Some time ago the wonderful Jim Sterling did a video titled "A game by any other name" as part of his "Jimquisition" video series.
The basic Idea in the video was "why get upset if a game shares the name of your favorite series/franchise but is totally different?" mainly regards to reboots and spin offs.
At first this seems counter intuitive and completely against the common "view" that's shared within the forums and comments of the Internet.
"WHHHHAAAAT???....you mean I shouldn't care when they go and fuck up my favorite series by turning it into a first person shooter???"
but then, when you think about it. From a logical standpoint it's actually not such an insane Idea, if its a spin off or reboot then its more or less supposed to be seen as a separate entity....if it just has the name the.....well whatís in a name? Things get a bit more grey when your talking about direct sequels, but even then its not always a bad thing
it could be a great game in of itself and if its not or just nor you thing then it doesnít affect the originals (like really glad they never made a Terminator 3 or did any more Alien films after the 2nd one)
but it is understandable, thereís something horribly rage inducing about having something you love changed or even butchered to have "mass apeal"
with their COD and their Facebook and their...."Skrillex"
but anyway, change doesn't always have to be a bad thing. Like Fallout 3
in my first blog post I pointed out the flaws in Fallout 3 but I do actually like the game. Before FO3 I was only really vaguely familiar with the original Fallout series, they were turn based RPG's known for their unique world and quirky sense of humor
Actually...I think this might be Fallout 2
when it came to FO3...oh boy...was there nerd rage and bile.."TURN my precious game into a FPS!!?? HOW DAAAAAARE THEY!!!"
now I will admit FO3 is by no means perfect
-it plays fast and loose with the lore
-it takes itself a little too seriously at times
-it has a terrible approach to moral choices
-it suffers from Bethesda blandness
BUT that said I loved it at the time..I absolutely loved the world of Fallout and for all its flaws FO3 introduced me to that
and then Fallout New Vegas happened
I got spurs..that jingle jangle jingle....*jingle jangle*
and I honestly think that game is kind of amazing in its scope and what it manages to achieve with what they had. And fans to say its "closer" to the original Fallout in spirit
but that said I imagine people still hate it purely because its a "FPS' and its not turn based...well good thing for those people is that Wasteland 2 is coming out
my point is FO3 introduced the world of fallout to a new audience, it brought it out of obscurity and Fallout NV probably would not exist were it not for the sucess of FO3. Unlike Fallout tactics, Fallout: Brotherhood of steel and an original third game that turned into vaporware....
The fact is alot of people enjoyed those games... I ask hardcore "fans"....is that such a bad thing?
Or take something like Dead Space
Unlike others I am actually cautiously optimistic about Dead Space 3....Dead Spaceís strength was never in being genuinely scary. This is probably the scariest moment in the entire game
RISE AND SHIIIIIIIINE!!!!!!
But it did have a fantastic atmosphere and franticly creative combat. It did have you panicking as you tried to get away from the necromorphs while down to your last 3 shots...
I admit Dead Space 2 was a little short and its tacked on multiplayer was....tacked on, but it was still an awesome experience and an improvement over dead space 1 (in certain ways). The focus on action was a good thing....and a game that takes place on a ship overrun with horrors has never looked so gorgeous.
Despite the whore mongering wankery of EA (HERPA DERP! we must sell 5 million copies! we also must be above 90 in Meta critic....where is our call of duty!? its not fiar!!!)
this is EA.....
In spite of that I think the team behind Dead Space is actually good, and should hopefully be able to deliver a great game.Taking the game and putting it on a planet doesnít have to ruin it and even co-op is not such an insane Idea,since in Dead Space 2 Isaac was not alone.Even focusing more on shooting isnít a death sentence in terms of being uniquely Dead Space (I am kind of pissed however that your co-op buddy isn't ellie..I mean come on!) Even if it is different (and even if the difference isnít for the right reasons) itís not game over yet.
