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Old 06-05-2008, 10:48 PM   #1
Blood-Pigggy
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Default Planescape: Torment

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PLANESCAPE: TORMENT
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You there! I sentence you to an eternity of dialog screens with brief intermissions of mediocre gameplay!
Planescape: Torment is not a hit or miss game, it is essentially the encapsulation of what most people consider a perfect RPG. That is, if you fall into the category of deluded newbie RPG gamers who still believe that the most important aspect of an RPG is its story.

Hell, even some stalwart and ancient RPG gamers place emphasis on story.
You might say, well isn't that what an RPG is? An epic story played through by your unique avatar? No numbnuts. An RPG is one of the most down to earth mechanical beasts there is. A hardcore RPG's gameplay is not formed by illusions and visual appeal. RPGs don't rely on the adrenaline rush of an FPS to provide structure. Not the cinematic or interactive nature of an Adventure game.

RPGs rely on hard numbers, tough as nails combat, and most importantly, the gamer's own intuition. There is no other genre that leaves its players to their own devices like an RPG does, and that usually means that it also doesn't nudge them along when they stumble into a bad situation. If you meet a pack of monsters too powerful for you and perhaps your party, then it was most likely your own damn fault for not paying attention.
Those were pretty much the guidelines for RPGs as they had first emerged, some of RPG gaming's oldest geezers such as Ultima and Wizardry were incredibly simplistic and at the same time alienating.
But those games had the original diagram of what RPGs were, the exploration, the unforgiving combat and governing character development.

Of course, that system has been improved, changed, and at times even diluted. Those ever important guidelines have also found themselves broken down and slapped onto shallow representations of the genre, a simple method of building up the things that RPGs never were, and then simply applying quite sparingly the things that they always were. It gave us Diablo, it gave as Oblivion, and while one of those games has no qualms of labeling itself as an action-RPG, too many gamers have been wooed by the modern RPG's promise of physical customization and the assurance that the most important numbers you will see is how much hurt your new sword will manage to inflict.

How many of us scoff at games like Oblivion, Mass Effect, and even games like KOTOR? Lots of course, but how many turn and scoff at games like Planescape: Torment? Not many, yet hypocrisy crawls into every avenue of this concept. If Oblivion is the deconstruction of RPGs from their original stats oriented hardcore forms, then isn't Planescape: Torment the same?

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I bet Dhall's fat ass tome there couldn't even contain all of Planescape's dialog, hell, I bet it wouldn't even be able to fit the names of the people who died from old age attempting to read the entire script.
Planescape: Torment begins with a rather encouraging start. Charisma and Wisdom are hardly useless stats, the atmosphere and art design is impeccable, and the writing is superb.
Maybe the rather bare bones character generation will throw you off, but the game promises better things and the opportunity to shape your character through his deeds. But much like many other things in this game, that manages to fall flat as well, and I'll be going over it in detail.

The general story revolves around the Nameless One, an amnesiac who seems to be immortal yet loses all memory of himself and of anything else each time he "dies". It's original and well written, as is the dialog. Throughout your adventures you will uncover memories of your past, which is where high Wisdom comes in, the better your Wisdom, the higher the chance to recover memories, and there are quite a lot of them. You'll also come across some of the most unique and memorable NPCs in any RPG ever, and you'll also come across some of the most worthless and annoying NPCs in any RPG ever.
The setting is just as obscure as the story, landing you in Sigil, which is essentially the hub of inter-portal travel, nicknamed the "City of Doors" for its wealth of portals. As the lore goes, portals can be anywhere, and can activated by nearly anything, one portal might open to a whistle, while another only opens if someone pulls out their intestines and shoves it into their own mouth. That doesn't actually happen, but it gets the point across, there are some very unusual instances in the game when it comes to methods used to open portals.

Your first sight in Sigil will be the Mortuary, and the first NPC you meet will be Morte, a floating obnoxious skull who can't shut up. He'll fill you in on the basic and vague elements of the plot and provide some amusing lines (which aren't so amusing anymore after he becomes useless as a fighter half-way through the game).

After a bit of dialog (that'll take you at least twenty freakin' minutes to traverse if you're thinking about the responses you want to give) you'll have to smack around some zombies in order to get a key to leave the preparation room that you were dumped in while you were in the process of being "dead".

