Tobold's Blog
Monday, December 26, 2011
 
Mass Effect 3

I do not normally write much about games that I haven't played yet. But I've been reading a preview of Mass Effect 3 with information about a feature that I found very interesting: You can play ME3 in three different modes; in action mode you get all the fighting and reduced dialogues, in story mode you get all the dialogue and easier fighting, and in roleplaying mode you get both full dialogue and fighting.

Such a feature fits in very well with a observation of mine this year, that some games are increasingly becoming interactive movie experiences. For example I played through Mafia 2 this year, not because of the gameplay, but because of the story. And of course SWTOR is also more about the story than about the gameplay. I even picked up Batman: Arkham City at the Christmas Steam sale, because I read how excellent the story-telling is, although I'm not really interested in that style of fighting game. I also bought L.A. Noire for the story.

Thus if I buy a game because of the story, to me it makes perfect sense to be able to reduce the number and/or difficulty of the fighting sequences. And if somebody else buys the same game for the combat, it makes sense that he has at least the option of getting through all those dialogues faster. It basically allows a game company to develop one game and tune it for the needs of two very different populations of players, as well as those who want everything. So I think Mass Effect is onto something here, and I hope this feature spreads to other future games.
Comments:
I fully agree, this is a great idea. Which is funny, because I'm quite cynical with what bioware has been doing recently, DA2 was much worse than DA, and while I loved ME2, nearly all of the stuff they have revealed about 3 up to now I have seen as negative. Glad to see something that I see as completely positive.

Even considering that it won't affect me, enjoying both the action and story in the ME series. There were certainly some other games that could have benefited from those three options though.
 
Also a really good feature for people doing multiple playthroughs. I know I enjoy the full story the first time around but then tend to skip through dialogue on subsequent playthroughs.
 
The three modes is a a good feature on the face of it. Certainly better than NOT having the choice would be.

On the other hand, once you set off down the "story mode" route I do begin to wonder what would be the point of having a game element at all. If you have a story that's worth the telling, why weigh it down with any kind of "now press a key" mechanism - just write a book or make a movie.

Before DCUO came out there were several really excellent long trailers. They were thoroughly enjoyable to watch and told an engaging and interesting story. When the game came out it was, in my opinion, a very good game but such story as it had was quite difficult to find or follow from within the gameplay.

I'd have loved to have seen the rest of the story told in more of those excellent digitally animated movies rather than diffused and dispersed into a game. Games can tel stories but I remain to be convinced that games will ever be the best way to tell any story.

Rather than have gaming companies attempt to pitch their tents on the lawns of novelists and film-makers I'd rather they concentrated on compelling gameplay.
 
I think it is great to allow people more choice as to how they enjoy a game but I wonder will we ever reach the point where such choice could be viable in multiplayer games?
 
I afraid this is probably the last gasp of user tuned content.

Whether the future is Mobile or Massively Online. There is no question that stand alone games are going the way of the dodo.

Or mobile Zinga hell if you prefer

FYI - I have copyrighted "Angry Gamers RIO"... so don't try to bogart it.

With the cost numbers all going upwards (exponential) and the box price of games peaking at around $60 or so US... it's a no brainer that online with it's subscription revenue possibilities will be the new new thing.

So, that implies that there will be some kind of "community difficulty" where everyone's shared reality will center. So No there will be no more carebear level story games.

In fact I bet good money that players of the major online titles will insist on "some kind" of minimal difficulty to be popular.
 
I am curious if this has the option to switch modes during a play-through. Although ME has a reputation for one of the better stories, I could see plenty of games where people would decide part of the way through that they don't care about the story, and don't want to have to restart to be able to skip over it.

Also possible (which has happened to me more than once), a game could have a story which you want to see the ending, but you decide you really don't like the game that much.
 
i wonder where this idea will show up next. i think sports games would
be a good place. imagine madden with a coach mode with easy mode
playing or action mode with simple play calling like tecmo bowl and
more advanced player controls.
 
It's certainly a good idea, and one I agree with. One of my favourite games, Bastion, has something similiar to this, where you can play the game on the normal mode, or go through the 'no sweat' mode for experiencing the story at a much easier difficulty and also a few changed mechanics to make it more forgiving.
 
Mmm, what if Bioware sees that half of their players pick the action mode? Is it still worth it to create a full RPG?

Oh well, we'll see how it ends up.
 
I could be wrong, but didn't Monkey Island 2 have a choice like this, whereby you could go with full strength puzzle mode (which would drive you totally nuts), and a monkey-lite version, where you got the story and 90% of the humour without having to spend your life clicking things until you accidentally paired the right items?

Great game, caused me some frustration at the time, like hours worth :)
 
3 populations of players. There is the original audience of the Mass Effect Games, who'll take both the combat and the story.
 
Uncharted is probably a strong example of Games as Cinema.
 
I think it is great that Bioware is giving players these choices. I enjoy both the ME story and action. You know which option I'll choose.
 
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