Or the new Devil May cry game...I know nothing about Devil may cry except for the fact that people hate the new Date (for the reboot) with a passion
And I think wow......Dante looks like such a wanker......but old Dante even more so because of his stupid "Anime" look (yes thatís right. I think new Dante looks like less of a wanker)
HOWEVER....I get it... you don't have to be a fan to understand why people don't like the new Dante, its rather obvious
And finally Tomb raider.....granted I think the controversy is more due to the...."thing" in the trailer. Personally I think it was a big overreaction and I am actually really hopeful for the reboot, I think this is a direction that needs to be taken, actually trying to get us to empathies with a character rather than look at her tits.
Anyway, repeating what I said earlier...what if the new DMC game turned out to be really good?
Or what if they made a Mass Effect spin off FPS and it was a really really good game?
Is it right to say they are "crap" without any exaggeration? I mean its one thing to not like a game because itís not your thing but to think its bad only because itís different? Perhaps if we took a step back and accepted it we wouldnít need to have so much nerd rage
And this is where it all falls apart
Ok, step back for a second...itís the late 90's and the Nintendo 64 is all the rage..Whats one awesome groundbreaking game? Super Mario 64?...HA NO!!! Fuck Mario
ITíS BANJO KAZOOIE!
from a much more innocent and crazy time...
Banjo Kazooie is insanely awesome, from where Rare still had it (seriously Rare were awesome) itís much like Mario 64 with flatforming..Puzzles and collecting things. Banjo was a bear, a laid back type of guy. His best friend was kazooie, a tomboy bird (tom bird?) with a smart mouth and a fiery temperament; together they made an awesome team
wha?...hey Kazooie!, hold this while while I rub my face in the grass texture
Even for the crude graphics of 64 is had an awesome art style (or at least evidence of one) the worlds were colorful and creative, the humor was subtle and funny, the characters lovable and memorable, and the general concept ingenious
So then...fast forward, Rare gets bought my Microsoft....and this happens
I'm sighing so hard it hurts right now
ok..where do I start. well letís start with the obvious
now I hate to criticize art direction or style, thatís mainly subjective and all about the look they are going for even if it may not be to the personal taste of the viewer
but Kazooie looks like a drag queen!......maybe itís to make it more obvious that she's a girl, but that was part of her charm, she's a tom-bird! its ok that you can't tell...her original incarnation was cute...but this? this is freaking terrifying!
and Banjo? well he's not as bad but his eyes are still too small and his overall shape is blocky....why?
I mean itís just frustrating when they have the technology to make them look like they were originally intended
and they come up with that...I think the in-game sprites in the originals look better.
but thatís really nothing compared to the main problem...the absolute 50 ton straw that has not only broken the camels back but split it in too
whats Banjo Kazooie 3 about?...uhhh..wait no...its "Banjo Kazooie: Nuts'n Bolts"?....ok what does that mean?
VECHECLES FOR EVERYONE!!!
words cannot describe.....
quck question...whatís your favorite game of all time?...does it involve vehicles? what if your favorite game had vehicles in it?...was that your favorite part? does anyone enjoy vehicles?....well of course! lots of people enjoy vehicles!....and lots people are wakers too
..ok, seriously now. The main focus of Banjo Kazooie:NB is building and driving around in vehicles...as learning that wasnít bad enough itís the way they implement it that adds an extra layer of sting. Basically they smash through the fourth wall where a TV man tells you "gamers these days donít want to collect things!. they want to shoot things! ..therefore vehicles!!" itís downright depressing
no! fuck you TV man! you clearly have no Idea what I want!
