What other shooters can learn from Mass Effect

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For me, the problem with most shooters are their lackluster storylines. They're usually too short, don't have as many unique characters, and rely more on spectacle than substance. The Mass Effect trilogy is the polar-opposite, if only because it's an RPG/shooter hybrid, rather than just another shooter that happens to have a good storyline.

Also, when you look at Commander Shepard and compare him to Master Chief, Marcus Fenix, the Doom marine, and almost every main-protagonist of the Call of Duty games, Shepard somehow has the most teammates out of all those heroes, and the most well-written at that! Marcus has Dom, Damon, and the Coletrain, while Master Chief had Cortana and the Arbiter. However, the Doom marine has no allies at all except in co-op multiplayer, while the main-heroes of each CoD installment have blank-slates for allies, just like those heroes themselves.

Not so much with Shepard. He once had six teammates in Mass Effect 1, two of whom would become teammates again in ME2 alongside eight new ones (ten if you count Zaeed and Kasumi). And, in ME3, those two teammates (Garrus and Tali) plus Kaiden/Ashley and Liara all return to Shepard's side, plus two new teammates, including James Vega, EDI, and Javik if we were to include him in DLC, as they replace Urdnot Wrex, the squadmate left to die on Virmire (once again, Kaiden or Ash), and the original eight ME2 teammates. Thus, the total number of teammates Shepard gathers in the entire trilogy is sixteen, or nineteen if we were to include Zaeed, Kasumi, and Javik.

If there is anything other shooters can learn from Mass Effect, it's to create ensemble casts with strong, well-written personalities and motives, rather than a bunch of disposable bullet-sponges with no names or faces. Granted, Halo already did that by giving the Chief Cortana and Arbiter, while Marcus has Dom, Augustus, and Damon. However, I felt Bungie/343 Industries and Epic Games could do a lot better than that, just like BioWare when they gave Shepard his own team of heroes. Two/three allies is nice, but I feel it's not as nice as having sixteen-to-nineteen teammates.

Not to mention, I enjoy games with large, well-written ensemble casts, most especially party-driven RPGs. Having many characters within the same game is almost like having multiple sides of the same story, as each ally/enemy has his own reasons for either helping or opposing the main-protagonist.

Because of ME being a Shooter/RPG, it can afford to have many dialogues that allow you to get attached to characters. A pure shooter can't have that much dialogue. A shooter shouldn't keep the player from shooting at stuff for too long. Because of very little time devoted for dialogue, it's better to have fewer characters for the player to interact with, to allow the player to get attached.

I usually prefer the main character in a shooter to be alone, since AI allies either get in the way, or do your job for you. It's very hard to balance. There are some good tactical shooters out there, like Republic Commando and SWAT 4 that do manage balance it, but not many games manage that.

A good example for my argument is Half Life 2: You have allies that you don't see for most of the game, and who don't actually converse with you (since Gordon can't/doesn't talk), but I know that many people, such as myself, liked those characters very much.

Yes, Doom would be so much better of it had RPG mechanics and a romance subplot _

The reason Mass Effect has better written characters is because, you as a player, have a lot of downtime not shooting stuff to actually get to know them.

It really depends on what kind of shooter you are making.

If you are making a shooter about killing massive droves of squishy enemies with a cornucopia of interesting weapons like say DOOM, Serious Sam, Painkiller, Bulletstorm etc. Then a more Mass Effect-y downtime conversation system wouldn't help as that is not what the player is there for. They are there to wreck shit up with guns nothing more.

But it can work for games like COD, Halo, and Gears who's more quote on quote "realistic" setting lends itself to more charecter drama as opposed circlestrafey glorious shooty action.

I agree with you that alot of modern day person shooters have an identity crises. Many try to be more than mindless gun wank but end up trying to cram giant action setpieces instead of trying to flesh out charecters, setting or plot. Think about the truely great shooters of this generation Spec Ops the Line, Half Life 2, and Bioshock (I really consider Bioshock a shooter with RPG elements as opposed to an actual action-RPG). Also at RPG-Shooter hybrids like Mass Effect and Deus Ex Human Revolutions

Spec Ops The Line had fleshed out charecters, themes (textual, subtextual, and metatextual) and strong plot twists coalescing with real charecter drama stemming from the charecters increasing loss of sanity.

