The Story Doesn't Matter

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Bretty:
I loved the ending of ME3. Maybe I chose the right one?

I put off playing ME3 for awhile because of all this and I can honestly say... FUCK YOU! You mean I put off playing what was one of the best playing experiences I have had for over a year? The fact that I sat there dreading the ending almost ruined my immersion entirely. To all those that winged and moaned, I hope you get nothing. I hope Bioware changes nothing and they still make a ton of money, they deserve it.

Again, like many other game related issues, people flock to an issue and (IMO) try to polarize. Seriously, I am becoming more and more despondent about 'gamers'. I have been a gamer for nearly 18 years now and only now am I starting to see this as a bad thing.

I read 4 reviews by Game Reviewers and because of their great reviews I figured what the hell. And damn am I glad I did!

I'm with you. I just played through the ending and at the back of my mind was this so called controversy which I'd been avoiding finding out the detail of. When I finally got through I was left wondering what the issue with it actually was. Still, it seems that many 'gamers' (especially on the escapist - compare with the rage over DA2) seem to love histrionic adolescent whining about things that aren't in the least bit important, or, for that matter, are problems.

Tell me, how many people did you lose in the Suicide mission? Did you save Wrex? Who did you lose in ME3?

Humor my curiosity, I want to see if my theory holds true.

What gets me is how the writers would ever approve of that ending or even think it was ok to conclude the series in that way in the first place. A TRUE head scratcher.

The biggest, logical and fair objections fans have with the ending center around the logic and lack of choices reflected throughout the game. Bioware made some big, grandiose promises and produced this Mass Effect: Deus Ex hybrid instead. They obviously lacked the creativity on the Mass Effect team to finish what they started. That ending killed any replayability, for all three games. There is a way to pull off an artistic, depressing ending without compromising established lore and characterization. The entire mood and style of the game even takes a sharp detour in the last ten minutes of the game.

A side note: I appreciate the more devoted fans who started the Retake the ME3 Endings movement, but it seems futile effort. Even if Bioware does re-release endings through dlc, I'm against it on principle. Usually, I enjoy dlc, but not if it's something that should have been in the game in the first place.

Good luck to Bioware. Let's see you guys crawl out of the pit you fell into with this one.

In spite of the ending, I would still give this game 9.5/10.

If the quality of ending fit with the rest of the game then it would have been beyond greatness it would've been pure awsomeness.

But now it's a great game that could have been beyond awsome.

So that's why story isn't taken into account when games are reviewed. There's not enough time, it's difficult, usually people don't care, and if you try the audience will just punish you for it. And this is fine. Most people looking for reviews on day one are just looking for red flags to warn them away from dropping their money on duds.

How can you advise a customer about a game if you don't do the analysis?
This is especially true for games like MassEffect because they do -rely- on their story. There is barely any gameplay in it. If you want replayability, you need to be motivated by the story, there is no other mechanic in these games to pick them up as a hook.
Seriously, who would pick up ME for the gameplay instead of story?!

I object to this practice if this is really the case. I can wait another 2 weeks for the analysis, just get me a competent review instead of pointless vapid drivel of "the textures are muddy and i dont like how the action button is mapped to space".

I've written an article on Gamasutra about this (http://www.gamasutra.com/blogs/AleksanderAdamkiewicz/20111128/90654/Moving_from_Reviews_to_Critique.php) game journalists need to change their approach to writing "reviews" in the first place. If they dont, we will only get garbage as reviews.

Shiro No Uma:

ramboagamemnon:
Stories do matter, especially when it is part of a games USP! The entire game was created around the player making choices that had an effect on the gameplay. Also if a story does not matter lets make top down button mashing beat'em ups and watch Transformer movies. In fact let's give the gaming industry to Michael Bay.

