ejecting features they can't make work, whether there will be anything left but cinematics by the time they get to ME4/DA3/whatever.

Wizardry
06-11-2011, 03:19 AM
I dunno, it's actually kind of interesting as if the story mode makes combat unfailable or removes it entirely then the game sort of fits Wizardry's hardcore pure RPG definition. Of course, it's an extremely shallow example of one, but it removes that twitch action thing.
But there's no RPG gameplay left. It'd just be a choose your own adventure in (close to) its purest form.

vinraith
06-11-2011, 03:39 AM
But there's no RPG gameplay left. It'd just be a choose your own adventure in (close to) its purest form.

Which may very well turn out the be the best way to play an ME game, but that doesn't say very kind things about ME games.

thegooseking
06-11-2011, 03:41 AM
This. There's a rather important difference between "this isn't to my taste," and "this is bad."

Yeah. I enjoyed the combat because it was highly attuned to the space opera genre. I can see how it wouldn't appeal to people who want realism, but a space opera with realism is like an FPS with inventory puzzles; it's not that it would necessarily be bad, it's just that it doesn't happen. The combat delivered a solid genre experience. Whether that's good or bad really depends what you wanted from it in the first place. Which is, yeah, is a matter of taste.

karthink
06-11-2011, 03:56 AM
"Dumbing down" is not what I'd call it. "Giving up" would be more like it. One wonders, if Bioware keeps ejecting features they can't make work, whether there will be anything left but cinematics by the time they get to ME4/DA3/whatever.

I wouldn't say BW are discarding features they can't fix--just changing and experimenting with them. They are, however, changing all the wrong things.

So while they got rid of the inventory and stat based gunplay,
- They introduced ammo to fix an imaginary problem.
- They introduced armor customization in a way that made it effectively merely cosmetic.
- They introduced "ammo powers" to pad out the talents screen with what is essentially equipment, or a weapon feature.
- They introduced heavy weapons when... wait, this was a plus, overall.
- They introduced a rock-paper-scissors mechanics with enemy protections that is inconsistent with the previous game and with itself.
- They introduced upgrades that are effectively incremental win buttons.

So ME4 won't be a collection of cinematics. It will be cinematics padded with gameplay consisting of arbitrary, inconsistent and/or inconsequential gameplay features.

vinraith
06-11-2011, 04:00 AM
So ME4 won't be a collection of cinematics. It will be cinematics padded with gameplay consisting of arbitrary, inconsistent and/or inconsequential gameplay features.

Look on the bright side, you'll be able to turn them all off!

Wizardry
06-11-2011, 04:01 AM
Which may very well turn out the be the best way to play an ME game, but that doesn't say very kind things about ME games.
I agree. The combat is boring and, even though the writing is poor, it's at least semi-interesting seeing what stupid stuff you can make Shepard do.

soldant
06-11-2011, 04:25 AM
So while they got rid of the inventory and stat based gunplay.
The inventory in Mass Effect was pointless though. Once you got the Spectre master gear there was absolutely no purpose for any of the rest of it except omnigel, which you were swimming in anyway. I mean how many goddamn assault rifles and crappy pistols do I need? You'd spend ages getting rid of equipment which was made far worse by the abysmal interface.

The ammo powers were ridiculous, and I wasn't super impressed with the rock-paper-scissors counter-barrier thing, but in my opinion a lot of the things that people complain about losing (like the inventory system) are just resistance to change for no apparent reason. Fact is most of the inventory system and quite a lot of the stats were redundant. Mass Effect was always an action shooter at its core with conversations included, why people think it was Neverwinter Nights in space is a mystery to me.


- They introduced armor customization in a way that made it effectively merely cosmetic.
Uh, there were quite a few pieces of armour that added stat bonuses. They probably could have taken it a bit further but it wasn't all cosmetic.