Half Life 2 bedecks it's setting with a ton of little details to flesh out the setting and charecters to be picked up by the keen eye.

Bioshock told the story of Rapture through audio tapes and Sploicer conversations giving us a glimpse of the attraction one might have for a truely objectivist society and how it failed.

Mass Effect ameliorated some of the wierder part of it's sci-fi setting by populating it's universe with intresting and likable charecters in order to make the player want to believe that universe exist henceforth raising immersion and making it feel like we were actually fighting for something (and allowing me personally to excuse some of the ludicrously vast plot holes in the trilogy, this is what movie buffs like to call the "Joss Whedon quality").

Deus Ex Human Revolutions gave us a topical glance on the effects transhumanism could have on our society through giving each strata of the fictional world a perspective for the player to ponder while finding the best route to the objective possible.

Now imagine if a game like COD, Battlefield, or Medal of Honor some of these steps. Then we would actually care about the fates of the people you put in those big flashy action set pieces you're always banging on about EA/Activision therefore making the more memorable and less like a fireworks display.

So yeah alot of the quote on quote "realistic" could learn from a game like Mass Effect. Just because you have a simplistic story doesn't mean it has to be a meaningless action fest.

Two distinct genres. What makes a shooter a "shooter" and what makes an RPG an "RPG" are different things. Adding more teammates in shooters doesn't actually improve them. In fact, just take a look at ME - you don't have a lot of teammates - only two at a time. Disregarding the non-shooty periods, of course. Having a large cast of AI friends is...well have you played a game with an AI team? It's bad. In ME 1. you have only two teammates 2. you get to choose those with complimenting skills 3. you keep tight control over their actions 4. you even have pause mechanic for more control.

In regards to the cast - Shepard gets more downtime. Shooters don't. In shooters the pacing is fast and is focusing on the action. The name suggests what the main objective is - shoot. That's it. Even more apparent in the old school roots - take a look at Sirius Sam (as a more pure and recent example) or Quake and the like. You go in, grab a gun, make everything you see into a bullet deposit. Yes, the formula has been refined but at its core it stays the same - get apparatuses that fire projectiles of some description, deposit projectiles into enemies of some description. That's the core of it - there is little time to stop and chat with somebody about their hopes, dreams and what trivial task they need to do but can't be bothered to.

Well, saying that, Unreal 2 managed to be Mass Effect before Mass Effect. To an extent: you had a crew and a ship where you went between performing long range perforations.

Saying shooters must be more like ME is like saying that coffee must be more like pizza - it needs to have pickles, because pizzas with pickles is better. Different things, different focuses.

Although...I might try coffee with pickles, just in case it's good.

Daystar Clarion:
Yes, Doom would be so much better of it had RPG mechanics and a romance subplot _

The reason Mass Effect has better written characters is because, you as a player, have a lot of downtime not shooting stuff to actually get to know them.

Downtime which was significantly reduced as time went on in favor of more chest high walls. I found a proportionate drop in writing quality as the amount of shooting galleries went up.

I think it can all depend. The old Medal of Honor games never needed companions or a major character progression plot for the protagonist, they were best served by focusing on the gameplay and linking up cool, interesting levels while you progressed through the war. They still managed to give some really poignant moments in the game by other means, like in Frontline with the Nazi's harassing elderly Dutch civilians during Operation Market Garden the pinned down troops in Arnhem Knights and even the Nazi radio operator's message at the end of the second last level.

The new Medal of Honor Warfighter tried to focus more on the characters of the protagonist and his companions, and although most people seemed to like this focus, the game was heavily let down by disappointing gameplay choices and a lacklustre storyplot.

But the Brothers In Arms games arguably take the best of both worlds, giving proper characterisation to all your teammates, and more than that, making them essential to your survival via the squad based gameplay mechanics, while still delivering on the action and engaging gameplay to let you enjoy playing. The only problem being that this means it's not a 'true' FPS as much of your gameplay is spent getting your squads into position and having them shoot the enemies rather than you just shooting them, due to this it was never able to achieve pure mainstream appeal and many people would find the gameplay too taxing or boring, but it does what it does really well, and uses character progression to achieve that.

