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User Info: Trambient

Trambient
6 years ago#21
Yeah, I'm actually grateful, in a respect, that I didn't stick with school when I was 18 just because I had the time to really reflect on my interests and what I wanted to do with my life. I'm probably gonna go for Creative Writing, some kind of English degree, or Journalism. It's way more conducive with what I wanna do now than Film Studies would have been haha. My ultimate goal is to work in the game industry in some respect, either as a writer (like, Creative Director), or (to a lesser extent) journalist. I have lots of strong opinions about the industry, especially after being on the inside, and especially just because of the experience of working on Uncharted 2, and I think I could at least make an effort at... I dunno, bringing the industry closer to legitimacy. The two things I'm best at, in every day conversations with friends and stuff, is telling stories, and voicing my opinion haha, and designing and programming are kinda over my head and lie outside my interests.

And that's awesome that you're thinking about teaching. I obviously don't know you super well, but I think you'd be good at it. Definitely keep us posted with what path you end up taking.

And... yeah, finished ME. Wow. Going for my 100% transfer save now. Never in my life did I ever think I'd get a dialogue option in a game that would stop me in my tracks and make me really ponder the ramifications, much less several near the end. It's really a testament to how lost I got in that universe and fiction (do I really wanna sacrifice Alliance lives to save the Council, after all my warnings fell of deaf ears and litigation? What if Joker and the crew die as a result? But, even though the council is comprised of douchebags, they maintain peace amongst the species, the galaxy could fall apart if anything happens to them. You know, decisions like that, even forgetting the whole Kaiden/Ashley decision, and the Wrex decision). Plus, the twists near the end about the Protheans and Keepers and stuff. It was legitimately... unsettling. I rarely get so lost in a game plot that I actually feel uncomfortable when everything I thought to be true is turned on its head.
A penguin?! And he's been drinking!

User Info: Trambient

Trambient
6 years ago#22
But just to be clear, I really don't think this style of storytelling is faultless. I mean, it's unique and totally engrossing, but I do have some issues with it. For one, I don't think that romance can be handled realistically at all in this style, or at least no one has found a way to make it work yet. The problem is that, in trying to fashion my Shepard about me, personally, and considering there's no precedent for the kind of person he is outside of how I shape him, I can't think it terms of "What would Shepard do in this situation?" and only "What should I do in this situation?" It's like, I'm not watching a romance blossom between two characters I'm observing, it's like I have to personally feel that way. Not only is that a leap, but the options are just so slim. Ashley is sort of a *****, Liara is just creepily obsessed with me, would I really, personally, care for either of these women in that way in that situation? I just feel like feeling some actual attraction to these fictional characters would be a requisite to really care about the romance, and that just seems like too much.

Beyond that, the "Agree - Neutral - Disagree" style eliminates all human subtlety. I can't apprehensively or begrudgingly agree to do something, I can't regretfully decline something. It's either do it, or don't. I'm either a good guy, or an ass. In that way, Shepard could never really be me. I have shades, I have some moral standings, and I feel less strongly about others. I ended up with a full paragon bar in my game, not because I'm personally a saint that handles everything calmly, but because I didn't want to have to pull a gun on every person I disagreed with.

That said, the places where I felt like I was personally making a crucial decision that reflected how I actually felt, it was unlike anything I've experienced in a game before. When the Kaiden/Ashley decision came up, I had the option to think of things the way I think I would, and it was really intriguing. I didn't think in terms of "Who do I like more?", or "Gotta see that awkward, passionless sex scene", I was thinking in terms of "Ashley has family... and Kaiden will probably suffer in the future because of Biotics..."
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User Info: Anderjak

Anderjak
6 years ago#23
I handled that Kaidan/Ashley decision from an entirely different standpoint. Ashley was a soldier, and one willing to give her life. Like Kaidan, she would have sacrificed herself given the choice because she knows what her position entails. Kaidan, on the other hand... I was always holding out for better technology, and since he wasn't a military grunt like Ashley, with powers that could have benefited the Alliance in some small part -- even just as a research subject -- I always figured it was best to keep him alive. Really hoping he pops up in ME3.