It's at this moment that Planescape's most glaring flaw will rear its ugly ass, combat blows. Hard. I have not seen many RPGs with combat as dull as Torment's. The combat animations are lousy at best and intensely annoying at worst (the Nameless One looks like the biggest pansy when he swings a dagger, like he's doing a god damn ballet dance). I usually don't care about that in an RPG, but it's hard to ignore when Torment's view is about twice as close as Baldur's Gate. This means you can only see small portions of the environment at a time, and things are fat and in your face during combat.
So while you're watching your nimrods swing away at enemies you'll not only be amazed by the mediocrity of the combat, but also how unmanagable and impossible to control it gets during larger fights. Spell effects, while pretty, are flamboyant and fill up nearly the whole damn screen, some also tend to pause the game and force you to glare at an agonizingly slow spell effect that gets old after you've been forced to sit through it through the tenth time.
Nearly all the high level spells do this, and since being a Mage is the only worthwhile choice in the entire game, you're going to be wasting a whole lot of time tearing out your eyeballs while waiting for the spells to finish. Some spells even play videos, these can be skipped, but if I wanted this sort of junk I'd have gone and played Final Fantasy. And I hate Final Fantasy.
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Ha ha ha! Look upon me and despair, for I shall force you to sit through this needless and vain display of flamboyantly excessive art designers! Oh, but I am not done yet, as I will only do five damage to your enemies and proceed to kill your whole party! Ha ha ha!
If you want to be a fighter, you'll have to rest with the fact that it will be impossible for you to access the majority of Planescape's back story since you'll be spending too much time pumping stats into your Strength and Constitution, since... well, the Nameless One can't wear armor, he can only wear jewelry and wear tattoos that at their best are only slightly useful.
Of course, being a thief is pointless since at the point you'll actually start needing a thief, the game already throws Annah at you who is one of the most effective thieves I have ever seen in any D&D games, to the point that you can just pickpocket everyone in town and avoid that pesky problem of actually having to flesh out the game with quests that reward you with money or useful items.
To add more to the hatred, Planescape is incredibly linear. You'll be going through areas as the story guides you, and there's usually no deviation. This means you're going to be stuck in some areas for a good portion of the game (the Dead Nations can kiss my ass).

Planescape's developers at Black Isle must have noticed that it's pointless to be anything other than a mage (the quest to undergo training as a mage is one of the most unbelievably atrocious and horrendous fetch quests in the history of ANY RPG) because all the other useful NPCs are all combat oriented. Morte at first is an incredible damage dealer and at the same time a great little meat shield since his physical and magical resistances are through the roof (although later you'll just be throwing him into hordes of enemies as he nips at them with whatever ineffective magical teeth you have him equipped with while he soaks up damage), Dak'kon the githzerai is a mediocre spell caster, but he simply chainsaws through enemies with the best weaponry and tattoos - to the point that you can just let him do all the physical fighting.
Dak'kon also has the only bit of backstory that is actually fully fleshed out an resolved with the Nameless One, and I have to admit that he is one of the best written and most memorable NPCs in any game. Of course, the only way to upgrade his weapon and uncover most of his past is by playing a Good and smart/wise/charismatic Nameless One, in other words, a Mage.

The NPCs start pouring in after that, with Annah as your thief (a tiefling, meaning a half-demon, half-human thingy, she essentially has a tail, typical nerd boner stuff) Fall-From-Grace as your cleric (a succubus who defies her evil nature) the vastly overrated (personality-wise) Nordom, who while being an annoying prick is also the only ranged character in the game and tears through enemies with the proper bonuses (Nordom is a Modron, a mechanical cube being, and in his case he went rogue and joined your party after you go through a terribly annoying dungeon). After that the NPCs are merely supplemental.

And to be quite honest, they are also entirely useless.
The last two NPCs kind of work like opposites. Vhailor is a floating suit of armor obsessed with justice. His backstory can be uncovered in a few lines of dialog and is amazingly underwhelming. On the other hand, he's measurably (in galaxies) more useful than Ignus, while while having an interesting and emotional backstory is probably the crappiest mage I've ever had the pleasure of having in my party in any RPG (that includes Xan from Baldur's Gate).

Quite frankly, the only NPCs you'll ever need are Dak'kon, Morte, Nordom, Fall-From-Grace and Annah. You can even chuck Annah and Nordom near the end of the game as the rest of the experience is unbelievably easy combat wise if you properly developed your party.