Serenegoose
06-11-2011, 04:28 AM
My biggest problem I have with ME's combat is that it's shallow squad based combat. If you're going down that way there is plenty of things to do that ME (especially 2, 1 actually had grenades at least, and 2 removed them) simply doesn't do - Each of your squadmates was essentially replaceable. Where are the grenades to flush enemies out? The heavy weapons to suppress? (the 'heavy weapons' I don't feel count because they were just 'bigger guns' rather than filling any tactical purpose), indeed, the 3 main weapons (pistol, SMG, assault rifle) are all the same save for rate of fire - their accuracy is all pretty solid. ME had this potential for being big, deep space opera combat with lots and lots of gadgets and toys for a substantial experience with lots of varied encounters and sci-fi funs - but without even grenades it was shallower than say, gears of war. Even your team-mates were just backup superpowers, and contributed little if anything to the average engagement.

karthink
06-11-2011, 04:41 AM
The inventory in Mass Effect was pointless though. Once you got the Spectre master gear there was absolutely no purpose for any of the rest of it except omnigel, which you were swimming in anyway. I mean how many goddamn assault rifles and crappy pistols do I need? You'd spend ages getting rid of equipment which was made far worse by the abysmal interface.

The ammo powers were ridiculous, and I wasn't super impressed with the rock-paper-scissors counter-barrier thing, but in my opinion a lot of the things that people complain about losing (like the inventory system) are just resistance to change for no apparent reason. Fact is most of the inventory system and quite a lot of the stats were redundant. Mass Effect was always an action shooter at its core with conversations included, why people think it was Neverwinter Nights in space is a mystery to me.

Oh, I hated the inventory with a passion. I did not comment about it at all, you will notice. You assume that if I'm criticizing the current system, I must think what it replaced was better. Do not put words in my mouth!



Uh, there were quite a few pieces of armour that added stat bonuses. They probably could have taken it a bit further but it wasn't all cosmetic.
I'm sorry, the +5% melee damage or +10% faster shield recharge was inconsequential at any difficulty of gameplay. How about a piece that lets you emit an EMP if a mech closes in on you? How about having to choose between that and doubling your thermal clip capacity?

Nalano
06-11-2011, 04:49 AM
I'm sorry, the +5% melee damage or +10% faster shield recharge was inconsequential at any difficulty of gameplay. How about a piece that lets you emit an EMP if a mech closes in on you? How about having to choose between that and doubling your thermal clip capacity?

Kinda the difference between stats and perks. I, too, prefer perks.

Juan Carlo
06-11-2011, 06:37 AM
Yeah. I don't have a problem with presenting people with options, but I have to fundamentally question the design priorities when there are options to exclude half the content of the game and especially when one of those options is the default.

By default, there's no dialog choices or decision making in the game. What does that tell me about the amount of care that went into those aspects of the title?

I'll wait for reviews, and I'll probably grab it at some point just to see the end of a story I've been enjoying, but I can't see putting much money (or time) into a game designed with this mentality.

Ditto.


I hope this isn't the case, but I'm not optimistic. Especially since there's a video of a guy playing the first 15 minutes of the game on youtube with "full decisions" enabled and there is literally 1 dialogue choice in that entire time. All the other dialogue is automated.

soldant
06-11-2011, 07:54 AM
Oh, I hated the inventory with a passion. I did not comment about it at all, you will notice. You assume that if I'm criticizing the current system, I must think what it replaced was better. Do not put words in my mouth!
Apologies, but I read your post as if it were dripping with sarcasm. Call it a limitation of the text-based medium of communication.


I'm sorry, the +5% melee damage or +10% faster shield recharge was inconsequential at any difficulty of gameplay. How about a piece that lets you emit an EMP if a mech closes in on you? How about having to choose between that and doubling your thermal clip capacity?
Actually there were armour items that did offer extra ammo (particularly heavy weapon ammo, which was useful) but if you noticed in my post I said they could have extended the idea. I don't think perks like emitting an EMP blast is near you is worthwhile (it's armour, and that frankly sounds like an auto-win option) but they could have made the armour options a bit more useful. Still they do have an impact and are hardly "cosmetic" as you suggested.