Romance, I think, won't ever be truly pulled off except in the most amazing of exceptions. Like, when someone writes a story that is just so involving that you fall in love with these characters simply for being who they are, not what they're supposed to mean to the narrative. As it stands, I'm not really the type to care THAT much for characters; they're assets, they're narrative lines. Not much else. Perhaps assets and lines I want to see a whole lot more of, or appreciate on some level, but because it's a game, I'm not exactly going to feel myself really looking to save the life of someone I'm supposed to love simply because of that, but because it is an obstacle for me to overcome til I reach the ending. I think that's why I very very rarely handle romance in any of my writings and stories, simply because, of all things, I just don't think I could legitimize it the way it needs to be.

I'm almost ready to suggest you just come down to my school, ha. We have some great writing and document design courses here, and some of the game concepts we get to create are just mind-blowing. You'd have to do some graphical courses, like 2D and 3D design, as well as a little bit of modeling and animation, but they're geared toward all skill levels, and you don't need to take like three semesters of modeling or something to get by. It's either, you're there to learn those skills, or you're there to learn the language so you can properly communicate to people who have those skills. Very much a "get out what you put in" degree. I guess that's why I like it so much.
An elephant is a mouse built to government specifications.

User Info: Trambient

Trambient
6 years ago#24
Well, with romance, I don't think (or I'd like not to think) that it's impossible to convey it convincingly in a game, I just think that it might be impossible with a game that has the Bioware formula where you're tasked (or at least, I feel like I'm tasked) with actually becoming and immersing yourself with the main character, simply by nature of the fact that even if they get to a point where they can really give the character shades that resemble you personally, it'll be all but impossible to give an NPC similar shades that apply to your interests. The way I see it, though, is that a convincing romance can, at least for now, only come from a game that completely divorces gameplay from narrative (not that I've really seen a convincing romance in a game like that yet, but I think that comes more from the failings of video game writing than from the viability of it).

As for your Kaiden/Ashley decision, I love that. That's what I think is the strongest aspect of ME. The fact that we could both choose totally different outcomes for those characters, based on totally different criteria, that we both thought were altruistic in some respect. The choice system in ME1 was absolutely at its strongest when it came from a place that wasn't Paragon or Renegade, but from a place where there was a moral decision that wasn't "right" or "wrong", but based on what we personally thought was valuable in that universe.
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User Info: Trambient

Trambient
6 years ago#25
So I definitely underestimated how tall of an order getting 100% in this game would be haha. I mean, I'm not like, totally burnt out on the game or anything, I'm just afraid I might be come ME2. There's just... way more content that I skipped first time out than I realized. I just don't wanna leave any stone unturned, I think the fact that even plots established in side quests in ME1 pan out into something in ME2 is amazing, so I wanna make sure I experience everything.

Still, there are a lot of sidequests, and a lot of them are pretty much identical, so it's a little monotonous, but I've already done like a third of them, and I haven't even gone to one of the major plot planets yet, so it shouldn't be way too much longer.
A penguin?! And he's been drinking!

User Info: Anderjak

Anderjak
6 years ago#26
They go by faster than you might think. ME2 is a LOT friendlier in terms of sidequests, a plentiful amount but not nearly so daunting as ME1, and certainly better designed. That's my biggest criticism with ME1; the cookie-cutter dungeons. As for 100%ing ME1... It's not entirely necessary. It is pretty cool to see how events turn out, though; there are at least a fair number of missions that straight paragon or straight renegade folks would handle in a bunch of different ways, so there's always a bunch of small permutations. Some of the effects really are just meeting a character later on with a quick "how-do-you-do" and an update on what they're up to, and then you move on. Some involve small quests, some involve fairly large characters and whatnot, but you're in it to see those small ripples, not to expect giant waves. [Though I'd say there are a couple big moves which I rather liked.]

I don't think we'll see all those subtle waves for quite some time. It would have to be an absolutely massive game, or at least one that takes Bioware's usual options and, instead of a conversation wheel, it gives you a segment where you have to honestly press a button, take action, do something. Sort of like what Alpha Protocol said it was going to do and failed miserably at, where you could interrupt properly and be belligerent, or get right to the punching of the bad guy, or right to the kissing of the girl -- and avoiding the inevitable slap afterwards. Not only that, but the character would have to respond in a number of ways, and be able to tell the difference between aggressive and passive actions. As it stands, characters are sort of... "set" in their ways. They have a specific plot branch or three to take up, and they can't act outside of where those branches lead, meaning we are given specific traits and little else to mess with. Maybe someday we'll have NPCs with mild sentience, who can use logic to kind of understand what's going on. Scary thought, but that might be where we need to go.
An elephant is a mouse built to government specifications.

