On The Ball: A Little More Conversation, A Little Less Action

On The Ball: A Little More Conversation, A Little Less Action

Shooting's dead. Long live the third-person talker.

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Great article but you'd be surprised as to exactly how much conversation there really is.

It likely took BioWare thousands of hours and millions of dollars to produce what amounts to an hour or two of a 20-hour experience

I'm barely past recruiting Garrus and I've already recorded 2 hours and 15 minutes worth of cutscenes and dialogue. And those are just the IMPORTANT pieces.

I wouldn't be surprised in the slightest if the game has a good 8-12 hours worth of conversation, and really, it's what keeps me hooked.

JeanLuc761:
Great article but you'd be surprised as to exactly how much conversation there really is.

It likely took BioWare thousands of hours and millions of dollars to produce what amounts to an hour or two of a 20-hour experience

I'm barely past recruiting Garrus and I've already recorded 2 hours and 15 minutes worth of cutscenes and dialogue. And those are just the IMPORTANT pieces.

I wouldn't be surprised in the slightest if the game has a good 8-12 hours worth of conversation, and really, it's what keeps me hooked.

Much the same. I love the conversation patterns, and ever just listening to my crew talk when I walk by...especilly the little narrative which occurs in the crew quarters.

If there is something bioware is good at, it is making you really, really go deep in conversations with NPCs

I love how the dialogue and the interupts seem to integrate perfectly into the animation. Even though I'm playing Paragon, my right trigger finger always gets itchy because the Renegade interupts are all filled with awsomeness.

The character interaction in ME2 really is a joy to experience.

Jhereg42:
I love how the dialogue and the interupts seem to integrate perfectly into the animation. Even though I'm playing Paragon, my right trigger finger always gets itchy because the Renegade interupts are all filled with awsomeness.

The character interaction in ME2 really is a joy to experience.

Agreed. I may enjoy cutting off Mordin Solus mid-sentence a little too much.

People interrupting Mordin, people being mean to Tali, what is this world coming to?

"You're working too hard"
BZZZRKT!

Too full of awesome really. I love the amount of work they put into these scenes, from breaking Joker's arm (on accident) to having a drink with Dr. Chakras. All of the stuff happening between the shooting is what is captivating me with the sequel to my previous favorite game ever since "Starflight".

And I think cutting Mordin off mid-sentence is about the only way to get a word in.

Loop Stricken:
People interrupting Mordin, people being mean to Tali, what is this world coming to?

People are being mean to Tali? I can't manage that even if I'm TRYING to be an asshole. Damn you Bioware for making such compelling and likable characters!

I don't know about ME2, since I haven't played it yet, but in ME there were a lot of cases where you said the same thing whether you chose the "good guy" or "bad guy" responses, so you might not be missing out on quite as much as you think.

Cutting off Mordin mid-sentence? Why would you do such a thing? Even if I play Paragon, I never do it. For one, I enjoy listening to his ramblings. The assistant girl said it best, he is like a hamster on caffeine. A hamster, that has a brain two sizes too large. I mean, what he says is actually clear and logical (at least it sounds logical anyway), and I love how he deducts huge revelations from the tiniest bits of information by piecing them together in a very convoluted but awesome way. For me, he is the most interesting and memorable character in the ME universe so far (and of course, Tali).

Article:
you're not really talking to someone - you're making your way through a flowchart.

This is why I'll always prefer shooters. I'm all for the development of cinematic games (mostly so they'll take their cutscenes home and leave my shooters alone). But I will always be acutely aware that I am talking to a program as long as I'm conversing within a game. The interaction in a shooter is much more natural (or can be, at least). Why am I still playing Borderlands after 50+ hours, of TF2 after 250+ hours? Because the fight is always different, and not dependent on a dichotomy.

I am all for the development of new means of interaction, but I'll always prefer those that are natural and reactive, rather than predetermined and predictable.

Friggen pansies. I communicate in short, clipped sentences from my SMG. Headshots are just a more efficient way of driving my point home. Home being the central nerve ganglia buried in the brain, and my point being bullets. Space bullets. Thermal space bullets of well formed, albeit harsh dialect.

Lock n Load.

Have to agree with this article, at least when it comes to Dragon Age. The actual gameplay is great fun, sure, but I'm really 100hrs in because of the characters, the stories and the conversations.

Great piece; what Bioware accomplished in Mass Effect 2 is really remarkable.

I also think the character-importing system and the ways they work in your decisions in ME1 is truly revolutionary, groundbreaking stuff that added a dimension of depth and continuity to a game unlike nothing we had ever seen before and may have forever redefined what we expect of an RPG sequel.

You should like Heavy Rain then, all talk no action.

The brilliance of bioware is even more apparent now that I'm replaying with a fresh me2 male shepard as opposed to my imported female one, not only is half the interactions different because he has a different backstory to my female (I played my female as a paragon with occassional impatience issues) but the very fact that he's male changes some of the interactions and such (apart from romancially) in subtle ways so the choice of gender isn't simply cosmetic like in pretty much every other game ever made.

I'm actually not skipping over any dialogue in my second playthrough cause its so different, which has never happened before.

StriderShinryu:
Have to agree with this article, at least when it comes to Dragon Age. The actual gameplay is great fun, sure, but I'm really 100hrs in because of the characters, the stories and the conversations.

Same here - I've done whole replays of the game to see what additional options I would get, and have been known to get up and do dances when I can get them to do something new. Can't wait to try ME/ME2 - I'm almost done with Dragon Age now, at least until the expansion. =)

In ME2 I find I look forward to the talking bits and the combat bits equally, and there's a great balance between them.

It is nice to see how games, particularly roleplaying games, are evolving to the point where they take the character interaction seriously. For some games it's hit and miss as is the case in Oblivion. Some quest lines and characters were really good its just sad that they rendered the whole speechcraft skill into a silly minigame.