I don't think it's necessary for an FPS to have character progression in it's protagonists and their companions, I think it's still possible to get people invested in characters and to create real emotional moments through clever set pieces in the gameplay without having to create full backstories and personal plotlines for the characters, but if done right it can really add something to the story.

Doom972:

I usually prefer the main character in a shooter to be alone, since AI allies either get in the way, or do your job for you. It's very hard to balance. There are some good tactical shooters out there, like Republic Commando and SWAT 4 that do manage balance it, but not many games manage that.

That's because they are tactical shooters (well, SWAT 4 is, Republic Commando not so much), which means that your teammates are supposed to be able to your job for you since, from a story standpoint, they are just as capable as you. It would be very weird if they didn't. Your role is (supposed) to be more of a commander of a *unit*, not a one man army with henchmen.

Daystar Clarion:
Yes, Doom would be so much better of it had RPG mechanics and a romance subplot _

The reason Mass Effect has better written characters is because, you as a player, have a lot of downtime not shooting stuff to actually get to know them.

Good points, which lead me to my larger point.

The central question should not be whether other shooters should be more like Mass Effect (or vice versa), but rather what type of shooter it is trying to be and then judge it on those merits.

After all, we don't fault SWAT 4 for having no overarching storyline or character developement, because that is not what the game is about and trying to be. It is a squad based tactical shooter that simulates how a special units of a modern police force respond to and resolve certain situations. That's why that scoring system at the end of the mission exists, to give you an idea how good you were in acting like a proper SWAT unit would. You don't have to deal with a grand conspiracy, emotional trauma, or world shattering revelations. You simply have to do the job of a special police unit.
Everthing, from the briefing, the gear available to you, the commands you can give your squad and the scoring at the end reinforces the idea that you are a SWAT team and you are supposed to do what a SWAT team does.

Similarly, SpecOps: The Line is made the way it was for a very specific purpose. It plays like your standard run-of-the-mill MMS, with all the cover mechanics, the stereotypical squadmates and legions of enemies to be mowed down. But it also contextualizes these exact happenings in it's story. It sets up this all too familiar scenario to examine and look at it from a more logical, eality based standpoint.
It sets up all these MMS tropes and then drops actual *people* in it to explore how they might react. It tries to make a point about moral ambiguity and shows what would probably happen if people in the real world actually acted the way Walker and his team do. They march on, no matter what, killing anyone who gets in their way, utterly convinced that they are in the right and completely informed about their decisions and their consequences.
And when things don't work out, they keep going in the hope that, somehow, by the end it will all work out, because that's how this works, right? Just keep killing "bad guys" until there are none left and all is well.

Both of these games are very different games(even very different types of shooters), but we can recognise them as good games, because they have something very important in common.
They have idea(s) behind them. They have a point to make. And they are designed around those in order to keep everything cohesive. A concept tying everything together.

Now on to the AAA shooters.

For example: What exactly is the idea or concept behind Gears of War?
Is it supposed to be mindless, but still well designed, action gameplay like DOOM?
Not really, otherwise they wouldn't have bothered with giving you a useless squad, characters and a story that regularly interrupts you with cutscenes.
Ist supposed to be tactical?
I don't think so, otherwise they would have given you more options to control your squad and made them have a much larger impact on the gameplay.
Is the story the central focus?
If it is, why is it so inconsequential? Sure, it interrupts you every now and again, but it doesn't really have much of an impact on the game itself or the characters. Everyone is a gruff soldier with a more or less tragic backstory, who doesn't seem to care all that much about what is happening and why, much less reflect on it or be changed by it. The story itself is just about you fighting a hostile alien species (with maybe an inconsequential twist at the end).
It seems like more of an excuse to get you all those neat locations the designers spent so much time developing on.
(We need a MacGuffin from location A, bring a plot device to location B etc.)

