Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Bethesda vs. Bioware, which RPG gets you into the Role? (by Katie Highnam)

I love RPGs. I have always loved RPGs. Before I really got into gaming I was looking for something I didn’t have a name for, and I found it in a small group of people on a forum website called Neopets. Now I didn’t know at the time but what we got involved in was an online RPG of our own making. Since that time I have lived and loved RPGs both online and on console. None of them have quite the freedom of the “Outlawz” group that I was a part of which had no limits on imagination but all good in their own way and helping me escape 
reality for just a bit longer...

Neopets Puzzle Adventure
How much does Mass Effect owe to Neopets? I'll let you decide that...

So I now come to the point of this post. The comparison between two of the biggest RPG companies; Bethesda, makers of the Elder Scrolls which is a series of games that is so successful they have been a part of the gaming community since 1994, and Bioware a year younger and renowned for their talking wheel and deep seated obsession with equipment.

We'll start off with Bioware, I am not a fan of guns on console games as I don’t like the extra effort I would have to go through to learn to aim. I have always had a preference for swords and magic, since my “Outlawz” days and so though I have played Mass Effect, in part, I much prefer their Dragon Age titles. What I like about Bioware is their commitment to talking and developing plot and characters through discussions and the actions they make you take to get someone to like or love you only adds to how immersed you are in the role. The plots are fine and solid but I don’t find them engaging, what keeps me in the game is the interactions I can have with the people in my team. But Bioware always always (always) ruin this for me. 

A game of might, magic and heartbreak

In Dragon Age: Origins, I stopped playing the game after Alistair dumped my character. I was too involved in the relationship between the two characters, the quality of the game wasn’t high enough to get over that bump. They improved the quality of the story and left enough hope for me in Dragon Age 2, because when Anders (yes I have a thing for Grey Wardens) decided to withdraw from me and stop telling me he loved me I was interested enough to keep going with the story and eventually run away with him. I like to think that they live still running around Thedas bringing up mage kiddies with a strong sense of right and wrong and possible immunity from the temptations of demons other than Justice. 

Now I have finished the game I’m, not sure I would want to go back to it. I love nobbing around in games, but when I got bored of that in Dragon Age and tried to do the main quest I found that I had actually been doing it all along, it felt just the same as nobbing around and I was bored of it. The possibility of romance made me push through but now that’s done I see no need to go back and get all the achievements, and I can be an achievement hunter when it comes down to it.

Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion -- Revised & Expanded (Xbox360, PC) (Prima Official Game Guide)
I haven't got time for love!? I have nobbing to do!

Bethesda on the other hand doesn’t do romance, or at least it didn’t in Oblivion (can’t wait for Skyrim to come out) yet it is thus far the only full game I have completed the story, then gone for all the achievements, completed the additional content, then just wondered around the place doing odd quests, finally got upset because there was nothing to really work towards anymore, quit, and then complained to my boyfriend, friends and anyone who would listen that the game wasn’t long enough, didn’t give me enough achievements and didn’t give me enough motivation to play it forever. (I have 100% on an arcade rpg that I will be buying the other parts of asap, but I didn’t go back to it once I had got all the achievements.) 

When I got frustrated with the endless boring task of closing oblivion gates (after I had given up on killing all the mobs in there and just stealthed my way to the sigils keep) I just finished the story quest and then had the wonderful experience of just running through the pretty world of Cyrodriil doing stuff for fun. This to me is what gaming should be about, escaping reality loving it and making it fun. The design of Cyrodiil is awe inspiring beauty, and Skyrim looks set to top it. Perhaps it’s a good thing that Bethesda don’t do relationships, they might detract from the gameplay and landscapes and make the game feel a little more cheesy like Fable.

In all I would say Bethesda made the better game but Bioware made the better characters and interactions. If only they could get together somehow and yet keep what they are both so good at. Although maybe a game as long as Oblivion was would get quite frustrating if you had to go through all the language options that Bioware provide, on the other hand it could just take over your life, the ultimate escape…

1 comment:

  1. First of all, I'm a huge fan of both Mass Effect 2, and the Elder Scrolls series. I remember spending nights and my friends house, and taking over the Clothier's house in Balmora. Good times, good times. . .

    Your comparisons are spot on, and helped me out. I'm writing a story right now, that I am possibly wanting to turn into a game. So, i'm planning on presenting it to a company when I get more written.

    Yes, I'm aware my aspirations are quite high, but hey, you can't get anywhere unless you try, right?

    Looking forward to your reply. Thanks!


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