Or not.

You see, the balancing in Planescape is atrocious. I found myself getting butchered by the same boss over and over (Trias) because of his incessant use of the cheapest spell ever created. With a single cast of Bladestorm, he could effectively kill a good quarter of my party.
Compare this to the last boss who is total cake, and you have a whole lot of moments where you wonder what the developers were doing.
Sometimes it feels like the enemies the developers intended to be cannon fodder instead come out as impossible road blocks, whereas the major battles with the plot's most pivotal characters tend to be incredibly easy.

Torment feels like it's all over the place when it comes to difficulty.

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You can try to grind for experience all you like, but the only time you're going to level up is when you talk, which while not a problem in itself, is quite disconcerting when you realize that there's nothing else to Torment.
These instances of combat are entirely superficial though, the only time you'll actually need to engage in combat is when the game requires you to. There's no incentive to go out and kill monsters on your own as the only good sources of experience are from completing quests and dialog. This is pretty bad in comparison to games like Fallout that allows you to either kill everyone, be diplomatic, or a mixture of both and still get decent and balanced experience out of each route.
Not so in Planescape, which is just another reason why being a mage is the only plausible option. The possibility of making these quests unique isn't even realized, as the majority of quests revolve around talking to one character, talking to another, then talking to another, and talking until you've talked to the point where you talked yourself some experience. Other times you get some fetch quests, and these are as dull as expected. Some of them are worse in fact, I believe I've already mentioned the abomination of a quest that Mebbeth the midwife gives you, all in an attempt for the old annoying hag to teach you how to be a mage.

That's another problem with Planescape, leveling up is dumbed down to the point where you just get a few stat points each level, if you're a thief you can boost your thieving skills, or if you decide to have Annah in your party then you can boost her thieving skills.
Improving your actual usage of weaponry is restricted to isolated and hard to find trainers. Sometimes these bastards will only teach single paths of weaponry, and since being a mage is the only plausible option, it's a pain in the ass to scrounge around for people late game trying to improve your skill with daggers so that the Nameless One will cut people deeper while swinging his little butter knife around gayly.

Alas, to make it worse the magic system has also been mutated into something unsavory. You still get the usual method of memorizing spells then resting to ready them, but spells are unbelievably stupid when it comes to their effects. Everything but the most measly and pathetic enemies in Torment has nearly impossible resistances to any spells that require saving throws, so there's practically no point to using any spells like Entangle in order to gain a tactical advantage. In fact, what's the point of Entangle if there's only one ranged character?
While it's the most profitable path to be a mage (the only path to give you an inkling of a reward) it's also no more complex than a fighter. You're going to be casting a hell of a lot of Magic Missles, that number will be amplified halfway through the game as you get Enoll Eva's Duplication, essentially Torment's Spell Sequencer spell as it immediately casts whichever spell you choose twice.

Everything about Torment's combat is flat, I don't think the description can go beyond that as there's nothing to get excited about, it's all tears and misery.

Of course, then there's the part that manages to blind most RPG gamers who play this unfathomably overrated vessel of tripe. The story and presentation.
You're getting quite an elaborate tale here, along with several unusual and well design settings. Sigil is a strange warped landscape with buildings that seemingly grew out of the structure of the city, and inhabitants that are just as unusual.
There are loads and loads of dialog, and while all of it is incredibly well written (thanks to Chris Avellone) it's not all equally interesting. There's a lot of boring dialog in the game, and most of these instances seem to go on forever.

Lots of dialog also falls flat when it comes to their desired affect. Allowing an old man to experience a stored memory of his deceased daughter at the Sensorium (a really queer place that houses a variety of "sensory stones" that hold memories and experiences for all to enjoy, or to suffer through) comes through as rather dull, even though his daughter takes a up a major part of the storyline.
Similarly, other pieces of dialog is incredibly dull even though it's essential to the story, speaking with the Pillar of Skulls is a test of endurance, and F'jhull Forktongue was written to be an oppressed jackass who is bound by contract to help others, but only seems to be a cranky and annoying wanker.