Banjo Kazooie was never Lord of the rings in its approach to the grand adventure but this crap woth LOG (Lord of Games, the TV man) is really too much. it sucks all the life out of it
at this point I could make a joke about turning it into a first person shooter.....but oh wait. THEY ALREADY DID
in Banjo Tooie there are levels that involve First person shooting (bird shooting?) you could play against your friends in four player.....you could all play as all the characters....like a Jinjo because those guys are small and fast...or if you didn't feel like being fair send out one of those tiny clockwork suicide bomber birds to take out your opponent
it was awesome
so we have a situation where they could have rebooted the thing into a FPS and it would have made more sense...
again, the vehicle thing not only baffles me because I don't like it...but mainly because I just do not understand where they were going with it. If they were trying to go for mass appeal then "vehicle construction" doesnít seem like an insanely popular genre, even when the game was released
or were they going for the nostalgia sell? well the intro might say so trying to remind us about how cool the banjo kazooie games used to be...except that Idea goes right out the fucking window at the first mention of vehicles (seriously!? vehicles?) the fans are already pissed off
so who is this game for?......kids...thatís all I can think of...and kids are not exactly the biggest market for Videogames...especially not on the Xbox. I'm not saying they shouldn't market games to kids, in fact itís a shame there arenít as many kid friendly games out there. But you don't have to change the game to market it to kids.
I donít think I mind changing the game...in a perfect world they wouldn't, but lets say they did, the one thing I remember about banjo kazooie is not collecting things...its the world and the action
what if it was an action game like god of war? (game play wise) where the focus is on combat and combos I probably would be totally cool with that, or an adventure game like uncharted? yeah I know the fans would still be pissed...but running around with banjo and kazooie as our playable characters is the main thing. the most important thing...and they fucked it up
but then according to Wikipedia the game didn't sell all that badly. so I guess the jokes on me
and this problem is my point .On one hand I understand and accept that fans sometimes need to chill the fuck out and itís not the end of the world if their favorite series goes in a different direction. On the other hand
Kazooie wonder's where it all went so wrong.....
I can't exactly subscribe to the "chill out" Idea only when it suits me (like in the case of Fallout) but I also cannot and will not accept Nuts and bolts as anything other than a great big middle finger pointed at everything I liked about Banjo Kazooie
even though I do honestly think at least some of my points are valid beyond pure nostalgia, but the fact remains that I'm a big old hypocrite...this is a logical problem I can't work out
but then. I guess opinions are opinions, neither right nor wrong...and has non biased and accepting as you try to be you still have biases and preference
and now honestly I actually don't like criticizing fans (even if that's what I've been doing this whole post) and that's actually because of the Mass Effect 3 fiasco.....to feel so strongly about something only to be shot down with "whiney, bitchey, entitled" is frustrating
but whatís downright rage inducing is when some asshole says something along the lines of "you only didn't like the ending because your a triple double whiny entitled fan and it wasnít sunshine and rainbows!"
I didnít like the ending because it wasn't happy enough?.....no, please donít make up bullshit reasons, at least try and understand before you argue
that's why as easy as it is for me to say
"ok...seriously your upset over the new Dante? youíre upset because Dante looks slightly less of a white haired wanker than he did before? oh right! Devil May Cry was SUCH a master piece and Dante was such a serious character with all the depth on complexity of a novel. GOD FORBID they do anything to change that"
and I'll be honest. I can't help but think that. but you know what? I don't care about Devil May Cry. I donít know anything about Devil may cry...I'm really not in a position to say anything about Devil May Cry because "I don't get it" so I'm quite happy to not talk about it and I wont jump into any argument about DMC believing what I said is a valid statement. It's ok...you don't have to tell me why the new Dante sucks...I "do" and "don't" get it at the same time
if that makes sense...
there something else important I haven't mentioned until now, and itís something Jim Didn't mention in his video
there is a reason that old time fans do care, and its all because of the name, because that Reboot or radically different sequel means that you may not get the game you knew and love...in fact you may never get it again...but its there, in name only, and that may be worse than not having a sequel at all
because this "thing" you donít recognize is a constant reminder of what could have been, a constant reminder of something you love taken away from you and turned into something you hate
like you once had this brief but passionate relationship with a guy you honestly thought you were in love with, everything was perfect....but he had to go away. and when he returned he looked like this
and he likes Skrillex
the fact is if someone falls in love with this new Skrillex loving heroin addict person then that's not wrong or bad... that's love, itís a beautiful thing, he's not your guy anymore but you have to accept it
just like I have to accept the fact that some people provably played and enjoyed Banjo Kazooie nuts and bolts, maybe even got introduced the series that way.
