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Obsidian is not overrated. Their track record is way better than Bioware's during the 2010's. In fact, it might be the best one in the business for the decade: New Vegas, PoE, PoE2, Tyranny, Stick of Truth.

Bioware: Mass Effect 2, DA: Inquisition.

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Originally Posted by Abits
TL-DR - here you can discuss great RPGs of the past, make recommendations, and share your opinion about which is the best.

We've been beating around the bush for too long. It's time to talk about the greatest RPGs of all times, what made them great, and what can Baldur's Gate 3 learn from them. I want this thread to be a place where you can discuss, argue (nicely), and share your thoughts about the RPG video games we had up until this point. Everything that came before Baldur's Gate 3 is fair game. If you think a game belongs here, it belongs here.

To kickstart this discussion, I made a list of categories, each one about a game and/or company that did something great for the genre. You are welcome to fill out these categories with your favorites, create some of your own, or write anything else you'd like. I do recommend keeping Baldur's Gate 3 in mind, A because after all, it is a Baldur's Gate 3 forum, and B because I think another look at these games and their design might prove useful in improving Baldur's Gate 3.

My list:

Best RPG studio of all times: Bioware

Some would say it's predictable, some would say "wake up the king is dead", and some would consider both statements to be true. But personally, I can't deny that so much of the joy I felt when playing video games comes from playing one Bioware or another. This company has been around for a while, and for a while they were unbeatable. In their prime, they always tried to innovate and change the way they do things, but the core storytelling and character designs remained the same. Some would say Bioware fall stems from teaming up with the devil, I mean EA (sorry devil, even you are not that bad), but I think Bioware tried too much to casualize their games, which led to their downfall. I really hope they'll come back though, but on the other hand, I think there are others that keep their old flame burning (namely CD project, but time will tell).

Best RPG game series: Baldur's Gate

Another obvious choice, but a well-deserved one. The original Baldur's Gate was quite Unique (or so I've been told, I didn't play it until much later). A lot of exploration in a beautiful world map, nice quest, and cool story. The DND systems in place provided a lot of tactical fun, and it had a great sense of humor. The Second Baldur's Gate was an undisputed (as much as these things can be) masterpiece. This series shows how to take something great, and improve upon it without throwing out anything. The second game had a great story, amazing characters, and even better combat mechanics. This is the perfect example of how to create a good RPG series, take what was good and improve all the rough parts. Bioware made similar things with Mass Effect 2 (which is still considered to be the best in that series) but the Baldur's Gate will always be a shining beacon of a good game design advancement.

Best RPG for modders The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim

Skyrim is a great and fun game. It has a vast and inviting world, some crazy fun side quest, and cool mechanics. But to be honest, even in the Elder Scroll series alone, there are other games who did all of these things much better. No, Skyrim's greatest asset is its modding community. with (as of now) 65 thousand mods, this game shelf life seems almost infinite. You can find almost any kind of mod you want in Skyrim, from some cosmetic enhancements to amazing fully voice acted quests. Even after almost a decade, this game produces something like 80 mods in a week, and there are many YouTube channels whose sole purpose is to find the best of the best. If mods are your thing, don't miss this one

Best RPG for normies:The Witcher 3

I'll say it upfront - I don't care about combat mechanics. Almost don't care at all. If the combat mechanics are really terrible I might not replay a game (hence why I never could finish a second playthrough of the first Witcher game), but if the story is good enough, I really don't mind. The Witcher 3's combat mechanics are fine IMO. They are fun enough. But since they are action game combat mechanics, I saw many people who say this game (along with Skyrim I suppose) shouldn't be part of best RPGs lists. And I think it's wrong. I think the most important aspects of every RPG (even a tabletop one, but I don't have much experience there so feel free to correct me) are the story, the characters, the world, and the freedom to choose your path. Many video games struggle to achieve all of these together. Skyrim put more emphasis on the world, Mass Effect 2 more on the story and characters, but in very rare cases you get a game that can pull off all of them. and I think the Witcher 3 is such a game. It has its flaws, sure, but it is still a great RPG, and (warning controversial opinion) this game is as much a BG successor as any other CRpg wannabe. You need more than an isometric point of view and RTwP to create something as unique as BG2.