It's funny that the most appealing dialog comes through side material. Dak'kon's story in particular is touching and amazingly elaborate and well written. The "history" of his people and his connection to the Nameless One are all addressed in a special little distraction involving a unique inventory item of Dak'kon's.
You don't choose your alignment at the beginning of the game, instead it develops through your actions. Most of this stuff isn't too obvious, although all of it is dialog oriented. You don't get more or less evil for attacking random people or other species on the street, and it isn't effected when you steal junk.
This just weirded me out. There are several instances that don't make sense. In the Mortuary starting out, you'll encounter several Dustmen (caretakers of the dead) who'll confront you about wandering around in the structure. During dialog there's an option to snap their neck, if you've got the Agility for it that is.
What makes this so stupid is that if you snap their neck you become more evil, if you just kill them in normal combat without speaking to them at all or without them being hostile, nothing happens. Nada. What's more evil? Attempting to kill someone after you realize they might call the guards on you, or attempting to kill someone just because they happened to be walking around? Madness!
Factions are also present in Planescape, although their effects are so negligible that it's hardly part of the game, some areas will be restricted while others won't, it's pretty standard stuff and it's pretty damn easy to avoid most of the time.

The visuals are all neat, even if at Torment's release most games were foregoing the restriction of the standard 640x480 resolution. That means that everything is going to be real damn close. It's like Baldur's Gate zoomed in, and it seems totally unnecessary.
The developers said this was because there wasn't much ranged combat in Torment, I say it's an excuse to avoid having to put the effort into implementing ranged combat in their already broken combat system.

Even while your face is going to be smashed into the scenery, it all looks nice, even if it isn't practical to wander around. I found characters getting stuck behind things all the time, buildings would cover up characters and sometimes I'd search for long ass times just trying to find where the Nameless One had another attack of amnesia and decided to shamble off.
The spell effects all look good as mentioned before, but as mentioned before these spell effects avoid being practical and instead decide to look pretty and waste your time.

I can't complain about Torment's sound. It's okay enough, you're going to get some spectacular voice acting, but otherwise the atmospheric sound and combat effects are particularly repetitive and synthesized sounding. While Mark Morgan composed Planescape's score (he did the masterful ambient Fallout soundtracks) the music is highly repetitive, dull, and worst of all he seemed to have gotten lazy and uses the same basic melody in all of his music, which is a chorus wailing the main theme over and over while Morgan clumsily slapped on generic loud ass combat music that you'll be begging to turn off after a few rounds of mediocre "smash-the-rat".

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There are quite a few interesting and unconventional settings in Torment, although most of the time it feels like you're an ancient near sighted senior citizen attempting to make out what's in front of him from a few inches away. All thanks to the ridiculous zoom level of course.
I once again come to my main point. What are RPGs? RPGs aren't action drenched stats-lite killfests. And RPGs sure as hell aren't dialog drenched stats-lite boring crappy combat fests.
If you think Oblivion is a poor example of an RPG, add Planescape onto the list it might as well have been a piking text adventure for all the RPG gameplay it is.

How does it compare? Minimal character development? Check. Atrocious braindead combat? Check. Unoriginal quests with typical goals? Check. Emphasis of style over depth? Check. A dull boring story with endless cliches? Sure as hell no.
The fact is, if Planescape is the prime example of what an RPG should be, then maybe we should just replace Temple Of Elemental Evil's combat system with Oblivion's. Maybe we should just chuck the complexity and hardcore gameplay of the venerable Gold Box titles. Hell, let's just make a slideshow of Leonardo Da Vinci's Mona Lisa, Michael Angelo's David, and the rest of the world's most unspeakably beautiful artwork while setting off explosions in the background and having Morgan Freeman narrate the most spellbinding story ever told.

That'd be what you're getting from Planescape. All story, all style, no substance. No gameplay.

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Gameplay
- 3
Graphics - 8
Sound - 5
Polish - 2
Overall - 4.9
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Pros - Good graphics, unique style, memorable characters and well written dialog, fantastic story

Cons - Atrocious combat, abysmal balancing, too many worthless NPCs, low resolution graphics, visuals zoomed in at microscopic levels, poor character development, no point to be anything other than a freaking mage, sucky soundtrack
EDIT: I lowered the score even more because I recalled how god damn terrible the combat music was and I reduced the sound score a whole two points in a sudden fit of intense rage.
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Last edited by Blood-Pigggy; 06-05-2008 at 11:04 PM.
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Old 06-05-2008, 11:08 PM   #2
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BP, it's not that the things you point out aren't important but story is and always will be the most important aspect of any RPG or adventure game. Without a good story the game is nothing no matter how good everything else is.
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Old 06-05-2008, 11:15 PM   #3
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HA HA HA! Coming from someone who has an ULTIMA game's cover as his avatar!

