yeah I actually thought witcher 2 was more successful in its storytelling (and combat for that matter) but 3 does accomplish being absolutely massive and maintaining an extremely high quality of tone throughout
I think part of my problem was I went straight from Bloodborne to Witcher 3, and just in terms of how interesting it is to press the buttons to make your Man hit things, that’s a massive step down.
I’m Wighting for the Man
yeah this was the issue I had with the game when introducing my brother and cousins to it in co-op
they’re not used to that idea of like, “just do whatever” in that way
and it gets especially intimidating when you’re just kind of dumped into the world and told to talk to people without any real guidance as to how the world works so when they talked to people they were a little confused as to how it would actually matter or what would happen
I probably could have done a better job of priming them for it but yeah
My gf and I played Divinity: OS 1 for the first time the other day. It’s really cool! This is… maybe the first actual CRPG I’ve ever played? I think it’s hers too, though we’ve both played D&D and Pathfinder.
The co-op works very well. We encountered the guards of the first city and our characters got into an argument over whether to teach them a lesson for being disrespectful. We ended up having a rock-paper-scissors match over it. I won, and we fought and murdered the guards in cold blood. We both felt bad about it afterwards. I thought we were just going to beat their asses, not kill them! Next time we play, we’re thinking we’ll probably reload an earlier save and not be sociopaths.
I wish I could use keyboard + mouse controls in co-op, but I get why it’s controller-only. This does mean that I have to wait for my RSI’d thumb to heal before I can safely play any more of it though.
Telegraphing decision consequences is one of those things we haven’t really moved forward on in thirty years of CRPGs; it’s still about discipline and enforcing your quest designers to playtest and question user assumptions.
Recently I really appreciated how well Witcher 3 handled this, with a consistent yet surprising world-logic to both its general world tracks and its core parenting relationship; they have a worldview and the consequences flow well enough out of it that they can use surprising quest conclusions to teach the player the moral rules of the world.
Divinity doesn’t have a strong point of view (besides going for the gag) so the quest designers have less to anchor on. Nor do they have consistent rules for magic, exacerbting the problems.
We talkin’ bout the game where a bunch of people die if you’re nice to a tree?
Yeah, they still throw surprising outcomes, but they use it to teach their underlying logic. I think it’s really impressive how consistent their worldview is across a massive writing team!
I think one thing that might make games of this nature have “choices” that feel more “meaningful” is to implement a last ditch negotiation function after you go down a dialogue tree to the point where it makes people turn hostile against you. Like, this has become a standard outcome of what happens when you are caught stealing in any of these games, you typically get the option to bribe or negotiate your way out. But I feel like, tonally, there should be another stopgap after you’ve entered combat as a result of a conversation gone wrong. Like, after you’ve taken out a couple of the random guards or whatever it should be possible to talk again to see if they have changed their mind. It just kind of does something weird to immersion where you will have a dialogue tree that is not devoid of nuance, but then after that a switch is flipped and everyone just turns into an unreasoning destroy-bot who will fight you to the death regardless of the circumstances. Like, in the aforementioned scene where I accidentally pissed off the Dwarf godfather, it is narratively ludicrous that every single denizen of this underground lair would just mindlessly attack me, even after I have slaughtered like a dozen of their friends or whatever. But it just seems like once “storytelling mode” ends and “combat mode” begins, the only option ever is just to kill everything that moves.
A few things make it tricky (but not necessarily unsolveable!)
Discovering player intent can be tough. In an action context, games need to have instant feedback that a player-initiated negotiation is successful or not, and players need to have enough of a guarantee of safety that they feel comfortable trying it. Since the reaction on success needs to be an instant ‘stop fighting’, this gets tricky with an enemy party engaged in swinging and attacking; it’s tough to cancel their anims on a soft action like dialogue.
Another possibility is to have the NPC force the renegotiation on the player, interrupting the combat. Again, this is really nasty in an action game context - the player is likely in the midst of an emotionally intense action moment, and the game yanks them into another context. It’s like being woken up in the middle of REM sleep.
Finally, in the RPG paradigm, having enemies flee or surrender denies the player of their loot. We’ve worked ourselves to XP for ‘encounters’ rather than kills, so this can be worked around, by adding ‘steal from defeated enemies’ actions or moving loot to storage boxes owned by people who live nearby.
I imagine in your scenario, ‘his friends become your mortal enemies’ is a reasonable answer, and the reasonable way to back out is, ‘leave their home’. And the game supports that, but as the action isn’t ‘recognized’ by the game, it feels unsatisfying.
There’s nothing terribly difficult about scripting combat so that characters surrender or flee at thresholds, but it is normally considered emotionally unsatisfying, as you’re denying the player the ability to perform a skill you’re incentivizing them to be competent in. I think you’d want a strong roleplaying aspect to make up – if you can play to your characters merciful or judicial nature, you will satisfy a different need and make up for it.
there’s at least two fights in torment 2 that you can spend your turn action talking people down from after the battle starts
it’s probably the least clunky thing you do in that combat system
Wolf2: New Colossus is on there now too so check that out if you haven’t already.
Sadly I don’t think that’s included in the “play anywhere” selection (i.e, not available on PC, only on an Xbone which I don’t X-own)
Ah that’s bogus.
Played some Recca. I don’t think I ever noticed before that level 3 B shot is at some points more useful then level 4 B shot. Level 3 B shot has one perfectly centered shot while Level 4 is missing a centered shot.
conducting verbal diplomacy with Phoenix Wright punchiness could easily be more satisfying than fighting is in most RPGs
Judge Eyes having a side story where I have to catch the panty professor (one of three Hentai Masters) and then a guy well.
Makes me want to throw the disc out a window.
that’s too bad, the yakuza games (localized anyhow) have always been remarkably good at not falling into that
that guys a cop though, not a beautiful ethical outlaw, so it figures
Disgraced lawyer turned PI that regularly hangs out with a Toujokai Boss that raised him and the cops do not like him at all. Other lawyers are mixed.
Also if you buy enough from each convience store the clerks like you and then will help you in battle.
And 6 hours into the game it unlocks the ability to play the pinball machine in your office. Oh really because game I thought you cockblocked me by having a pinball machine I couldn’t interact with.
Similarly there is a drone race minigame that is one of those interupt the main story to unlock ones. Afterwards you get told about upgrades that require parts. You have zero parts. Now across Kamurocho are a bunch of parts for you to pickup all over. Thankfully you just have to run over them.
I have not unlocked the girlfriend side-stories (replacing the kabakura entirely) but certainly feel like quiting the game. don’t think they are gonna handle actual interpersonal relationships with any grace.
Also ended up in a brothel where the clerk fully explained the services and wow I can’t believe this game is being localized.