Bioware vs Bethesda Softworks RPGs

I have to admit, I haven’t turned on my Xbox 360 in a long time, but I recently did so and started playing my favorite type of game (RPGs) again.

So I’ve played:  Fallout: New Vegas, Fable 3, and now Mass Effect 2.

Can I say something about the Fable franchise, first? I hate you. I’ve never actually hated an RPG series before. Sure, some are lacking and tedious and boring; but I actually hate Fable. I hate having to marry people. I hate the idea of having children in game. And, I really don’t see the need to murder my wife for a sword upgrade. I had been playing this for a while (suffering thru it more like) until I realized that I’ve actually grown to hate this thing. The quests are boring and there is too much backtracking. Every zone is “find the easter eggs” (books, gnomes, keys, whatever) just to lengthen a very short story line. Wander thru zones is just miserable, with preset encounters that respawn way too quickly and are just tedious exercises in wasting my time. No loot, no real reward. Just a time sink every time. Some stupid relationship quest made me drag a women from Bowerstone (or whatever its called) all the way to Mistpeak lake. Fuckin’ really? That’s like 8 zones away. And then I’m expected to drag her back? I guess she died or something half way there cuz after some little troll things attacked me, she vanished. I said “Thank god.”

Sure, you could argue that you don’t need to get married or have kids in Fable 3. But if you don’t, you will not earn enough “guild seals” to upgrade your character and you’ll suck. What other game requires you to kiss a girl to get more powerful attacks? Makes no sense at all. Buy a house? Maintain a house, too? Decorate it? WTF is this shit.

Yes the combat is fun and intuitive. It -is- cool to swing your sword, shoot your gun, and fire off a spell very quickly. Granted. But the sword is wholly un-necessary. Link 2 AoE spells (when you get that ability) and fire your rifle and every fight is a guaranteed win.

The part of the game that annoyed me least was the overt advertisements for paid download content in the quest hub area. It bugged me at first, but I kind of liked the easy accessibility to new stuff and if the game were better, I might have even bought some of it. Yes, the guy reminding you to buy stuff got old, but I kind of liked that feature to be honest. It’s a trend I wish would continue, more along the lines of “content” addons and less with vanity addons. I’ll get to that post one day.

I never finished this game because, why bother? I wasn’t enjoying it. Unless I’m totally bored, I cannot imagine buying Fable 4 when it comes out. I feel like I’ve been punished enough by this company.

Now, onto the main point of this post.

Bethesda Softworks and Bioware. Can these companies possibly make games that are any better? Everything they make is fuckin’ awesome.

After my Fallout 3 review (and minor gripes), I’m sure it’ll come no surprise to you what I thought of Fallout: New Vegas. Odd, that the same radscorpion problem exists. They still become landsharks all the time. Weird.

The New Vegas story did kind of suck, though. After you get to Vegas (I got to Vegas at near max level cuz I did everything I could outside the city, first) and start helping Mr House, the game takes a turn where you know you are helping the bad guy but still are forced into doing so. No choice you make at the end is acceptable. I decided to help the Yes Man. Killing Mr House and Caesar’s Legion/NCR. Oh well. The ending was pretty bad. Just a bunch of lame screen shots with summaries of what I did and how it affected things in the end. If that was more interesting, I might have tried helping Mr House and seeing what happened there, but the incentive was gone. Although the dam battle was pretty fun, especially seeing the Boomers fly in with that bomber you pulled from the lake and nuke the place. That was sweet.

Up until that point, I totally loved the game. I love the looting system. With humanoids dropping the gear they are using, it really makes it seem like they are playing by the same set of rules as you are. I like that. It’s fair. Except Deathclaws, of course. Bastards. I did end up killing the mother and alpha in the quarry. And I even killed the legendary one in the deathclaw cave. Riot shotgun made that a ton easier – with a mini nuke appetizer of course.

Everything I loved about Fallout 3 was here and it was easy to get into this one again.

Mass Effect 2 (which I quit Fable 3 to play) has got to be the best game ever made. It’s fuckin’ ridiculous how awesome it is. Just about everything in there is perfect. Combat is awesome. Quests are fun. Sidequests from scanning planets are short, sweet and varied. The cut scenes are still the best ever. Bioware rules at this. I haven’t finished this yet, but I have a sneaking suspicion of where it’s going. I have a feeling that the Shephard you play is genetically modified by the Reapers much like the Protheans – possibly by Cerberus while you were reconstructed cuz the Illusive Man clearly knows more than he’s letting on. Just a hunch, but it feels that way or that one collector dude wouldn’t have such a hard-on for you personally.

I have to admit that after you get your ship and Joker comes around the corner again, I smiled. I thought he had died in the beginning along with you – I didn’t think the escape pod made it out. That was cool. I also like that what you did in Mass Effect 1 matter in the sequel (if you imported your saved game). I also like that the enemy is pretty much the same and it continues the story, rather than just a new villain. And where it’s going seems to make a little sense too. I also like that your companions from Mass Effect 1 are in the game and that they still exist. Some are even team members again. That’s real cool.