What about cover based shooting? After all, it popularized it, surely that is the central focus?
First of all, it strikes as kind of strange to develope your game around such a narrow concept. That might work well with indie puzzle platformers, but shooters, like inversion or fractured, lose their novelty pretty quickly. Shooters are, at their core, still about shooting things, whereas puzzle platformers can really design all of their content around a single idea and explore it in depth. (like time travel or different "dimensions" in Braid or Time Fcuk)

But GoW doesn't even do that very well. Almost every type of cover shields you almost completely. Furniture breaks, but paper-thin walls stop every caliber and explosions alike. All types of cover come in two flavours: chest high, or full cover. There are no ways to get around or through cover that isn't available in almost every other type of shooter.

Gears of War just doesn't seem to have much of an identity of it's own.
Which is not to say that you need a single, or at least a narrow set of ideas/points/concepts to design your game around.
You could make SpecOps a simulation like SWAT 4.On one hand you would lose the meta commentary on the MMS, on the other you would gain deeper gameplay mechanics. But the the points it makes about military adventurism and morality would still stand.

In contrast, GoW has nothing to say, no new or even interesting gameplay mechanics and the characters and story are flat and unintersting on an intellectual as well as an emotional level.

tl;dr:

Shooters should look to other shooters with similar ideas/concepts to learn, not ones that try to do totally different things.

AAA shooters like GoW don't know what they're trying to be, so they try to hide their deficiencies behind spectacle. That's why they're bad.

I thought it was the shooter part that was the worst part of Mass Effect. It was just hiding in cover, shoot, hide and reload, use your powers, etc.

I just wanted to finish the shooting parts to get to the story!

Not to make a shit ending?

The multiplayer for Mass Effect 3 works because it requires the player to work as a team. Without that, it would just suck.

EternalNothingness:
If there is anything other shooters can learn from Mass Effect, it's to create ensemble casts with strong, well-written personalities and motives, rather than a bunch of disposable bullet-sponges with no names or faces.

Uhhh. They probably don't need to learn TO do that... they need to learn HOW to do that.

And actually, no they don't.

Mass Effect is not a shooter. It's a Third-Person-Shooter and RPG hybrid. The point of hybrids is to easily mix tropes and standards of multiple genres. RPGs are typically heavy on the interesting characters, because they move slowly enough to let them develop. By definition, a good shooter can't, because a "good shooter" is typically breakneck paced, with cuts in pace being moments of tactics, neither situation allowing for good character development.

Mixing the two genres resulted in a shooter with many, MANY moments of slowdown. If it wasn't for the RPG standards added in, it would have been a spectacularly boring shooter. Shooters can't afford to slow down and do ensemble casts.

If anything, what YOU should have learned from Mass Effect is that you should avoid shooters in favor of RPGs and hybrids.

from what i've been told ... now that Halo is in 343i's hands they are embracing the 'expanded universe' mean this new trilogy could end up as you suggested, more, better written characters, existing characters getting more flushed out, and so now

I wouldn't be that specific - the difference between Mass Effect and all the other games you've mentioned is that Mass Effect actually has a story. In fact, it's the major selling point. That's simply not the case for those other games.

Doom, for example, is the classic example of "we don't need no stinking story, we're too busy having fun shooting demons in the face". In fact having squadmates or other NPCs hanging around talking to you would almost certainly ruin the atmosphere of a game like Doom.

Yea, romances and choices in cinematic dialog that lead to the same conclusion is certainly is very important in games, especially in modern generic shooters.image

Playing shooters for cutscenes - who would want that ? Certainly, they can't learn from the action part in ME.

Yeah, well, I think we don't agree on that.

To me, ME3 is story overload, and I find the story to be a prime example of top-down asshattery. Director/manager says "GO!" and all the writers go on a writing spree, killing egoes and braincells in the process, butchering the set, setting, scenario, characters and they sooner or later have common sense gibbeted, out of spite or because they plain went loopy, as creative folks don't handle crunchtime especially well. It's worse than the material of all late night shows accumulated into one giant wad of soggy paper and spittle. It detracts from my shooting experience, and it annoys the living, lavender-scented crap out of me.