and you never know... maybe one day a bunch of the right people will get together on Kickstarter or some future equivalent and make that niche game you've been missing for so long
Some time ago I bought my first console. A PS3, because it seemed to have the more interesting exclusives
And you can't look at the list of PS3 exclusives without mentioning the "Uncharted" series. I had only heard little details about it, but that didn't matter because from those details and the cover I already knew everything there was to know about Uncharted
I wonder if he'll ever say anything "funny"
An Indiana Jones like treasure hunting adventure....pretty much
Though apparently people didn't like Nathan Drake. Now I'm rather forgiving when it comes to game characters, I don't "hate" any unless I'm supposed to hate them and I generally feel neutral otherwise (like Jacob from ME2 or Desmond from Assassins creed)
And since gamers tend to be drama queens (c'mon admit it...at least on the internet) I figured he was just disliked for having a personality...I mean how bad can it be right?
So of course we dive into the first game (literally! hurr hurrr), where we are introduced to Nathan Drake the lovable rouge adventurer and his inevitable girlfriend Elena the intrepid reporter,
Pirates show up, gunfight and jokes ensue...you know the drill .And Sully, Drakes father figure/mentor comes flying on a plane to rescue them
And really at this point I don't know what else to say about the characters, you already know them, Drake is the wise cracking everymen adventurer main character...Sully is an older womanizing guy. Which is great...I mean being a player is something I really like in a person...it makes them likeable...it...does........really
I'm actually kind of sad I never got to shoot Sully...for real that is
Anyway long story short its drake running around the jungle killing mercenaries and maybe rescuing Elena once or twice and I'm like ok...This isn't so bad; I mean at least he talks and all that....this fun...I..I like Nathan Drake...I really do
"Strangers trying to kill me. Left my map on a burning plane. Elena's missing, most likely dead. That's great. Great start, Nate".
ahaha oh Nathan, youíre so hilarious!
No...I'm sorry, I can't do it. I was actually making a conscious effort NOT to hate this character...But I did anyway,
Part of the problem is 99% of his dialogue is sarcastic quips and jokes. Drake speaks in a somewhat smart ass "self aware" way... (his catch phrase being "oh crap!" alot of the time) ...you know that works great when you have something to balance it with , but it just gets grating when thatís all anyone seems to be saying (and it really is all anyone seems to say...other than his name if you die alot)
OH MY GOD NNNNNAAAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYTEE!!!!!!!!
Aside from the humor (and oh boy is there HUMOUR!) The drama in the series mainly comes across as Nathan proclaiming "everything I touch turns to shit!" (waaahh) or Elena or someone else telling him "No! Nate!....you have to beleeeeeeeeeeeeiiive! But then maybe itís unfair to criticize the game for not having drama on par with say....Requiem for a Dream
I think the main problem with Drake is they are trying so hard to make us like him, trying so hard to give him a personality to make him a character but somehow he comes across as even more bland and uninteresting..Actually no, I take it back...he comes across as even worse, annoying
why? His dialogue? His stupid face? His hair? I don't know. The man is pure annoying distilled into one creature
Itís everything...like the developers are saying to you "see this guy? You love him don't you!..Of course you do! You love him, you think he's awesome! You want to be like him! Look at the face? How can you not love that face?"
Which makes me hate him more
What about his flaws? Well apparently he's afraid of clowns....
that's...really really not funny or original (seriously I'd be more accepting if that joke wasn't in almost every single fucking story ever...they could at least make it something unique like snakes or Porcelain). Well actually I think his chronic "hero" syndrome is seen as a flaw...
