Mass Effect has Ruined RPG's

Ok, that title's a little misleading. I love Mass Effect, it was a fantastic game that really pulled you into the story with it's approach to NPC involvement and dialog design. You could alter (side) stories and even get a crew member killed. Replayability is not something everybody wants from an RPG but ME begs to be played again, even if just to be an asshole to the entire universe.

So how has that ruined RPG's you ask? A new mod for Knights of the Old Republic II was released which prompted me to install the first game so I could finish it and go on to the second game. I wasn't prepared for what awaited me: First the graphics have not aged well but I expected that and can get over it. Next came the stiff animations and then the cardboard backgrounds and sparse accessories. But what killed it for me was the dialog. I was on the Wookie planet (no I won't go lookup the name for nerdcred) heading in to chat up the head furball when it happened. Static text taking up a third of the screen while a low res model grunted in three whole variations that took forever to wait for. Then a list of answers that stated exactly what I would say followed by my character saying exactly what I had just read.


You may argue that it's an old game, but RPG's released today still do exactly this. Adventure is a part of an RPG which includes discovery, and discovering what my character would say only when he said it makes the otherwise de-immersive system of dialog interesting. I find it arduous to wade through page after page of dialog in RPG's with nothing to look at but a static image and maybe synchronized lip movements when the character is close enough. If it's going to be a long story make it a cutscene with some flair, make me want to watch all this blah-blah-blah. Mass Effect avoided the need by making the dialog both interesting and seemingly plot-altering while giving you only the basic idea of your possible responses.

Maybe I'm just spoiled by all the flair that games now have the space and technology to lavish upon me but I want to be immersed, I don't want something to remind me that I'm playing a game. I'm here to have fun and fall into this story before me, not work to enjoy myself.

Curse you Mass Effect, I will never get to see that mod content now.
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