Also, the element of 'romance', or anything goes soft porn doesn't deepen that story for me, it makes me wary of being too kind to people, and I plain don't fancy having intercourse with everyone just because I like to keep things calm, cool and nice. That's beyond bullshit, that's mountains of elephant doo doo.

Perhaps we should learn the word "genre" to make the distinction between an RPG and an FPS.

Mass Effect is an RPG that happens to use third perdon shooting for its gameplay segments. Forcing its style of narrative into other genres is like forcing a cactus down somebody's throat. Results won't be pretty.

I think this should be renamed into 'What other shooters can learn from Spec Ops: The Line'.

Daystar Clarion:
Yes, Doom would be so much better of it had RPG mechanics and a romance subplot _

The reason Mass Effect has better written characters is because, you as a player, have a lot of downtime not shooting stuff to actually get to know them.

And, of course, mountains of exposition. Because exposition=good characters.

Zachary Amaranth:

Daystar Clarion:
Yes, Doom would be so much better of it had RPG mechanics and a romance subplot _

The reason Mass Effect has better written characters is because, you as a player, have a lot of downtime not shooting stuff to actually get to know them.

And, of course, mountains of exposition. Because exposition=good characters.

Also, codex entries.

Because an encyclopaedic knowledge of lore is integral to character development.

This is a fascinating discussion. Whenever a topic approaches ME as an RPG, people bitch that it isn't 'enough' of an RPG and insist on comparing it to radically different games, both from Bioware and not, that have intentionally made very different design decisions because they were never trying to be the same thing.

But then you have someone discussing ME as a shooter, and suddenly everyone starts recognizing that there are sub-categories and acceptable deviations in genre definitions, and that ME did what it did simply because it wanted to be it's own kind of thing.

Can this be how we talk all the time? Please?

The first thing you mentioned was storylines, not surprisingly. Mass Effect is chock full of MacGuffins, carrot dangling, fantastic racism as a plot device, children as drama, "push here to end the plot" buttons, as I call them, and "sex sells", and that's only off the top of my head.

If there's anything other games can learn from Mass Effect here, it's what not to do. There's no shortage of Bioware fans, but their storytelling is outright embarrassing a hell of a lot more than a respected developer frequently cited as a paragon of video game exposition should be.

To be perfectly fair, while I thought the setting, antagonists, and most of the protagonists were as gut-wrenchingly stock and stereotypical as humanly possible, I did like Wrex and Garrus, particularly the former, quite a lot, because of how they were characterized. It's also worth noting that being gut-wrenchingly stock and stereotypical can actually go in a work's favor if they're presented in an interesting way, even if this series failed at that in my opinion.

Mike Richards:
This is a fascinating discussion. Whenever a topic approaches ME as an RPG, people bitch that it isn't 'enough' of an RPG and insist on comparing it to radically different games, both from Bioware and not, that have intentionally made very different design decisions because they were never trying to be the same thing.

But then you have someone discussing ME as a shooter, and suddenly everyone starts recognizing that there are sub-categories and acceptable deviations in genre definitions, and that ME did what it did simply because it wanted to be it's own kind of thing.

Can this be how we talk all the time? Please?

It's the whole...bad/weak RPG mechanics being an excuse for the bad combat/gameplay mechanics and vice-versa thing again.

The standard of combat isn't very high in 90 something % of action RPGs, but on the other hand there are rarely deep RPG mechanics in action games.

That's why (for the most part) I'd rather play a true action game, or a true RPG, and not a hybrid, like Skyrim or ME, say.

Anthraxus:

Mike Richards:
This is a fascinating discussion. Whenever a topic approaches ME as an RPG, people bitch that it isn't 'enough' of an RPG and insist on comparing it to radically different games, both from Bioware and not, that have intentionally made very different design decisions because they were never trying to be the same thing.

But then you have someone discussing ME as a shooter, and suddenly everyone starts recognizing that there are sub-categories and acceptable deviations in genre definitions, and that ME did what it did simply because it wanted to be it's own kind of thing.

Can this be how we talk all the time? Please?

It's the whole...bad/weak RPG mechanics being an excuse for the bad combat/gameplay mechanics and vice-versa thing again.