Yeah, thatís not a flaw guys, címon...give us somthing thats actually a flaw...not "being too hot headed or too heroic" or some stupid....*sigh* never mind
I still can't quite explain what is it I hate about him, and when I think about it, it really is him thatís brings down the series for me, I imagine the game if instead of drake it was any of the other characters. I realize I'd probably like the game 100% more...like playing as Elena as she goes off "intrepidly reporting" in far off countries and warzones where she has to fight off hoards of ethnic minorities...
No seriously I would play the shit out of that game
I think itís because Drake is the purest representation of "the everyman" he represents the need to have "mass appeal" by diluting anything remotely different or interesting. His jokes, whatís he says when he's in a tough spot, his fear of clowns...he's the Everyman you've seen before...and I realise I fucking hate "the everyman"
And then there's the chart, youíre probably familiar with it
It gets worse....
Because I had this dream once that they took one of my favorite videogames of all time and they-
OH GOD NOOOOO!!!!
NO NO NO NO NO NO !!!!
Alright...who is that? Thatís Cole McGrath from Infamous 2 well that "was" to be Cole McGrath from Infamous 2. See they gave him a makeover....
And the funny part is Cole is on the chart second one up from the bottom left corner....
Thankfully they didn't do that
Here are the original and final designs
My point is apparently he that isn't "EverymanĒ enough...you have you be an "ultra" Everyman, you have to be a Nathan drake
Ok, now letís look at a promotional image for Saints row the third
Whoís that? Well I'll tell you who it isn't...its NOT Jhonny Gat (Jhonny Gat being a prominent character in the saints row series)
Now I get a feeling it may have confused some people into thinking it was...due to the hair and the glasses, being recognisable traits of Johnny Gat...but no turns out thats the "default" image for the player
Johnny is on the left there
Now aside from the heavily gel'd hair and the sun glasses....our player representative is looking rather brown haired....and white....somewhat "everyman" donít you think?
Where as in Saints row 2 our default PC was (much less prominently) displayed as a bald goateed Hispanic (I think) man, who showed up in the "loading stills"...his face wasnt even on the cover
Ok....ok, I know, its advertising, of course they are going for mass appeal, it doesnít even matter since thatís all changeable in game
Moving....what about Dante? I'm talking about the new design on the right
"WHAT?' you might say? Dante? Look at him! The new Dante looks nothing like Nathan drake!
and yes, new Dante is most definitely on the flamboyant side, but look closer...you change his cloths, and maybe give him a bit of a haircut.....and you've got yourself a skinny "Everyman"
Seriously a character like Dante being a hair cut away from Nathan Drake? I mean what is it about that hairstyle (Drakes quiff) that's so appealing to game designers!?
or what about John Tanner from Driver san fran sisco?
...ok.....ok he probably doesn't count because he existed before Uncharted or any of these games but still
Am I just grasping at straws here?......probably
but now I'm getting off topic, this is about Drake after all
even more hateable in child form
I'm not accusing Nathan drake of being behind some conspiracy to turn all videogame protagonists into Nathan Drake lookalikes...nor am I even implying he had any influence in it (though the first uncharted did come out around 2007) no, this trend of the "Everyman" existed before Nathan Drake
I guess my point is the "Everyman" in Video games has gone from a vague description to something surprisingly specific (either Nathan Drakes hairstyle or close cropped/shaved)
I don't actually hate the Uncharted series...I mean I'm not a huge fan and I was quite happy to pawn them off to the game store for some measly credit after...but I don't hate them, I get the apeal, and I like it when a game treats its charachters and story as important...plus it did make me smile as much as it made me cringe
the problem with the Uncharted series is that there really is nothing there of substance...nothing interesting new or unique...games like Assassins Creed or Deus Ex have something unique to them..Something recognizable in visual style, setting or story
Uncharted has the fact thatís itís just like an action B movie youíve seen a million times before!!