Most Overrated Studio: Obsidian

Now hold on a second, I want to make it clear - if you love Obsidian that's perfectly fine, and most likely that at least in this forum you are the majority (hence the word overrated). I'm not trying to just put Obsidian down, only to talk about my completely subjective opinion of this studio. Feel free to disagree.

If we would say the RPG industry is a classroom, Obsidian always struck me as the edgy wisecracking kid who sits in the back and talk down his teachers. Although they have their formula (which is very different from Bioware's, nut formula all the same), they tend to try to do new things with their stories. I think I like the ideas of most of their games' stories are great and thought provoking, they usually come in a very mediocre package. Very messy but slow start, uninteresting characters, and a sense of humour I don't particularly like made some of their games a real slog for me, and although I played many Obsidian game, I only finished a select few.

Most Promising Studio: Owelcat

I was really struggling with this one. My default answer here is still CD Project Red, a small Polish studio that it's last title made them a huge success in the gaming world and not only in the RPG fandom. And if you're cool with first person shooters, I honestly think it still is. But unfortunately for me, I simply loath this game perspective, and avoided many (supposedly) great games because of it.

For me, another great promise is Owlcat. They have only one game under their belt, but what a game it is. Pathfinder: Kingmaker not only drawed from the mythology of RPG games design, but also found a new and cool ways to innovate and mix up the old formula. Making your main character a lord of small province and having the leadership being a major part of your experience, was a great addition. Other games tried to do similar things, but no one did as successfully. Other than that, Kingmaker has a solid story, very interesting companions, and deep dnd game mechanics. It is rough around the edges, but it shows great promise. I can't wait to see what owlbear will do next.

The one Game that has Everything Baldur's Gate 3 needs to become a legend: Dragon Age: origins

Dragon Age Origins doesn't have the best story or characters. It's combat is fine, nothing to write home about. But I think that if there was one game that showed how important execution is, it was this one. This game has a lot of flags. You could start as a human noble or a dwarven outcast, but either way not only the world respond to you, who you are has a direct influence on the direction the story will go to. The best example is the Landsmeet scene. Without spoilers, I'll only say that scene has many different outcomes many variables and a lot of dialogue lines that shift and change according to the choices you made previously and during it, and everything works and makes sense. This scene also shows that in order to write a western RPG with multiple choice, good story and characters are not always enough. You need attention to details, and to foresee what choices the player might make, and accommodate them. If you wish to see an example of how it is done wrong, give Divinity Original Sin 2 another try.

My favourite game of all times: Star Wars: Knights of the old Republic

I guess you always remember your first. The first western RPG I played is objectively a very good game. It has an interesting star Wars story, great characters, and a fine combat system that's based on a streamlined version of dnd. It is kinda binary in its choices (light side dark side) and is probably unplayable bon most modern machines, but what can I say, love it. And that twist. Damn.



Ya, maybe put divine divinity on the list, you know the game larian did in 2002 & every game that followed. Imagine actually having respect for the company.

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Best modders were for fallout 4 imo. The game was turned from trash to gold though mods whereas Skyrim was pretty good to start with.

Best studio is difficult because the owners changed and turned them into mass effect - my face is tired and dragonage - sexual assault. Dragonage origins was a great game. Mass effect 1&2 were great games but are all cancelled out by the crap they released after.

I hated PoE, and PoE2 just couldn't get into it as the characters and they bored me to death. Tyranny was the length of a game demo, was really getting into it before I completed it after what figured was the prologue.

Bethedsa is the most overrated game publisher.