DigitalSignalX
06-11-2011, 10:33 AM
I liked ME1's inventory system to the degree that it allowed you some flexibly and more sense of control over what you were using. I also sometimes chose secondary or unspecialized weapons based solely on their cosmetics. Customizing armor and ammo mods for missions was a nice optional element. I also readily admit the inventory needed trimming, that you could get inundated with useless things that became difficult to get rid of, and that it needed to be fixed. Not eliminated.

I liked driving the Mako, it gave a real sense of size and scope to the idea of traveling to distant planets and exploring them. I found the combat with it challenging and the visuals superb. However, many of the landscapes and buildings were bland, re-used, and suffered from lack of diversity. This should have been fixed. Not eliminated.

Removing heat buildup in favor of limited ammunition... no idea why that seemed like a better idea.
Removing Grenades and making you choose either a grenade launcher or going without. No idea why that is a better tactical choice.
The hammerhead hover craft that sucks up minerals and data by lurching around like a drunk roomba. Really. That's what was better?
Planet scanning. Sigh.
Removing the crouch key in favor of sticky, predictably placed cover. Double Sigh.

I liked M2. But I think technically it was a step back from the first's gameplay elements. I suspect the 3rd will be yet another step back.

kyrieee
06-11-2011, 11:23 AM
I agree. The combat is boring and, even though the writing is poor, it's at least semi-interesting seeing what stupid stuff you can make Shepard do.
That's a surprise, coming from you.

I played the game multiple times on the hardest difficulty and I love the combat, there's quite a lot to it. The problem is that on the default difficulty most of the complexity is missing in order to make the game easier.


My biggest problem I have with ME's combat is that it's shallow squad based combat. If you're going down that way there is plenty of things to do that ME (especially 2, 1 actually had grenades at least, and 2 removed them) simply doesn't do - Each of your squadmates was essentially replaceable. Where are the grenades to flush enemies out? The heavy weapons to suppress? (the 'heavy weapons' I don't feel count because they were just 'bigger guns' rather than filling any tactical purpose), indeed, the 3 main weapons (pistol, SMG, assault rifle) are all the same save for rate of fire - their accuracy is all pretty solid.

See, this is what I blame on the default difficulty.
Picking the right squad mates and using them correctly is super important, the difference between using a Pistol vs an SMG is really big etc. If you play on Insanity. On normal difficulty you can beat the whole game just using your Pistol, never telling your squad what to do, pick random powers when you level up and so on. There's zero depth there because anything works.

Keep
06-11-2011, 11:51 AM
2016: ME4 introduces a dynamic new aspect: football management. Expecting backlash, they make this part of the game entirely optional. Sales treble.

2019: Fans not having picked up on how dessicated the core game of ME4 was, ME5 introduces another dynamic new element: the entire SNES back catalogue. Again optional, sales quintuple.

2023: The term "videogame" is phased out entirely and replaced with "Mass Effect 6", since it now includes every game ever made - as an optional element within its vanishingly insignificant core. Sales billiajuple.

karthink
06-11-2011, 06:35 PM
Apologies, but I read your post as if it were dripping with sarcasm. Call it a limitation of the text-based medium of communication.

Yeah, I can see why that happened. Our brains are constantly fighting against implicit straw-man-ism.


Actually there were armour items that did offer extra ammo (particularly heavy weapon ammo, which was useful) but if you noticed in my post I said they could have extended the idea. I don't think perks like emitting an EMP blast is near you is worthwhile (it's armour, and that frankly sounds like an auto-win option) but they could have made the armour options a bit more useful. Still they do have an impact and are hardly "cosmetic" as you suggested.
The EMP thing was an example off the top of my head. It's a trivial issue to balance it and bring it in line with the ME universe. Anyway, my point rests on the spirit of the thing: even with a focused armor config, the gameplay did not change in any significant sense. BW took the easy way out with marginal bonuses so they wouldn't have to balance a host of modified gameplay mechanics.