More like.....TREASURE PROTECTORS!...amiright?
And yeah, that totally works for some people...I mean Dragon Age: origins is as tolkein esq as you get and Mass effect is rather "standard" in its aproach to space operna-ness but I love them both
So being "clichť" isn't always a bad thing
That said however...in my case it doesn't work
Like the frustratingly annoying relationship between Drake and Elena...as in lets have them break up in-between games to so we can put them back together again! Doing this once in the sequel is...ok...doing it again in the third game!? No, thatís stupid
Itís like they don't really know what to do with it once they get Drake and Elena together they break them up again, to put them back together...rinse repeat. Why couldn't drake and Elena just be together while they go off adventuring? No really...would that be so bad? Itís not like they can't do their "bickering thing" why not?
Pictured: not Elena ohhhh...yeah..that
to be fair that seems to be a problem in alot of media..not just videogames..
I will say though that there a few things I am thankful for, that they are vague enough about the whole thing (breaking up/getting together in between games) that itís not as annoying. That Elena and Chloe are actually returning characters and itís not just a revolving door of female characters for Drake to get it on with (unlike Indiana Jones) and while they are "love interests" for Drake they aren't bad characters.....Elena is more or less competent and Chloe is kind of cool aside from being morally dubious at times
she's the promiscuous one who kinda sorta hooks up with drake, whose accent dances between Australian and British and I still can't quote place it (I'm gonna say British) In uncharted 2 she spends her time switching between "sides" (I still don't know what she was doing in Uncharted 2) and not getting along with Elena
In conclusion...I guess I hate Nathan Drake because he is boring, uninteresting and obnoxious all at the same time. He is the representation of everything wrong with video game protagonists and perhaps a symptom of the "take no risks" attitude of the AAA...industry.
Bethesda RPG's (the Elder Scroll's seres, Fallout 3) have certain things in common. Giant worlds full of things do to and places to explore. Quests to fulfill, creatures to slay, things to steal, people to talk to...and steal from, then maybe kill.
What's not to love?
So no, I genuinely don't think they are bad games. In fact even though I'm not a fan I have to say I'm glad Skyrim exists. In a world full of FPS's that are 6 hour's long (oh right thereís multiplayer...who doesn't love multiplayer?) a game where you can say without a doubt that you are getting your moneyís worth (at full price) with hundreds of hours worth of game time, a game that has no multiplayer because it knows it doesnít need it.....I can't help but admit it's a good thing.
In fact it makes me a little sad I can't like it.
but the fact remains that such games like Oblivion and Skyrim fall completely flat for me . The reason that these games just don't work is hard to explain (also completely 100% subjective, just to make that clear) but I'm going to explain why...and it starts with Fallout 3
Fallout 3 was definitely the exception to Skyrim and Oblivion. I loved the world of Fallout with its quirky retro 50's vibe against the backdrop of post apocalyptic wasteland. Crazy robots, lasers....a cartoon mascot with a mischievous grin. The world itself itís probably the best thing about the game and the Fallout series in general.
How many games have this guy?
So anyway, not too long ago I decided to replay Fallout 3.That was when I noticed those little "Bethesda" things creeping in that I hadn't noticed before
So the game starts with you being born and growing up in Vault101. Liam Neeson is your dad ,your mother is dead, your best friend (or maybe more) is Amata,the overseers daughter. Your Rival is some asshole Named butch, and the Overseer does not like you for some reason (he's also the guy you swear your life too). As you grow up you begin to get the impression life in Vault101...kinda sucks, but then you never know..because fate has something else in store for you. Long story short Dad disappears, the overseer flips out and has his goons go after your head. With Amatas help (and her dads 10mm pistol) you manage to escape the Vault....and then youíre on your own
It was when I entered the first town of "Megaton" for the second time (where new players are more or less supposed to end up) where I noticed the problem
I walk into town and the first person I meet is the sheriff....he seems nice enough, and the rules around here are fair.People might get a little freaked out if you glance at their stuff for more than a nanosecond (it's locked for a REASON!) but its civilization more or less....