I cannot compare games from 1987 to games from 2020 tbh. I loved the original "Syndicate" on the Amiga, loved Zelda on the NES and SNES, loved FF7 on the playstation 1, loved BG1&2 on the PC, Fallout 1&2 beat BG, ToEE on the PC was really underrated, SWKOTR1&2, Vampire the Masquerade, vampire the masquerade bloodlines, resident evil 1&2........

Best RPG of all time? Witcher 3 hands down. No game comes close, combat sucked a bit but cinimatically, voice acting, animations, graphics and story telling set a new standard in gaming.

Best gaming studio of all time? CD project red for the Witcher series alone. No SJW shit, no forced agendas, no nickle and dime microtransactions.

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To me the most fun character building was in Arcanum: of Steamworks and Magick Obscura. The character combinations you could come up with were endless. Definitely a game that deserves a reboot but at the same time I'd be scared that whoever tried it would screw up or simplify the character building mechanic.

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Originally Posted by SorcererVictor
Originally Posted by kanisatha
I agree with some of your choices and not others. But special mention of so very strongly disagree on Obsidian. For me, Obsidian is the best cRPG studio currently out there.

Obsidian did a lot of masterpieces like kotor 2 and FNV but also did a lot of AWFUL things like dungeon siege 3 which is awful like diablo 3.

You mean they did what they needed to do to pay their bills?

As @Wormerine correctly points out, Obsidian has a tremendously wide-ranging portfolio demonstrating that they are not a one-trick pony and can make so many different types of games, from Dungeon Siege and Armored Warfare to the Pathfinder card game and Grounded.

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Adding another hot take to the pile.

Best RPG studio: Larian Studios (I've been a huge fan since Divine Divinity.)

Best RPG game series: The Elder Scrolls. (The evolution of the series has been awe-inspiring.)

Best RPG for modders: Fallout: New Vegas. (So. Many. Improvements.)

Best RPG for normies: Modern JRPGs in general. (Perfect for the everyday mouthbreather.)

Most Overrated Studio: Modern-day Square Enix. (Oh how far they've fallen.)

Most Promising Studio: Spiders. (They've consistently improved upon their games and they're almost AAA now.)

The one Game that has Everything Baldur's Gate 3 needs to become a legend: I don't think I understand this very specific question, but BG3 could stand to pull a few things from Pathfinder: Kingmaker.

All-time Favorite: Mother 2 (EarthBound, for the uninitiated.)


I don't want to fall to bits 'cos of excess existential thought.

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Originally Posted by Abits
Originally Posted by Verte
How it is even possible to choose one D: I have sentiment for adventure in Planescape: Torment but judging by playtime then DOS2 + Neverwinter mmo for few years.

That's the beauty of this topic, you don't have to you can choose as many as you want.

Does anyone here remember Alpha Protocol?


Alpha Protocol is one of my favorite games of all time!

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Originally Posted by fallenj

Ya, maybe put divine divinity on the list, you know the game larian did in 2002 & every game that followed. Imagine actually having respect for the company.

I am yet to play pre-D:OS but there actually is a trophy I can give to Larian.

Best Coop RPG:
Divinity:Original Sin (didn’t play D:OS2 in coop so can’t comment on that) 10 hours I played of it in coop, were my best coop hours ever.

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Don't forget that Obsidian have made Neverwinter Nights 2 and its expensions. The main campaign has its flaws and bugs but overall is very well done, I think, in terms of writing and characters. Also, Mask of the Betrayer is up there with the best RPGs ever, DnD or not. I think its high level setting works better than Baldur's Gate's. So, I don't think Obsidian is overated.

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Originally Posted by Danielbda
Obsidian is not overrated. Their track record is way better than Bioware's during the 2010's. In fact, it might be the best one in the business for the decade: New Vegas, PoE, PoE2, Tyranny, Stick of Truth.

Bioware: Mass Effect 2, DA: Inquisition.


Tyranny is not good. Has good story but the mechanics is completely disconnected from the lore.

Obsidian also nerfed casters really hard on nwn2 and made awful games like Dungeons Siege 3.