The standard of combat isn't very high in 90 something % of action RPGs, but on the other hand there are rarely deep RPG mechanics in action games.

That's why (for the most part) I'd rather play a true action game, or a true RPG, and not a hybrid, like Skyrim or ME, say.

It's totally possible for a game to try and cross genre lines to excuse failings by creating different expectations, but it's equally possible for a design to try to be different, not bad or weak, and failing to meet the expectations of the players because of what they think a genre entry must be.

As far as hybrids go, Borderlands is still the only thing I've played that really feels like it nails the feel of both sides of the genre divide. Everything else still falls on the side of an RPG that happens to use guns instead of swords (the original Deus Ex, Fallout 3), or a shooter that happens to open up some choice and mechanics beyond point and kill (Bioshock). That can be fine, but if it's not what you're expecting then they really just don't work. I can't stand the combat in Deus Ex for the for this very reason. It tries to be an FPS but its RPG elements make it a terrible shooter, and I probably would have enjoyed it much more if it had used, say, VATS, or even been isometric.

I feel like Rock Paper Shotgun got it right when they called ME2 'guns & conversation'. I honestly can't begin to say which side of the line between RPG and FPS it falls more on, and I think it's much more comfortable going off and being its own familiar but independent thing.

I don't think any part of that is trying to cover up for a deficiency, I think it's just what Bioware wanted to make. So it always annoys me when people say it's too much of a shooter or doesn't give you enough choices because really, who's to say what it 'should' be like? No one would be comparing Mass Effect to Baulder's Gate or KOTOR if ME had been made by Epic or Bungie or Valve. It's not trying to be Dragon Age and it's not trying to be Gears of War. While some may have strong preferences about what they'd want it to be, it starts to feel like criticizing Halo for not being an RTS simply because you like playing those more and Bungie used to make RTSs so hey, it much be doing something wrong.

Captcha: Spin Doctor

... shut up...

actually what I think shooters could learn ME is to allow me to shoot black holes out of my hands. my enjoyment of any game rises significantly when i get to shoot black holes.
seriously all i want in shooters in SP is creative guns and way to kill stuff, since most fuck up the attempts to do good story anyway(unless they are actually another game and just use the shooting mechanics to do their combat)

A lot of games that are just straight FPS shooters tend to have your character be involved in the military or some government organization, and in that case you can really only just go from mission to mission.

Now, you could have a game that is more of a, say, pulpy adventure romp like Uncharted, that could afford you a lot of the necessary side situations that don't require any guns to be fired.

Daystar Clarion:
Yes, Doom would be so much better of it had RPG mechanics and a romance subplot _

The reason Mass Effect has better written characters is because, you as a player, have a lot of downtime not shooting stuff to actually get to know them.

Besides, Mass Effect, just in terms of a shooter, is bad. As far as I know, no one plays the ME games for the boring cover based, bland corridor shooting. They play them specifically for the down time moments.

EternalNothingness:
For me, the problem with most shooters are their lackluster storylines. They're usually too short, don't have as many unique characters, and rely more on spectacle than substance. The Mass Effect trilogy is the polar-opposite, if only because it's an RPG/shooter hybrid, rather than just another shooter that happens to have a good storyline.

Also, when you look at Commander Shepard and compare him to Master Chief, Marcus Fenix, the Doom marine, and almost every main-protagonist of the Call of Duty games, Shepard somehow has the most teammates out of all those heroes, and the most well-written at that! Marcus has Dom, Damon, and the Coletrain, while Master Chief had Cortana and the Arbiter. However, the Doom marine has no allies at all except in co-op multiplayer, while the main-heroes of each CoD installment have blank-slates for allies, just like those heroes themselves.

Not so much with Shepard. He once had six teammates in Mass Effect 1, two of whom would become teammates again in ME2 alongside eight new ones (ten if you count Zaeed and Kasumi). And, in ME3, those two teammates (Garrus and Tali) plus Kaiden/Ashley and Liara all return to Shepard's side, plus two new teammates, including James Vega, EDI, and Javik if we were to include him in DLC, as they replace Urdnot Wrex, the squadmate left to die on Virmire (once again, Kaiden or Ash), and the original eight ME2 teammates. Thus, the total number of teammates Shepard gathers in the entire trilogy is sixteen, or nineteen if we were to include Zaeed, Kasumi, and Javik.

