Monday, February 1, 2010

In which Tolkien doesn't roll in his grave because he got all of it from the Norse anyway

I find it fascinating how much I totally don't give a crap about Dragon Age. It's amazing, especially considering that I find the Mass Effect games incredibly attractive.

It may have something to do with the bog standard fantasy world. Was it Yahtzee who noted how ridiculous it is that there is such a thing as a "standard fantasy world"? We desire to escape, go to a new, fresh,  universe - but after a quarter century, the fact that it's always the same "new" universe in each game, with what amounts to a new wig, is starting to really get on my nerves.

Mature and gritty!

I'm big on new realities. Planescape: Torment is one of my all time favorites, as are the Fallout games (haven't played 3, hope it's worthy - meaning, evocative). Zeno Clash was an instabuy. I have a soft spot in my heart for Albion, if anyone remembers that Blue Byte gem. The Void is coming up on my shopping list. And I can still recall seeing the first Baldur's Gate for the first time, and thinking, even as I gaped at the incredible Infinity Engine graphics, "Gee, that's not very innovative now is it?"

So come to think of it, Bioware have been doing it forever. Dragon Age is nothing new, in both senses of the word. All of it is lifted from elsewhere, as were its predecessors. But what about Mass Effect? Oh yes, utterly generic space opera pastiche. So why do I care? Maybe because RPGs are so starved for new worlds that even something as cliched as that seems fresh in this context? I doubt they'll be able to hold my attention past the Mass Effect trilogy though (if that).

It's kind of sad, really, that the most celebrated RPG maker in the world specializes in creating universes so plain and unimaginative. What does that say about us?

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