Complaints. Fuckin’ zombies (husks). I am so tired of zombies in games, it is unreal.

Anyways, I find myself playing this for 4-5 hours at a time because I just can’t put it down. Love this thing. It’s crazy how much fun it is. The planet where, if you stand in the sun, your shield takes damage. Awesome. The mini quest where you escort this robot around with a power defect and need to find him power cells. Cool. (Reward made that a total waste of time, though). Jacob’s companion quest. That was fucked up. Jack’s was very interesting and unexpected.

Each game has its downsides though. And, oddly, the other company is strong where the other is weak. I’m going to list those differences and how interesting I think that is.

Bioware: Excellent at story telling and making you feel part of the action.

Bethesda Softworks: Kinda weak at the main story.  Side stories are a lot better than the main one. Your part of a story but you don’t really feel part of it. I can’t explain it better than that, sorry.

Bioware: Loot system practically non-existent.

Bethesda Softworks: Excellent loot system.

Bioware: Not “open world”. Way points and places to travel to. Yes, I get that there are planets and you have to fly to them. I counter with: Dragon Age. Imagine that as open world.

Bethesda Softworks: Open world. Do anything you want, when you want.

Bioware: Because of the loot system and non-open world, you feel throttled (money, gear, etc – you get stuff when the story dictates it) by the game.

Bethesda Softworks: Because of the loot system and open world, you are not throttled. You can progress (money, gear, etc) based upon drops, random finds and hoarding everything you find. You don’t even have to do a single quest forever, just kill shit and loot shit to your heart’s content. I imagine some gamer out there has amassed a huge pile of every tin can, wrench, empty soda bottle in the game somewhere just for the hell of it.

Bioware: Nothing, really, to pick up in the environments. Everything looks pretty (really pretty!) but nothing is tangible. It’s just a back drop.

Bethesda Softworks: Nearly everything can be touched, moved, looked at, picked up, looted, etc. A hoarder’s dream!

Bioware: Awesome cut scenes. Unbelievably awesome. Like a movie.

Bethesda Softworks: What’s a cutscene? We don’t even give you a movie at the end of the game for you to enjoy.

Bioware: Enemies seem to have a different rule set than you do. They can fire more quickly than you, move more quickly and make up abilities than you cannot perform. This has its pluses and minuses.

Bethesda Softworks: All monsters (well, humanoids) seem to play by the same set of rules. You can see their weapon in VATS and know it’ll drop when they die. This also has its pluses and minuses.

Bioware: Varied side quests that keep the interest level up.

Bethesda Softworks: All quests pretty much amount either: go here get that for me or go there kill that.

Bioware: Companions to talk to, get quests from and help you in combat. The, sadly, inevitable sex scene with one of them that is poorly done.

Bethesda Softworks: Limited companions (1 at a time, it seems) with a quest. Fallout New Vegas started this trend, maybe it’ll continue.

I sometimes imagine these 2 companies getting together and making some sort of epic game where one picks up where the other is lacking. A Bioware story with Bethesda open world and loot system. Thing would probably cover 4 DVDs but it’d be worth it, I’m sure.

Anyways, after I finish Mass Effect 2, I’ll wait Bethesda’s next chance to suck my life away.

The Disappointing 2012 Republican Field

Forewarning: this is a little NSFW – more so near the end.

After 2 debates, all I can say about the 2012 Republican field is how awful it is. All these people. They are really the best we got? Seriously?

The upcoming election, granted, will be a referendum on Obamanomics, which are a failure. If the Gun Running and Solyndra scandals don’t explode in his face, then the 9+% unemployment, enormous deficits and Obamacare will bring Obama down. Whether or not he loses, I fear, is in the hands of these people up on stage.

Can I go down the line a bit with these people? I’ll get to Rick Perry last because I wanted to like him. But I’m going to go a little mental on him.

Ron Paul – Why the hell is this guy on stage? Let’s ignore his catering of 9/11 truthers for a moment. Hell, let’s even ignore is general weirdness. Let’s simply talk about his asinine comment in the CNN/Tea Party debate on 9/12 where he says that 9/11 was our fault because we had bases in Saudi Arabia and that made Bin Laden mad, which gave him the right to attack us. Something about Iraq too. Blah blah.

Bin Laden, does not live in Saudi Arabia. As far as I know, we have bases there because the rulers of that country want them there. It’s Bin Laden’s holy land right? Isn’t it theirs as well? If it doesn’t offend the holy views of them, why do we care what Bin Laden thinks? He doesn’t even live there.

Or, in another sense, our foreign policy is dictated by the whims of a 8 billion people on the planet. If we do something any of them disapprove of, apparently – in Paul’s head – that gives them the right to bomb us? Really? And even if it does offend someone, their immediate instinct is to bomb us?  Only a somewhat racist view of muslims as well, I’d say. Don’t do something they don’t like, cuz they might bomb us. Wow. Fuck you.