If there is anything other shooters can learn from Mass Effect, it's to create ensemble casts with strong, well-written personalities and motives, rather than a bunch of disposable bullet-sponges with no names or faces. Granted, Halo already did that by giving the Chief Cortana and Arbiter, while Marcus has Dom, Augustus, and Damon. However, I felt Bungie/343 Industries and Epic Games could do a lot better than that, just like BioWare when they gave Shepard his own team of heroes. Two/three allies is nice, but I feel it's not as nice as having sixteen-to-nineteen teammates.

Not to mention, I enjoy games with large, well-written ensemble casts, most especially party-driven RPGs. Having many characters within the same game is almost like having multiple sides of the same story, as each ally/enemy has his own reasons for either helping or opposing the main-protagonist.

ME has the WORST story ever.

The tech itself is space magic masquerading as "hardcore science."

The "faster than the speed of light" crap is EXTRAORDINARILY FLAWED. Often throwing time dilation out the window just because of the cool factor.

In fact, Mass Effect throws all laws of physics out the window, giving handicaps JUST when the story demands some tension.

The attitudes, and mentalities are NONSENSICAL AT BEST. Often BIPOLAR at worst.

Characters change motivations, priorities, and act in the most dumb fuck way possible to pass problems that SHOULD NOT exist onto you. Forcing you into pigeon holes that have no logical reason to be there.

The military strategy in the ENTIRE UNIVERSE is a JOKE.

"Oh no, we cant leave or we will LOSE PALAVEN!" when PALAVEN IS ALREADY GONE is the most jarring plot hole in the entire story. Turning it into a GIANT FETCH QUEST. Get krogan shit for turians so turians can give their shit to some one else who will now help you.

Guerrilla tactics also ONLY work on normal militaries, not huge killing machines that you can't kill without a fleet of ships or a nuclear missile to the hades cannon.

The council and practically EVERYONE is a contrarian just to "drive the story." Right from the start.

The story's ending was nonsensical and focused only on theatrics, not logic.

Even the characters were bland as hell and often archetypical.

Mass Effect has a cliche plot and cast. Many other shooters had MUCH better plot and lore, and even more RPGs had better lore and plotlines.

Oh god I've stumbled into an Eternal Nothingness thread!

image

OT - Dude, it's been stated many many times here, but just because a game has shooting in it, doesn't mean it's a shooter. Things that work for RPG/shooters won't always work for a full on shooter.

It can learn to use cutscenes sparingly. Also, all games should have Biotic Charge in them.

How powerful a fan base can be. And also how to make characters you as the player care for.

maninahat:

Daystar Clarion:
Yes, Doom would be so much better of it had RPG mechanics and a romance subplot _

The reason Mass Effect has better written characters is because, you as a player, have a lot of downtime not shooting stuff to actually get to know them.

As far as I know, no one plays the ME games for the boring cover based, bland corridor shooting. They play them specifically for the down time moments.

Hello there. I play the game for both.

OT: Not every shooter needs a gripping story. I don't think Bulletstorm would have been as fun if the characters cried about their problems all of the time.

I don't understand how the characters in Gears are underdeveloped. The comics do a good job of covering everybody and their past and why they do what they do.

It's actually what I loved about the Mass Effect games was not the over-arching story, but all the little stories with all your characters. They actually felt like they were real people and they would react differently based on what you did, as opposed to the yes-men of so many other games.

Again though, like a lot of people said, this is only because Mass Effect has so much down time between all the missions for you to get to know them as people. That's something a lot of games lack, but is something I don't want every game to have. (I very much like having things like Mass Effect for a story, then Borderlands when I just want to blow heads off with a sniper rifle).

To your point about having 19 people. Honestly, it's a little excessive. You don't need that many, you just need 5 or 6 well developed characters in a game-universe that is consistent and feels alive. That's what the Mass Effect series had.