So again, I've just stumbled my way out of the vault I'm talking to the sheriff. Thereís a bomb in the centre of the town..Apparently. So I've agreed to disarm it
Yes, the atomic bomb in the middle of Megaton. Somehow in the conversation I've agreed to maybe disarm it.... you know...if I feel like it. Lucas Sims (the sheriff) is totally cool with that, I'm some kid who literally hasn't even seen daylight for the first time yet, but disarming an atomic bomb is really no big deal.
Ok ...well I'm on a mission, and the next lead on dad is some bar owned by a guy called Moriarty. In the bar I get the option to talk to some girl named Lucy West who wants me to deliver a message to her family. We havenít talked much, she doesnít know me, apparently I'm the best choice....aside from say a local she knows or some hired person who knows what they are doing.
These wastelanders certainly are trusting arenít they?
but enough of that, I should get some supplies, best place in Megaton is owned by a crazy women called Moira Brown.
Of course we start talking and she has some crazy plan for a "wasteland survival guide" and needs help...my help. Ok I can see why no one else wants to do that, first person she comes across seems as good as any..Except then she says something that kinds of worrying..."you have way more Wasteland experience than me!"
uh huh....so Moira brown had literally never left her Shack...ever...(that is one way to survive the wasteland I guess)
we live in the shack..we die in the shack
So now I'm helping Moira with her pet project....also the doctor wants me to help some kid out with his drug problem....and a man in a suit approached me in the bar wanting to do some kind of deal with him.....yeah
so this makes me ask...
why is my character getting bombarded with everyoneís chores as soon as she steps out of the Vault?
ok..I do get why. Its side quests, itís an essential part of the RPG....why am I complaining about being given quests like its odd? I know in games thereís always a little dissonance between story and game play, especially when it comes to side quests. I mean would commander Shepard really be wasting her time arguing with a couple about what is best for their unborn child in regards to gene therapy? (and for some bizarre reason her input is what has the final say?) No, I don't think so
I'm a spectre! and I'm telling you to get your baby gene therapy!
But in the case of Fallout 3 and oblivion (even skyrim) however....it feels weird, almost unnatural . I used Fallout 3 as an example because itís something odd I noticed which I didn't before.Although it may not look that way, it is really noticeable the way the NPC's act.....as if they have seen the Camera following my character around and know I'm the PC and giving me their quests is something why are supposed to do. You could argue that they don't know I'm fresh out of a Vault...excpet I think they already seem to know that when I talk to them.
Again, why do I get given quests? Why do anything? And I feel even if I were to ask the NPC's themselves the answer would be
because itís an RPG...and youíre the main character
Not because it makes sense for my character to do so, or for the story (no, I imagine in universe Lucas Simms would give me a warning not to touch anything..then expect me to be dead within hours)...but because it feels like the creators of the world shrug and say "umm....thatís just what you do"
Oblivion and Skyrim in my opinion even worse offenders. Thease games gives you complete freedom, which is the main draw of the series, you can do anything or be anything
And thatís my problem
I can do or be anything...but the game doesnít really care
You are a blank slate. There isn't really dialogue, just vague statements and words alluding to what your character would be saying (I'll admit that FO3 is only slightly better in that regard)
I get that, itís to give you the freedom to role-play however you wish, to define your character...in fact the "make it up yourself!" mantra seems to be what most people say (and love) about Skyrim and Oblivion...I get that, some people dislike the "growing up" intro in the Vault, which is understandable from a role play perspective as its seriously limiting (hence why I believe there is a mod to have you wake up in a shack somewhere in the wasteland)
But I don't like it. I don't think I lack imagination, I can get totally lost in worlds that appeal to me, but itís not my job to come up with story or characters....I could envision my character any way I want with back-story, motivations personality but if It feels like the game (more or less) treats me the same. I'm not a character; I'm a blank space in a world full of NPC's...a blank space for them to give quests too. Thatís the fundamental difference I'm talking about, in the worlds of skyrim and oblivion when you look closely there is something missing.