User Info: Trambient

Trambient
6 years ago#27
I don't think the industry needs to move in that direction as a rule, but I think Bioware style games would benefit enormously from that. I think the game industry could (and does) really benefit from the kind of variety movies enjoy. Sometimes I like a really introspective, thought-provoking character piece when it comes to movies, but I don't go into a romantic comedy or blockbuster action movie expecting three-dimensional characters, and there are definitely times when I'd rather just watch something really dumb like Independence Day than like an indie movie or Schindler's List. In that same respect, I appreciate that there are games that offer a sense of introspective freedom like Mass Effect, something thought-provoking and unsettling like Bioshock, something with staggering depth and non-linearity like a Bethesda game, and also games that grab my hand and pull me down a preordained cinematic path like Uncharted, or Ico, or Metal Gear. I think "freedom" has room to evolve, but I don't think it should ever be at the expense of games that have a general absence of freedom.

And yeah, until there are NPCs that can react realistically to someone more nuanced than a Shepard could be, I think giving that true sense of self in a game is gonna be an uphill battle.

Anyway, I've done about half the quests, only having done one plot world (Therum). Hitting 60 won't be a problem. Really, the only quests that are a real pain in the ass, and mostly because they prolong every other quest, and could possibly prevent me from doing anything other than what I figure will have some carry over in 2 and eventually 3, are the collection quests. The materials, and the Prothean, Asari, Turian, and Salarian artifacts. Total drag. If there's a guide that can get me through that quick, I don't think I'll have a problem with going for 100%, but those quests are just awful haha. I really, really wanna dive into ME2, and even just beyond the quests, I still have to do everything in Feros, Noveria, Vimire, and Ilos. Really buckling down now, we'll see how long my patience holds out.
A penguin?! And he's been drinking!

User Info: Trambient

Trambient
6 years ago#28
Using a combo of the Planets guide and pictures on the Mass Effect wiki got me through those quests with pretty much no hassle. I've done about 40 of the quests, and honestly, I've probably done all the ones that could somehow have impact in future games(Cerberus related quests are done, I think, quests related to my background, character quests). Honestly, when I was scouring and scanning planets for materials, I was so overwhelmed by the intrigue this universe provides. I mean, some of the writings hint at pre-Prothean civilizations, there are subtle mentions of the Reapers, and even just small, interesting mysteries that wouldn't even have to pertain to the immediate Shepard-plotline, but could support an extended franchise beyond that. The fiction Bioware crafted for this game is seriously just staggering. This universe feels so fleshed out and real.

Anyway, I'm probably gonna do the rest of the quests just to be safe, and pretty much just because I have like no hurtles left and have done most of them (though there are still nearly 30 left). I can finally progress the story anyway, and I shouldn't be more than a day or two of playing at this pace to finish up my transfer run, then I can finally start ME2.

Just out of curiosity, what background does your main Shepard have?
A penguin?! And he's been drinking!

User Info: Anderjak

Anderjak
6 years ago#29
I forget. I think my more played Shepard was a Earthborn War Hero. Something like that.

The collection quests are pretty annoying, but you can knock that out on your way through the galaxy, so it's more intimidating just the thought of it, but far more manageable when you actually go through with it.

Funny you should mention the lore, since a lot of those elements pop up in small but interesting ways in ME2 if you pay attention.
An elephant is a mouse built to government specifications.

User Info: Trambient

Trambient
6 years ago#30
Okay, I was a little confused about how many missions I had left, because I was counting total missions, instead of ignoring the missions that pertain to different backgrounds and Renegade and stuff. I have very few missions left, and none of them are particularly time consuming, though I intend to do Bring Down the Sky, which I hear has a reasonable-ish playtime.

I... hate to potentially put off ME2 more than I already am... but would you recommend Pinnacle Station? I've heard mixed things. I wanna experience everything the game has to offer, and I figure, down the road, I might still try this out if I put it off for right now, but does it add anything at all? Is it at all worth it in the context of getting everything out of ME1 before going into ME2 (or at the least, squeezing some charm out of ME1 while it's still fresh in my mind)?
A penguin?! And he's been drinking!

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