Seriously, the first three Ultimas practically had no story. The early Wizardry games practically had no story. In fact, I can go ahead and say that the entire Wizardry series had really generic stories. The original Baldur's Gate had a shallow story at best, Fallout's plot line was only redeemed by the Master's unique motivations, and for god's sake people, since when did anyone consider the Might & Magic series to have good stories?

Face it, the majority of the most influential, venerable, respected and well known RPGs ever made are transparent when it comes to the storyline.

It is one of the least important elements in an RPG. A singeplayer FPS needs a story to move forward the chain of events, a la Half-Life and its cinematic twist. An adventure game needs a story because that's all an adventure game is. A freaking professional strategy game needs at least a trace of a story to make the conflict make sense.

An RPG? All you need to know is that there's a fantasy/steampunk/modern/whatever setting, and there's a bunch of dangerous things in them and if you kill them you get stronger. Hell, along the way there will be some people you can exploit!

Dialog is incredibly important to the majority of RPGs. Story? Story is a throwaway.

I don't understand the infatuation with it.

Let me make this clear.

I WILL NEVER PLAY A GAME THAT ATTEMPTS TO REPLACE GAMEPLAY, READ "GAME-PLAY" THE PRIMARY WORD BEING GAME - WITH A STORY, NO MATTER HOW GOOD. I WANT TO PLAY A GAME, NOT A BOOK.
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Last edited by Blood-Pigggy; 06-05-2008 at 11:21 PM.
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Old 06-05-2008, 11:26 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Blood-Pigggy View Post
HA HA HA! Coming from someone who has an ULTIMA game's cover as his avatar!

Seriously, the first three Ultimas practically had no story. The early Wizardry games practically had no story. In fact, I can go ahead and say that the entire Wizardry series had really generic stories. The original Baldur's Gate had a shallow story at best, Fallout's plot line was only redeemed by the Master's unique motivations, and for god's sake people, since when did anyone consider the Might & Magic series to have good stories?
Wow where did that come from. Where was I saying anything about Wizardry Or M&M. You are dead wrong about Ultima, however. Maybe the first three weren't as rich as the next three but 4,5 and 6 were some of the best stories ever written for RPG.

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It is one of the least important elements in an RPG. A singeplayer FPS needs a story to move forward the chain of events, a la Half-Life and its cinematic twist. An adventure game needs a story because that's all an adventure game is. A freaking professional strategy game needs at least a trace of a story to make the conflict make sense.

An RPG? All you need to know is that there's a fantasy/steampunk/modern/whatever setting, and there's a bunch of dangerous things in them and if you kill them you get stronger. Hell, along the way there will be some people you can exploit!

Dialog is incredibly important to the majority of RPGs. Story? Story is a throwaway.

I don't understand the infatuation with it.
Without a good story an RPG will bore me to tears after no more than a few hours. When I get done playing an RPG with a good story I feel sad that it is over. When I finish playing an RPG without a good story I usually feel relieved that it is over. I would venture to say that your opinions are not held by the majority of gamers that have had enough experience in the genre to know better.

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Let me make this clear.

I WILL NEVER PLAY A GAME THAT ATTEMPTS TO REPLACE GAMEPLAY, READ "GAME-PLAY" THE PRIMARY WORD BEING GAME - WITH A STORY, NO MATTER HOW GOOD. I WANT TO PLAY A GAME, NOT A BOOK.
To each their own. I will always forgive a mechanical flaw if the story compels me to go forward.
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Old 06-05-2008, 11:52 PM   #5
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I too can forgive simple bugs or quirks. That's why I love Temple of Elemental Evil.

And you aren't getting the difference between dialog and story. A game can have an excellent story and still have atrocious writing, look at the game Pathologic. Planescape on the other hand, has an excellent story and writing, but terrible gameplay.

The point I was trying to make is that the first few Ultimas defined the RPG genre.

People don't remember IV's story unless they've played it. Everyone to this day experiences the effects of IV's gameplay, namely the virtue system and the fact that today so many RPGs have a karma system.

