Tag: rpg

After Mass Effect: The Changing Landscape of RPGs and Mass Effect 2

Posted on April 24th, by Jordan Rivas in Video Games. 3 comments

Mass Effect 2 changed everything. It was the action that did it — the shooting. It wasn’t just the emphasis on it, but the polish of it. It didn’t just change the series, it was part of a rapid tidal wave that reshaped the RPG genre.

And I liked it.

Some people didn’t like it. They lamented the change from older Bioware games like Baldur’s Gate, Neverwinter Nights, and Knights of the Old Republic. Even the original Mass Effect focused more on character build, weapon customization, and party arrangement. And those stats that were crunched under the hood had more to do with your result in combat than your proficiency with aim and reflex.

In a small way, I lamented that change also.

I liked the older style western RPGs. In addition to the Bioware titles I just mentioned, I liked Knights of the Old Republic II, Jade Empire, Fallout 1 & 2, and even Morrowind to some extent. There was something other than the action-reaction loop of downing enemies in those games that made them compelling. Trying to explore their particular charms would take several articles. But suffice it to say their time is now gone, and … Read More »


After Mass Effect: Companionship on the Silversun Strip

Posted on March 13th, by Jordan Rivas in Video Games. No Comments

“There a lot of problems we have that are not solved. And these problems are usually  basic things like, ‘I want to be feeling comfortable. I want to somehow be  feeling that my family loves me.’ These are real problems.

“The idea of having more technology solving this idea of hyperactive lifestyle is not really the mainstream problem. I think the real innovation that’s going to be rewarded will be on things like, let’s convert our computers from being tools to being companions. Let’s convert our computers from being utilitarian to being enlightening. These are human needs.”

– Horace Dediu, on This Week in Tech episode 395

 

The End

We’re going to start with the end. That’s important to note. The end teaches us the most about the Mass Effect series, gives us the most useful perspective. There will be spoilers throughout this series, and when we’re done we’ll be at the beginning more or less.

‘Let us sit a while’

Near the end of Mass Effect 3: Citadel, I got a chance to sit down with Samara, a nearly millennia old asari Justicar. Samara had been part of my crew for most of my mission against the … Read More »


This is a post about SWTOR and Micro-transaction Immersion

Posted on November 28th, by Jordan Rivas in Video Games. 3 comments

I used to joke that I’d never try Star Wars: The Old Republic, because as a gaming Star Wars geek, I was the perfect example of someone who’d have their life taken over by a Star Wars game with no ending.

I’m decent at telling jokes – most of the time they don’t come true.

When I started, I tried to ease into it. That didn’t work. The game, like any MMO, is geared towards driving you to a primary objective – more. But not too much more; that would be daunting. No, specifically, one more. One more quest, one more loot grab, one more armor piece, one more group operation, one more level – always just one more.

But what SWTOR adds to that medley of more, unlike most MMO’s, is story. Story is crucial to my experience with a game. One more story, I’d tell myself at 2AM, eyes already drooping, bloodshot and Sith-like. That’s what every MMO I’ve ever played was missing – deep, pervasive, cinematic storytelling.

Although not a “pure MMO” in the eyes of critics, SWTOR has opened a branch of audience that World of Warcraft and others have always been shut off to – the single-player story lover.

Read More »


This is a post about Skyrim and Self Deception

Posted on November 21st, by Jordan Rivas in Video Games. 10 comments

Ulfric Stormcloak, a true Nord and the Jarl of Windhelm, stormed the city of Solitude. I helped him do it. I charged in at his side, as we burned and murdered a path to the Imperial fort inside the city. Our thu’um combined to shake General Tullius to his knees in surrender. I took Ulfric’s sword; I beheaded a kneeling general and leader of the empire in Skyrim.

I’m still not sure how I feel about it.

My second character in Skyrim is named Ruhon (rOO-awn), a Nord. He’s hardy, wields the battleaxe Wuuthrad, leads the Companions, sports a mohawk, and can become a werewolf at will.

Like your character in Skyrim, like every character in Skyrim, he is Dovahkiin — dragonborn. He ventured to Sovngarde to vanquish the oldest dragon, the world eater Alduin. But like your character, that’s not what makes him unique.

The protagonist in Skyrim is one of your choosing — gender, race, size, shape, skill, and name are all yours to determine. How they behave, where they go and when is at your whim. Your character doesn’t speak audibly; he or she isn’t colored through any actor’s inflection. You have to fill in those blanks. … Read More »


Whatever happened to the swordsman named Soul?

Posted on September 19th, by Jordan Rivas in Preview, Video Games. 5 comments

Whatever happened to Rainblood 2: City of Flame?

That’s the question I found myself asking. For months, we had no answer. An indie game, and an indie developer, had gone completely missing.

Rainblood: Town of Death, was originally released in China during 2007 and an English translation in 2010. It’s developed by a Chinese indie dev named Qiwei Liang. I did a review of the English translation version in September of 2010, but by that time a sequel was already in the works.

The sequel, City of Flame, didn’t hit my radar until the early part of 2011. The first images I saw were impressive. A five and a half minute trailer showcased an updated art style, new side-scrolling view, and combat that was improved over an already robust “wuxia style” inspired combat system of the original.

I contacted Qiwei then, and got a response. He said the game would be releasing in China during Summer of 2011, at which time an English demo would release, and the full English version a few months after that.

I never heard anything about it after that. Summer came and went. By late 2011, I had taken hiatus from writing on this blog. I still had a mild … Read More »


Indie Game About Sex From “Beautiful Escape” Dev (NSFW)

Posted on April 22nd, by Jordan Rivas in Preview, Video Games. 7 comments

You are, a young male with an unknown sexual disorder captured by some mysterious agency and thrown into a bizarre parallel reality where everything gravitates towards sex. You’re set on a sexual quest to explore unknown lands, meet strange people, and learn more about your sexuality.

[dropcap2]I[/dropcap2]t reads unabashedly cavalier, precocious even. As I glance over the description for his next game, I’m reminded that Nicolau Chaud (Beautiful Escape: Dungeoneer) is both honest and novel, perhaps in the most bold way possible. “Become so honest it makes people uncomfortable,” I often espouse to fellow writers. Nicolau demonstrates this paradigm exceedingly well.

The name of Nicolau’s current work-in-progress is Polymorphous Perversity, named after a concept by Sigmund Freud. It’s a game about sex. A game in which the objective is to obtain sexual gratification however you can in order to stay alive. The inspiration, Nicolau says, came directly from Freud’s observation: “According to Freud, a young child is, by nature, “polymorphously perverse” which is to say that, before education in the conventions of civilized society, a child will turn to various bodily parts for sexual gratification and will not obey the rules that in adults determine perverse behavior. Education however quickly suppresses the polymorphous possibilities … Read More »

Rainblood: Town of Death Review

Posted on September 17th, by Jordan Rivas in Reviews, Video Games. 3 comments

A stylish, hand-drawn, anime-noir RPG with a compelling story of a lone swordsman in a deserted town.