Hey ramboagamemnon,

I'm repeating myself from another post, so bare with me if you had seen it.
I didn't quite see the choices I made having a large effect on game play. Regardless of the choices I did make ultimately the out come would be the same, i.e. continuation of the game. The only thing that would change is how other characters viewed and brought up my morality and by extension I might not be able to get certain resources or finish a mission in a particular way. But I always got to go to the next main mission. I even felt like no matter what I actually chose in the dialogue wheel it would skew Shepard's spoken dialogue just a little to the paragon side. (I could swear I was always asking how I could make everyone's life easier.) Did you feel like your dialog choices also didn't come out exactly as you picked?

Good afternoon Shiro,

I do agree ha an improv,ent would have been if characters did have more of an oppinion about your moral choices. It would have made the game far more challenging if Garrus suddenly uped and left because he was unhappy about my choices. And I suppose I must concede that I confused gameplay with story when I discussed e effect of choices on gameplay. However that is another reason why I feel that stories do, in fact, matter. I was invested I playing the game because I cared for the characters and wanted to understand more about the universe ey enhabitd. I very strongly disagree with the assertion made in Shamus's article that most people do not care about the story and want a good gameplay experience.

Personally I find that I must be involved in a story to motivate me playing a game. Hence my dislike of mortal combat, angry birds ect... Also to say that story does not matter is to say nothing of such games with good story telling such as Fallout 3, Deus Ex Human Revolution or Portal. here I can agree with you that most of the time I am spent asking other NPC's "how was your day?" or "was there anything else I can do for you?". Innovation in gameplay and story telling will hopefully evolve character interaction option but for now it's better than only having "fight" and "Finnish him!"

Sincerly the King of Kings :)

I do agree an improment would....

Spot on as always.

Although my issue is that Bioware don't take this into account when they try addressing the fans like they are imbeciles with statements like "We got fantastic reviews for the game" when responding to criticism of the ending.

FFHAuthor:

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Bretty:
I loved the ending of ME3. Maybe I chose the right one?

I put off playing ME3 for awhile because of all this and I can honestly say... FUCK YOU! You mean I put off playing what was one of the best playing experiences I have had for over a year? The fact that I sat there dreading the ending almost ruined my immersion entirely. To all those that winged and moaned, I hope you get nothing. I hope Bioware changes nothing and they still make a ton of money, they deserve it.

Again, like many other game related issues, people flock to an issue and (IMO) try to polarize. Seriously, I am becoming more and more despondent about 'gamers'. I have been a gamer for nearly 18 years now and only now am I starting to see this as a bad thing.

I read 4 reviews by Game Reviewers and because of their great reviews I figured what the hell. And damn am I glad I did!

I'm with you. I just played through the ending and at the back of my mind was this so called controversy which I'd been avoiding finding out the detail of. When I finally got through I was left wondering what the issue with it actually was. Still, it seems that many 'gamers' (especially on the escapist - compare with the rage over DA2) seem to love histrionic adolescent whining about things that aren't in the least bit important, or, for that matter, are problems.

Tell me, how many people did you lose in the Suicide mission? Did you save Wrex? Who did you lose in ME3?

Humor my curiosity, I want to see if my theory holds true.

I saved everyone in ME2. However, I created a new shepherd for ME3 so who I saved in ME2 didn't really matter.

In ME3 I only really lost Tali when I chose not to intervene when she killed herself after the geth wiped out her fleet etc (I had enough renegade points to save Mordin even though I didn't cure the genophage and I didn't recruit Ashley in the first place).

I only ever took EDI and Garrus on missions except where that wasn't possible. I was 95% renegade, however I chose the control the reapers ending. Now my only issue with the ending is how EDI's synthetic body managed to get off the ship with Joker if it was destroyed on the suicide run - but I really don't get the level of hysteria about this.

It doesn't matter to me that story arcs (like the excellent genophage and geth arcs where I really had to think about what to do) didn't affect the ending; what mattered was how my choice would affect my shepherd - and on the latter I think bioware did very well.

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I saved everyone in ME2. However, I created a new shepherd for ME3 so who I saved in ME2 didn't really matter.