He’s a serious candidate.

Mitt Romney – Dude has more policy positions that a yoga class. He’ll say anything or do anything to garner a vote. I’m not even sure what his core values are and that he continues to support Romneycare despite the fact that, according to the WSJ, it’s a dismal failure:

A typical family of four today faces total annual health costs of nearly $13,788, the highest in the country. Per capita spending is 27% higher than the national average.

Michelle Bachmann – I like her as a bomb thrower, but that she repeats the false claim that injections cause autism is anti-science and pro-stupid. Her good ideas are too often buried under incredibly dumb comments.

Jon Huntsman – Is that his name? Jon? I dunno.  I don’t care. Guy has a decent tax plan that I’d support in a heartbeat, but calling someone (Perry) a traitor because he disagrees a fence can be built across the entire border? Really? Really? This guy resorts to ad honimens faster than anyone I’ve ever seen up on a debate stage. During the second debate, I actually liked him for about 3/4 of the thing, then he got asked the question about global warming and his advisor who called people stupid or something for disagreeing. He wouldn’t comment on it, which, you know, says everything I need to know about him. (Don’t get me started that denying AGW is anti-science, cuz that’s a bunch of bullshit).

Herman Cain – I like a lot of things about him. But I also seem to remember him saying some incredibly stupid crap and seems to do it pretty regularly too. His 9/9/9 plan seems interesting. So is his constant rhetoric that we need to fix things, not just point out the problems. He seems like a good VP candidate, at best.

Finally, Rick Perry. Oh wait. Did I skip some people? Yeah, I don’t know either. Who cares about them.  (Newt Maybe. Is it 1994 still? Yeah. I didn’t think so).

So I want to like you, Rick. I really do. Texas is producing the most jobs in this country, was hit least by the recession and generally seems to have its head on straight when it comes to the state economy. Except when stupid democrats flee to Oklahoma for some reason.

But, you’re an idiot. What is it with Texas and its leaders not being able to form a coherent sentence? Can someone explain this to me? You remind me of Bush, and that’s not a good thing.

During the Brian Williams debate, he said that only 74% of people have health insurance. Here is your answer:

I’m sorry Brian. I didn’t realize it was my job to go to everyone’s house and make them buy something you’d like them to buy. The state is made up of individual people who have a choice to buy it or not to buy it. If they do, great. If they don’t. Great. Their choice. Their life. I’m not here to police people’s choices in life.

You could say it a little nice, but why accept the premise of the question?

On this HPV thing. Who gives a shit. Really. It’s just a trumped up load of crap because you are leading in the polls. Treat it like that. It won’t damage your campaign. If you are the winner in the primaries what is Obama gonna do? Complain that you wanted girls to take a vaccination? When this fucker is forcing people to buy a product from mult-national companies that they may not even need? Really? Fuck that.

On the in state tuition thing. I kinda sorta see your position here. In state and out of state tuition differences is a bunch of bullshit anyways. If illegals can afford to pay for college and there are no legal citizens being turned away due to enrollment limitations. Sure, let them learn if they can pay. Who gives a shit.

On the border fence. Yeah, maybe 1200 miles is a bit much to cover. But the fuckin’ army on the border to do it? Posse comitatus. Look it up. The way to solve this problem is to go after employers who employ illegals. Also, make it impossible for people to get entitlements if they aren’t legal (what a fuckin’ concept!). Huntsman calling you a traitor for this? I’d have punched him in the ass. What a fuckin’ prick. And you stood there like a fuckin’ retard.

On amnesty. I’ve long said that if you are here illegally and if you have a job (ie not on the dole) and no criminal record, I’m cool with giving you amnesty. You are productive. But if you are in jail, on the dole or otherwise a loser – kick em out. I cannot imagine any sane person telling some guy who has been here for 20 years with a house/job/kids that he has to go home cuz he didn’t fill out some piece of paper. That’s retarded.

On Social Security. Yes, it’s a ponzi scheme. We get you think its a ponzi scheme. Now, instead saying it is, do something serious. Like, oh I dunno, telling everyone specifically how you’d fix it. You cannot win the election by handing the democrats a meme like “Scary Perry wants to kill Granny” but that’s what you are doing. It’s nice that you’ve opened up the discussion in such a public way. I love you for it. I know SS/Medicare will bankrupt this country. Ideas, man. Open up your brain and give some solutions – instead of simply complaining like a girl.

All-in-all, Perry. You’re disappointing thus far. I haven’t watched you speak on TV a lot, so the debates are all I get. And you come across like shit. I wonder what the fuck you are even doing up on stage. Clearly, you need to study up more on the issues and the opponents, not to mention how to defend your own policies. Till then, guess I’ll cry myself to sleep at night knowing I’ll have to vote for that fucktard Romney in 2012.