And this is why I loved Dragon Age. I am planning to give Mass Effect and its sequel a go later this year, and it sounds like I'll get more of the same. Excellent :D

WafflesToo:
"You're working too hard"
BZZZRKT!

Too full of awesome really. I love the amount of work they put into these scenes, from breaking Joker's arm (on accident) to having a drink with Dr. Chakras. All of the stuff happening between the shooting is what is captivating me with the sequel to my previous favorite game ever since "Starflight".

And I think cutting Mordin off mid-sentence is about the only way to get a word in.

AHHHHHH I love that moment.

They shouldn't have screwed with Archangel.

Also, "Don't FUCK with Aria."

Landslide:
Friggen pansies. I communicate in short, clipped sentences from my SMG. Headshots are just a more efficient way of driving my point home. Home being the central nerve ganglia buried in the brain, and my point being bullets. Space bullets. Thermal space bullets of well formed, albeit harsh dialect.

Lock n Load.

I can see why they call you an "Artist."

Playbahnosh:
Cutting off Mordin mid-sentence? Why would you do such a thing? Even if I play Paragon, I never do it. For one, I enjoy listening to his ramblings. The assistant girl said it best, he is like a hamster on caffeine. A hamster, that has a brain two sizes too large. I mean, what he says is actually clear and logical (at least it sounds logical anyway), and I love how he deducts huge revelations from the tiniest bits of information by piecing them together in a very convoluted but awesome way. For me, he is the most interesting and memorable character in the ME universe so far (and of course, Tali).

He's like a salarian Sherlock Holmes, only with a better sense of moral character.

I came for the Elvis references, but I stayed for the compelling article. Now I want to play this game and this series... But WHERE will I ever find it?

'looks down dorm hall'

Oh, right.

I say little more intelligent and philosophical conversations and little more believable action.
but we can't get either if simple and stupid people continue making games. they even keep on ignoring doppler effect in sound engines.

Hear, hear.

Well put, good sir. Well put.

Damn, I should have kept my savegames from ME1 (but I never keep savegames).
I'm currently playing with a fresh female paragon in ME2 and I'm already looking forward to the next male renegade I'm gonna play.
I hope I'm not missing out too much because I have nothing to import, but it's not worth going through the bad gameplay of ME1.

Sometimes though the paragon options are too naive and idealistic. Not grasping that what's going on isn't actual slavery, not grasping how it's appropriate to treat Krogans etc.
That's why I didn't manage to play a pure paragon :/

Dhatz:

they even keep on ignoring doppler effect in sound engines.

There has been a doppler effect in some sound engines, you could even turn it off and on. If I remember right, HL2 had this.

I must say I agree. I had a guy here in my dorm who came in every time I was playing Dragon Age and sitting there and he always started whining that I never battled and that nothing ever happened. All I would say to him was "shush, you insolent pup!" while I kept listening to the ramblings of lyriumdamaged dwarves.
I think the only way I could've loved DA:O more was if there had been more dialogue.

JeanLuc761:
Great article but you'd be surprised as to exactly how much conversation there really is.

It likely took BioWare thousands of hours and millions of dollars to produce what amounts to an hour or two of a 20-hour experience

I'm barely past recruiting Garrus and I've already recorded 2 hours and 15 minutes worth of cutscenes and dialogue. And those are just the IMPORTANT pieces.

I wouldn't be surprised in the slightest if the game has a good 8-12 hours worth of conversation, and really, it's what keeps me hooked.

Actually, I've heard that there's something like 26 hours of spoken dialog in ME2. And I believe it. Truly remarkable.

wow. You probably didn't intend it that way, but this was the best advertisement for Mass Effect 2 and Bioware in general ever. I'd sure be curious about their reaction if they catch wind of this article :)

The shooting bits are certainly fun, but I play those so I can get to more talking. Nothing disappoints me more than finding my squad members have nothing new to talk to me about.

And I don't know how anyone could possibly bring themselves to be mean to Tali. Defending her at the trial has got to be my favorite moment in the game so far.

Another added plus to having such good connection and feeling for the characters is to have your action sequences actually worth something. If it was pulled off badly I would be just plowing through rooms of assorted enemies. Instead it felt a smile every time I killed a single enemy during Tali's loyalty mission.

And don't get me started on how I felt on that mission before and after the big action sequence.

Awexsome:
Another added plus to having such good connection and feeling for the characters is to have your action sequences actually worth something. If it was pulled off badly I would be just plowing through rooms of assorted enemies. Instead it felt a smile every time I killed a single enemy during Tali's loyalty mission.

And don't get me started on how I felt on that mission before and after the big action sequence.

This.

Having likable characters to connect with makes the action sequences infinitely better.

For any other game it would be an incredibly generous offer, but in this instance it was a slap in the face. I politely informed him that I would be taking my ball and going home.

"And then I would put it on my library and sit on it and look thoughtful."

I agree, though. I thought that the first Mass Effect was an awesome talking simulator with okay shooty parts. I think the idea of a game that's all talky wouldn't be such a weird thought.

oneplus999:
I don't know about ME2, since I haven't played it yet, but in ME there were a lot of cases where you said the same thing whether you chose the "good guy" or "bad guy" responses, so you might not be missing out on quite as much as you think.

Actually, that's one of the best things I've noticed about ME2. When the conversation would be the same no matter which option you pick, they don't even give you an option, they just have Shepard say it. It tends to happen the most after you do an interrupt or speech check (charm or intimidate), but it happens other times as well. It really feels in keeping with the way that Bioware's been streamlining conversations: first you pick your meaning rather than a verbatim response, now you set up the tone of the conversation.

 

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