Making it even worse are the NPC's in oblivion who don't act like normal humans (or humanoids),
you know if I ever wanted to do a thing I could talk to that person who knows about that thing that I'm not going to do...............................I saw a mud-crab the other day
I admit Oblivion was probably brilliant back in the day, but it has not aged well when compared to Skyrim...and even with Skyrim there's no real motivation to do anything, I snuck my way through a few dungeons but when I figured there was no real reason or end I stopped playing and traded it in, I donít feel like Iíve got much of a personal stake in any of it.
Itís like for all the talk of worlds that are "immersive" and "real" they feel as shallow and artificial as ever
So with that said are they any RPG I have enjoyed?
Fallout New Vegas, counterpart to FO3 is an example of how to do an open world RPG. While it is buggy and has its flaws in my opinion it is vastly superior to FO3 (and I actually think it was unfair it got the "expansion pack" label at the time)
it has a better story, not that I think the main quest of FO3 was bad (except for Liam Neeson being a horrible and father and an idiot) but FO:NV's story is not only larger and grander in scale but its structured so that a lot of the things I do feel connected to my main goal.
I have to find my father...after I collect enough Nuka Cola Quantum for the crazy lady!
it has better characters...mainly your companions who all have their own stories, issues and personalities Not to mention Mr. House and Caesar being interesting and memorable. Even though the "Courier" has no pre defined past they don't feel nearly as blank as my Oblivian/Skyrim charachters . In FO3 the companion thing falls flat, they are there and they help you in combat but thatís pretty much it, thereís nothing to them except a karma requirement and a few lines. With charachters like Jericho I get the feeling there's the potential for a good quest (where Jericho learns the meaning of friendship....or some crap like that)..if I could recruit him (which I can't)
not to mention F:NV has some of the best moral choices Iíve ever seen in a game...FO3 on the other hand is an example of how NOT to do morality in a game (but thatís another issue altogether)
FO3 does work better as "go in any direction and see what you can find" game, Bethesda does shine in the "little details" area...whereas F:NV feels a little more restricted in where you can and can't go (at least at the start) but anyway, F:NV is a game that has the scope of a bethesda RPG without sacrificing the focus
Or take a game like Dragon Age: Origins...its been a while since I played that, but from what I remember I had freedom with my character, but my character also had a really cool back-story I could get into (Female city elf) she was a character who actually had a stake in what was going on which made me see it through to the end even if I did absolutely suck at the game itself
Itís obvious now that I'm more "story driven" than anything else...which is true, hence why I'm more of a fan of Biowares approach than Bethesda's (neither is "better" than the other its just personal preference)
I will however bring up Dark Souls, which is rather similar to Skyrim.Blank slate character, "bare-bones approach" to storytelling, yet for some reason I liked it better than Skyrim. I think it was because from the opening I felt like "oh shit, this is serious"...seeing your character wasting away in a cell...to crawling out into the harsh unforgiving world of dark souls (reminds me of that part in Dark Knight Rises) so I guess my point there is I don't always need the story dropped in front of me through cut scenes and fully voiced protagonist....sometimes "show, don't tell" can be just as effective
The main thing with Skyrim and Oblivion (and maybe Fallout 3) is that they sacrifice focus for freedom, and this is not bad....obviously there are a lot of people who like that, and with games getting a bad rep for "railroading" perhaps absolute freedom is something we need alongside good single player and games actually worth a $60-$100 price tag in terms of content
that said I prefer to have focus, I don't mind not having the freedom to kill who I want or the game being slightly linear or my character being voiced...in fact I think I prefer that. Its one thing to have the freedom to do what I want but itís nowhere near as fun if I don't have a driving motivation