In ME3 I only really lost Tali when I chose not to intervene when she killed herself after the geth wiped out her fleet etc (I had enough renegade points to save Mordin even though I didn't cure the genophage and I didn't recruit Ashley in the first place).

I only ever took EDI and Garrus on missions except where that wasn't possible. I was 95% renegade, however I chose the control the reapers ending. Now my only issue with the ending is how EDI's synthetic body managed to get off the ship with Joker if it was destroyed on the suicide run - but I really don't get the level of hysteria about this.

It doesn't matter to me that story arcs (like the excellent genophage and geth arcs where I really had to think about what to do) didn't affect the ending; what mattered was how my choice would affect my shepherd - and on the latter I think bioware did very well.

Interesting, you're the first to buck the trend when it comes to ending approval related to gameplay. I've been asking as many people as I can find who liked the ending about how they played and overwhelmingly I've been finding that people who liked the ending lost a large number of characters through the course of the game. Things like the Ashley/Kaiden death on Virmire were moot, but things like killing Wrex on Virmire, losing a large number of people on the Suicide mission, losing familiar characters in ME3, were pretty consistent with ending approval.

It all seemed to feed into a darker, grimmer, inevitability that the ending had. You're the first person to say that you didn't lose people in the Suicide mission and only lost Tali. I'm assuming since you didn't mention Virmire you're a PS3 player?

Most of the people I've talked to who didn't find the ending satisfying were the ones who saved everyone and only lost people to scripted 'inevitable' events. (Jenkins, Kaiden/Ashley, then dependent upon play, Legion/Thane/Mordin) Also players who used conversation to avoid battles and resolve issues (negotiating with Saren, talking down Wrex, forging peace between Geth and Quarian, curing the Genophage and 'changing' the Krogan).

That all seemed to move the mindset of the player more towards a hopeful 'we can do this, we've done the impossible so many other times' mindset that has you feeling that you can walk out of this and win it like you did in ME1 and ME2.

But all matters aside, I'm just curious about the reasons that people approve and like the endings, I appreciate the indulgence of my curiosity.

ramboagamemnon:
I do agree an improment would....

Yeah, I also sit with the camp of story mattering. I still have friends that haven't played any of the Call of Duty single player and they own all of them back to the first Modern Warfare on. That always surprises me, but they love it for the Multi-Player. I'm not saying that those game are or aren't bastions of great story telling, but the last one left me feeling flat and confused and when I ask why they loved it so much they said that the story didn't matter. They are much more social gamers then I am. I don't think I would argue that they appreciate game mechanics over substance or that the tend to let things slide, they just really like having other people to share the experience and as long as it's functional everything else "seem to" slide. By the way, I love that you brought up the Portal games as an example. They are just phenomenal.

Yours,
Muddy Mud Skipper

I tend to think game reviews are the biggest barrier to games being thought of as art. They serve the purpose of letting you know whether some is just terrible but they have nothing to say about the actual quality of the experience - at least not anymore. I can remember reviews that actually let me know how it felt to play a game but that was a long time ago.

This also explains why most reviews are also full of shit, the reviewer simply doesn't have the time to properly play the game and write up a in-depth review in time for the review to still be relevant for early buyers.

This is why I pay almost no attention to reviews from major websites, as i'm not someone who buys on day 1, or even year 1 in many cases, so these reviews are doubly useless.

What I like to see in a review is:

1) that the reviewer has played the game inside out, and for a larger RPG that could mean 100+ hours of gameplay.

2) That patches and mods have been taken into account (I dont want to know about day 1 problems if i'm buying a year down the line and the bugs have been patched out)

3) I like to see lots of opinion, lots of subjective content to the review, even if i dont agree with the reviewers taste you can often learn a lot more about a game from people's informed opinions than from a basic technical review.

This is why I like gamespot, the feature reviews are ok, but its the user reviews and ratings where it really shines for me.

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