Being better than post EA BioWare is not that a big thing.

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Originally Posted by Gt27mustang
Don't forget that Obsidian have made Neverwinter Nights 2 and its expensions. The main campaign has its flaws and bugs but overall is very well done, I think, in terms of writing and characters. Also, Mask of the Betrayer is up there with the best RPGs ever, DnD or not. I think its high level setting works better than Baldur's Gate's. So, I don't think Obsidian is overated.

Yup, NwN2 (and especially MotB) is second only to BG1 among the old D&D games for me. Love it more than BG2.

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I don't follow studios...so, I'm just going to list some of the NPCs that had the most influence or which I have the most persistent fond memories of.

The Gold Box games, Pool of Radiance, Curse of the Azure Bonds, Secret of the Silver Blades, Pool of Darkness...played all of those...played a Gateway and Treasures of the Savage Frontier and Champions of Krynn too. The gameplay has really not aged well, though Gold Box Companion adds a lot of QoL upgrades that make it good.

Vampire:The Masquerade - Bloodlines, very cool game.

City of Heroes - From Third Wave Beta to shutdown, great superhero MMO, easy to play as an entirely solo experience, generally only played with family and other friends or just completely solo. (yes, there's private servers out there, I am playing on some of them.)

The Secret World/Secret World Legends = Let's punch Cthulhu in the face! Yeah! Get to be a nigh-immortal superhero...sort of like being in a grimmer version of City of Heroes with worse travel options...but still cool stories and again, very solo-able (to a point)

Neverwinter Nights and Neverwinter Nights 2 - I've replayed the original campaigns of these so many times. I prefer NWN2 because it has more character build options, but they're both great.

Sword Coast Legends - I know a lot of people dislike this as a D&D game and it isn't a D&D game even if it is a Faerun game. I enjoyed the story and the characters...and some of the bosses were quite clever. I wish it had done better so we could have seen more expansions on it.

Lord of the Rings Online - Such a weird mix of nerding out and nerd rage....amazing game for any Tolkien-fan...even when you're complaining about the small odd things they got wrong.

Vampire: The Masquerade - Redemption - Also a very cool game: Pissed off Cristoff.

Pillars of Eternity - I love the reputation systems and it's a wonderfully pleasant dark fantasy storyline.

Shadowrun Returns / Shadowrun: Dragonfall / Shadowrun: Hong Kong - All the three of the recent Shadowrun games are good, but Shadowrun: Hong Kong just is amazing. So good. Though I have to give real props to whoever wrote/designed the companion characters in Dragonfall....oh man, Glory struck a nerve in a wonderfully emotion stirring way.

Grim Dawn / Titan Quest - Like with LotRO, Titan Quest is great for a mythology nerd....though it is a LOT more "got it wrong" than in LotRO. Grim Dawn is basically the same system of Titan Quest with some severe upgrades and an entire extra layer to the characters builds that makes for some wonderful replayability.

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You guys go on I just wanna say I'm so excited to find other fans of Alpha Protocol. do you remember this foxy lady?
[Linked Image]

Last edited by Abits; 05/11/20 06:07 AM.

Larian's Biggest Oversight, what to do about it, and My personal review of BG3 EA
"74.85% of you stood with the Tieflings, and 25.15% of you sided with Minthara. Good outweighs evil, it seems."
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DDO, lotro, sword coast legends, ice wind dale 1&2. Most of DAO, less of DA2 .....
Don’t hate on the console gamer - Final Fantasy 7, balders gate dark alliance 1&2 - I know they are action rpgs but they were bloody brilliant for a ps2 game and were D&D.

I have a long list of rpgs that I just could never finish...something else always came along ...it’s a gamers thing I reckon ..lol.

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We should talk about Jrpgs as well, lots of gems there. Also, some people have mentioned DA2 which I also think deserves a serious discussion. Personally I think it is a really underated game. Very rough around the edges, but has so much cool and unique stuff about it.