Skalpadda
06-11-2011, 11:25 PM
I quite like the combat in ME2 and I don't care one bit if it's RPG kosher or not. It took most of the good ideas from ME1 and made them smoother and more functional to use. Giving me the power to teleport myself smack into someone, shotgun them in the face, send all their friends flying with lift and launch them into space with a team mate's throw is fun.

As for the "dumbed down" weapon choices and customisation, well in ME1 you had a massive inventory that was hell to use, you got tiny incremental upgrades to your loadout and it was always clear what was better or worse. The only interesting bits of customisation was switching ammo depending on enemies and maybe setting up a "super weapon", like a sniper rifle that did loads of damage at the cost of it instantly overheating. In ME2 you chose your loadout before missions (which makes sense) and had a choice between weapons that handled differently and directly affected your play style. Same thing goes for the character levelling system. There are far fewer points to spend, but each point actually matters and has a direct influence on how you approach combat.

I am a bit worried about other aspects of Mass Effect (and Bioware in general) though. They really seem to be moving towards conversations as interactive cinematics rather than a gameplay element and I honestly don't think their plots or their character writing are good enough to stand on their own. There are certainly glimmers of greatness (Mordin being the obligatory example), but even with the vast amount of conversations and decisions it feels more and more as if it's just trying to tell me a story rather than letting me play a story.

The different modes seem weird, but as an optional thing.. well why not?

soldant
06-11-2011, 11:49 PM
The EMP thing was an example off the top of my head. It's a trivial issue to balance it and bring it in line with the ME universe. Anyway, my point rests on the spirit of the thing: even with a focused armor config, the gameplay did not change in any significant sense. BW took the easy way out with marginal bonuses so they wouldn't have to balance a host of modified gameplay mechanics.
I don't know if "perks" like EMP blasts should be part of armour but I fully agree that they should have made the armour a bit more useful with much better effects. The benefits needed to come with significant costs, not just "Well, you could have extra heavy weapon ammo, OR you could have a 5% increase in shields" where there's no clear downside to having any of them. It'd be better if they had significant bonuses but with some sort of negative or missed opportunity which actually meant something.


In ME2 you chose your loadout before missions (which makes sense) and had a choice between weapons that handled differently and directly affected your play style. Same thing goes for the character levelling system. There are far fewer points to spend, but each point actually matters and has a direct influence on how you approach combat.
Exactly. The ME approach had a bunch of redundant "choices" which were simple filler, but apparently this equates to "complexity" in today's gaming world and thus any removal is instantly "dumbing down". The new weapons in ME2 for the most part handled differently and had different uses... except the pistols and SMGs, they were all clear upgrades. That's a pretty big difference from ME where you'd just pick the weapon with the most damage. The use of ammo clips helps to delineate between the various weapons. In ME nobody cared about heat buildup, you just wouldn't fire enough to use up the heat clip and take cover.


...and I honestly don't think their plots or their character writing are good enough to stand on their own. There are certainly glimmers of greatness (Mordin being the obligatory example), but even with the vast amount of conversations and decisions it feels more and more as if it's just trying to tell me a story rather than letting me play a story.?
I think ME2's problem has more to do with being the middle game in the trilogy. The storyline has to do something, but it can't bring any closure or there's no room for the third game. I think the storyline was a bit weaker than ME overall but ME was in the position of offering some apparent closure while also leaving the door open for a sequel if the game did well. In ME2 it's blatantly obvious and unapologetically bridging ME and ME3, so like an episode of LOST it sort of ambles around a bit. The exact same thing is happening with the Half Life 2 episodes; the storyline isn't really going anywhere. Wait, what do I mean "is happening", HL2 died in 2007.