Here's the thing, a great game can have a terrible story and be forgiven. A terrible game cannot have a great story and be forgiven.

It's not how gaming works, it's like being handed a book and being told it's the best book ever, only to open it up and see that it's in a foreign language. It defeats the purpose, good gameplay is supposed to drive forward the story, the story doesn't govern the gameplay, but that's what so many people assume.

When it comes down to the barebone facts, You wouldn't be having fun AT ALL if the gameplay weren't good, lame stories may bore you, but there are legions more people who will rather want to play Icewind Dale over again than sit through the majority of Metal Gear Solid's cutscenes.
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Old 07-05-2008, 12:11 AM   #6
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I understand your points. I think where we differ is in the experience that we want to get from playing an RPG. I'll admit I am more of an adventure game enthusiast which is why I value the story aspect very highly. I am not typically playing an RPG for the thrill of battle and victory although that is part of it. What I like about RPGs over adventure games is there is often more interaction with NPCs than a lot of adventure games have. To me dialog and story should be (but are not always) interrelated.

What I don't like in an RPG is where the dialogue is simply a tool to set up a bunch of meaningless and non-related quests. A good story will start out with what may appear to be unrelated quests and then bring them together or have them be part of the same whole to begin with. To have an RPG force me to trapse all over the game world simply to force me to take on new species of foes and to lengthen the game is the biggest cop out that a designer can make. In fact it really pisses me off when RPGs are artificially lengthened by senseless battles and meaningless quests that are there to do nothing more than to increase your stats.

On the other hand if I know that I am furthering an interesting plot I will be willing to take on whatever foe gets in my way or spend an hour traveling through repetitive dungeons.

Bottom line. I understand and respect what you are saying about game play. We just have a slightly different emphasis on what experience we enjoy more.
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Old 07-05-2008, 12:16 AM   #7
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My point on story wasn't that it shouldn't have an important role. It should, my point was that story is independent from gameplay.

I know what you mean about interconnected quests and the like.
Ever play Fallout? Each quest had great character to it, you could interact with tons of people. I don't mind NPCs with things to say, I hate the majority of RPGs that advertise themselves as having deep NPC interactions but falter in comparison to some more advanced games.

I liked Arcanum despite its heavy flaws for its character, story, and the dialog and NPCs. But Arcanum also had deep character creation, there was a lot of customization.

I think I phrase it best when I say, I don't care about the story the game gives you, at the most it's a just a superflous bonus. What I do care about is the story that the game gives you the liberty of forming, so you define your character through what you do and how people react.
Fallout did that, the later Ultimas did that, Arcanum did that, lots of RPGs did that.

Planescape did not do that, everything was immediate and separated. It had a great story, but that got in the way of nearly everything else. They pounded on dialog in order to make their game unique while forgetting that gameplay is the foundation on which the player's personal story is built on.
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Old 07-05-2008, 02:57 AM   #8
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So you mean... for you, a good RPG is sort of like... Your way of playing constitutes the story? Correct me if I got it wrong.
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Old 07-05-2008, 04:02 PM   #9
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Personally, I enjoy a game more if it contains characters and objectives that I find myself caring about; this is one of the reasons why Max Payne is one of my favourites.
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Old 07-05-2008, 05:54 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blood-Pigggy View Post
I think I phrase it best when I say, I don't care about the story the game gives you, at the most it's a just a superflous bonus. What I do care about is the story that the game gives you the liberty of forming, so you define your character through what you do and how people react.
Fallout did that, the later Ultimas did that, Arcanum did that, lots of RPGs did that.

Planescape did not do that, everything was immediate and separated. It had a great story, but that got in the way of nearly everything else. They pounded on dialog in order to make their game unique while forgetting that gameplay is the foundation on which the player's personal story is built on.
So, what you are saying is that Planescape had a great story but the level of participation in the story lacked. I can buy that. All the other reviews I have read on Planescape rave about it. What I read people saying about it is that it has a great story, a very interesting game world and not bad voice acting.

This gamespot review pretty much sums up why I am really looking forward to playing it. Is the following statement your chief criticism?

"It's fortunate that Torment's dialogue reads well, because there's a lot of it to read; although the game's graphics are evocative and often beautiful, the game's most vivid events are actually written out rather than portrayed onscreen. You might wish the game had a more frequent tendency to show-not-tell; however, its combination of great graphics and writing is generally very effective."


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