Larian's Biggest Oversight, what to do about it, and My personal review of BG3 EA
"74.85% of you stood with the Tieflings, and 25.15% of you sided with Minthara. Good outweighs evil, it seems."
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This reminds me that I've yet to play Alpha Protocol, which sadly isn't available digitally anymore due to licensing rights (music?) frown Dragon Age 2, not so much. The demo gave me early 1990s multimedia/interactive movie vibes. It was like combat, cutscene, combat, cutscene, combat, cutscene -- there wasn't even any exploration or anything in between. It was also the game that made Brent Knowles quit Bioware http://blog.brentknowles.com/2010/0...summer-2009/comment-page-1/#comment-2398 (in general, anybody "hoping" for them to stage a "comeback" is mislead -- it's people making games, not company logos. The amount of people that have quit there is quite something, including the owners. Doesn't mean they'd never make a decent game again, however, they will be of a different mold). Speaking of which, Obsidian have lost talent too (Fenstermaker, Ziets, Avellone, et all).

That's why looking at Bioware, which I haven't followed in ages, I'm more curious about the new studio set up by James Ohlen, a major force behind the original BGs etc. He's set up camp at Archetype together with ex-Bioware staff such as Chad Robertson and their former writer Drew Karpyshyn likewise. That's what Karpyshyn had to say about it.

Quote
I’ve been in the video game industry for twenty years now. When I started at BioWare, everything was fresh and exciting. It was a dream job – talented people working together to create epic games like Baldur’s Gate, KOTOR, Mass Effect and Dragon Age. But as we grew and became more successful, things changed. We became more corporate. We were less able to make what we loved, and the teams were pushed to create games based on market research rather than our creative instincts and passions. My dream job became just a job, and I lost the enthusiasm and excitement I once had.

But with Archetype, my passion has been rekindled. The feel in the studio reminds me of my early days at BioWare


http://drewkarpyshyn.com/c/?p=1089

Last edited by Sven_; 05/11/20 10:03 AM.
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Has anyone yet mentioned the game "Adventure" for the original Atari game console?

That game had all the critical story elements: a magic sword, castles, dragons, the holy grail, and a flying bird of chaos. And it had a secret room. It was quite a step up from "Pong", and it paved the way for the emerging CRPG market.

Dialog was terrible, though.

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Best RPG studio of all times: Bioware

Best RPG game series: Dragon Age

Best RPG for modders: Neverwinter Nights

Best RPG for normies: what is a normie?

Most Overrated Studio: Bethesda

Most Promising Studio: Larian

The one Game that has Everything Baldur's Gate 3 needs to become a legend: Neverwinter Nights

My favourite game of all times: Neverwinter Nights / DO:S2 (not really an RPG of old)


About Bethesda:
I always WANT to love Fall Out and Elder Scrolls. But I just can't. 3 hours in these games start to bore me.

About Neverwinter Nights (1):
Surely, it's base campaign was dull as hell. But it's game design program and DM client where the best of the best, far beyond what DO:S2 gave us. And very user friendly too. NWN still is the ultimate game for running a classic table top 3th Edition D&D game on a computer.






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Originally Posted by Sven_
This reminds me that I've yet to play Alpha Protocol, which sadly isn't available digitally anymore due to licensing rights (music?) frown

Yup. Luckily for me I bought it before that. I think you will be justified in this case on acquiring the game by means available to you.

Alpha Protocol is such a broken mess, but such an interesting broken mess. Only game I raged uninstalled, only to watch download bar 10 minutes later. I really would like to see the sequel. AP has so many great ideas, but it's held back by so many broken things.

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I really enjoyed alpha protocol's settings.

About Bethesda - screw them. The only reason their game are good are because of mods


Larian's Biggest Oversight, what to do about it, and My personal review of BG3 EA
"74.85% of you stood with the Tieflings, and 25.15% of you sided with Minthara. Good outweighs evil, it seems."
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