Daystar Clarion:
Yes, Doom would be so much better of it had RPG mechanics and a romance subplot _

The reason Mass Effect has better written characters is because, you as a player, have a lot of downtime not shooting stuff to actually get to know them.

I think that Mass Effect is more of an FPSRPG where as other FPS games are just simply FPS games. There's a difference between a shooter that wants to fit as much action in as possible and a shooter that tries to tell a lot of story while giving you a personalized story with your choice in romances.

Given that this isn't an excuse for short storylines and sometimes complete abandonment of singleplayer *cough* black ops *cough*, but I would hate for every FPS game in existance to be an FPSRPG.

The good things about Mass Effect have nothing to do with the shooting. The shooting actively takes away from the game in some parts.

What do most people think when they think Mass Effect? Story. Dialogue. Characters.

Shooters can't learn from Mass Effect, because shooters focus on Competition, viscerality, fast-paced action, and accomplishment. Stopping after a section of sniping or madly running and gunning for a heart to heart doesn't make the game deeper, it actively takes away from the parts the fans like. And, whilst you may dismiss the casts of shooters, plenty of players become attached to Captain Price, McMillan, Marcus Fenix (And his crew), and Johnson. The depth they lack as characters is made up for by the heat of the moment action.

The many flaws in shooters aren't a result of not expanding characters, and having deeply expanded characters doesn't make shooters better.

For a better example than Mass Effect, Human Revolution has interesting characters, which are a sideline to the story. Involving yourself with them is optional. But again, when people think of HR, they think of exploration, of problem solving, and of story. They don't think of it as a shooter, and most people see running and gunning your way through it as the wrong way to play.

I think if you want to get to the heart of the problems with shooters, we need to start with the protagonist. Being railroaded by people constantly yelling at you to do the next thing, whilst your character says nothing is annoying. At least give them a voice, and give the player some license to do stuff.

I look at games like the Crysis series and Half Life 2, and they manage (Though they too are hamstrung by the silent protagonists), to have open ended solutions to problems. You get to time it, there are moments of silence, and you get to choose how to go about your goal, whether it is just a choice between rifles, or special weapons, or stealth approaches, you get to choose what you do, rather than the "Get behind this cover here/take down those snipers/dodge the fucking grenade" that some shooters have devolved to. Having a character that can actually talk, with actual options in gameplay, would in my mind, make a better shooter. It's ok to feel like we've got a lack of agency when we're playing a character's story. But that character shouldn't feel like he has no choice, because then we're just playing the sidekicks. We want to be Batman, not Robin.

w9496 mentioned Bulletstorm. This did this well (Though not great). It gave the player choice in approach, novel gameplay, and characters who actually were agents in their own story. If the only time I hear my character is him moaning "The fucking numbers" before following some more important character, the game is no longer a story about the protagonist, and that's alienating me from the plot.

I never got into Mass Effect, the dynamics and gameplay were fine, was OK with that - the thing that put me off was the dragged out storyline. That's my opinion, of course I realise that a lot of people really liked the storyline, and I didn't really have the patience to give it a proper try.

One game that I keep banging on about, is Farcry2, I thought the plot in that was pretty cool, the way you had allies with defined personalities. Despite being a fairly repetitive game, the way the whole game worked suited me fine, even when your not 100% certain what your actions caused, that just made the game more intruiging for me. It's like Farcry2 let me play the game, exactly how I wanted to play it - Mass Effect played like a party political broadcast to me. Looking forward to FC3 of course.

As far as other games learning from it - well I'd disagree, I don't see Mass Effect as a FPS, its an RPG that happens to be encased in an FPS, like Fallout3/NV - it's a genre on it's own, it's popular enough to be classified as it's own thing. We don't need RPG elements in pure FPS games, not even allies - because the only thing allies are capable of doing in FPS games is getting in the way. Ideally, I'd prefer it if Mass Effect took elements from other games, like System Shock 2 - I'd like to see a sci-fi FPS/RPG with fairly deep technical aspects. Maybe Mojang's new game will fit the bill, would be nice to have something I can get my teeth into, and play how I want to play.

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