I found Gothic 3 to be buggy to the point of being unplayable. When I tried to download the “patch”, it completely hosed my installation. I returned it and bought Oblivion for my new X-Box 360, and never looked back.
The Witcher is not a big boss game by any means. It has a nice storyline, memorable voice acting and animation, and is a nice departure from always having to choose the “good” dialogue options - you can be an asshole if you want. The graphics and animation are also really nice, especially the weather effects. When it rains, people will scurry under cover and gossip. The game has a lot of combat, but an equally long list of dialogue and storylines. However, the game does feature your character having sex with some of the women in the game. Nothing extreme even on the uncensored version, and it’s kinda done in a more “artsy” style, but it is there. The language is fairly coarse at times, some of the NPC’s are thieves, prostitutes, and the like, but you’d probably find the same sort of things in, say, a romance novel. Which is sort of what the game feels like, an interactive novel with a good bit of combat thrown in. Pros: Excellent lifelike graphics and animation, interesting story, dialogue, characters, and quests. Very heavily story driven, you spend most of the 2nd or 3rd act playing detective trying to solve a mystery, for example. There’s at least 5-6 different conclusions you can come to, depending on who you talk to and in what order. I’d say the game is at least 50-50 combat and talking to people. Cons: combat is somewhat repetitive (cool animations though), no character customization (you’ll wind up maxing almost all your skills and there’s very little in the way of new weapons/armor). If your friend doesn’t mind some heavily obscured and blurry suggestions of sex with a few female NPC’s and the occasional coarse romance novel style dialogue, I’d recommend it.
Would also say no to KOTR. If she’s not a Star Wars fan I doubt if she’d be into it. I’ve heard a lot of people wax on about the storyline and dialogue, most putting it up there with Planescape Torment or the better RPG’s, and I have to say I’m not that impressed. It uses the D&D system, and it’s much more obvious than it was in the Baldurs Gate and Icewind Dale games. If your not a D&D fan, you’re going to spend most of the game wondering what the hell a Will save is, or how to translate those arcane formulas into how much damage a weapon does or which armor is better. The areas are small and linear, and the game feels more like a console RPG than something large and open ended like BG or Fallout.
Mass Effect has no relation to Star Wars. I haven’t played it, but I gather it’s a futuristic, sci fi type RPG, which may be where the Star Wars comparisons come from.
Don’t know of anything else which meets all her requirements
S.T.A.L.K.E.R. has open-ended, RPG elements, but was a bit buggy. Interesting game that couldn’t quite meet its potential.
Oblivion with some choice mods is a lot of fun.
Arcanum? Fallouts 1 and 2?
I don’t get the love for The Witcher. Bought it a while ago and found it tedious beyond belief. Everything said here is absolutely true. And that’s not even counting the bugs.
If you have to re-release the game without the bugs, it ain’t a good game. Terrible, awful coma-inducing stuff. Not fun at all. Ended up trading it in for Force Unleashed, which was in retrospect not the smartest move either; like trading a coma for a hernia.
Oblivion, however, is made of pure win. Can’t say enough good things about it. Has it’s issues, but so does everything.
Mass Effect ain’t as good as the big O, but still pretty damn good. Loved the branching dialogue options. Get it on the 360 if you can; you avoid the DRM asshattery.
OR wait a little bit and get Fable II (everything Fable I should have been, WITH GUNS!) and Fallout 3 (Oblivion - WITH GUNS!).
Clearly Oblivion is what your friend is looking for. I myself consider it distinctly inferior to Morrowind, but it is a hoot nonetheless.
The Gothic series is also good, but you should be warned that it’s a hard core RPG, by which I mean that you’d better love a steep progress curve. Most of the world of the first two games you have to work hard to be able to visit without getting murdered pathetically. For a hard core RPG player, it’s a very satisfying resource management and critical path hunt. Others would probably find it tedious. Gothic 3 is a lot easier, though, but it runs like total crap even on my recently upgraded computer.
Knights of the Old Republic is very good, though not nearly as free and open as the something like Oblivion. Few games are. But its story is excellent and you can run the combat as turn-based. Knights of the Old Republic II is worth playing once you’ve run out of other games.
Deus Ex is a great game, though I should report that I recently overheard some FPS-type players talking about how great a game it was and they were surprised when I described it as an RPG. Some RPG players consider it to have light RPG elements at best – fairly little actual character building and resource management and only a few key points at which you make choices as to your role in the plot. But in fulfilling missions, the sense of freedom you get in your critical path hunt is amazing. Deus Ex 2: Deus Exer is also fun for people who have already beaten Knights of the Old Republic II.
Mass Effect is a great game. I love the look and feel of the world, and the fact that Bioware troubled themselves to fill in the science fiction details about how the technology worked, the planetological description of the worlds you visit (though every planet you land on acts like 1 g whatever its actual gravity), and I appreciate the fact that the whole thing is done in metric. It’s not a sandbox game. You choose your path, but a lot of the side-quests are virtually identical shootouts, and the game automatically adjusts the difficulty to match your current power level. It has something of a Progress Quest vibe because of this. You can level up, but it’ll make no difference in what you’re able to accomplish next. The computer auto-loots for you, with random but level-appropriate gear just teleporting itself into your inventory each time an enemy drops. You’ve got a good-and-evil sort of morality, except I’ve played through as both and found that it makes almost no difference in the dialogue paths, and playing as a Renegade I nearly pinned in Paragon points anyway, because advancing the plot is considered good. Still, I can’t wait for Mass Effect 2. It was a lot of fun, and frankly I’d really like to encourage more science fiction RPGs.
Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines is a must-play for any RPG fan. Again, not a sandbox game, but it does convey a strong sense of freedom within the relatively small world you are given to bustle in. There is little in the way of futzing with equipment, but the actual character building is fun, and has a real and noticable effect on how you are able to proceed next. The atmosphere and situations range from wryly comical to deeply disturbing.
System Shock 2 is the living end. It’s the bee’s knees. It’s far-out and solid and out-of-sight. It’s both a gentle but miraculous household cleanser and cure for dandruff. System Shock 2 loves you and accepts you for who you are.
Neverwinter Nights 2 has the advantage that it can be played a lot more like Baldur’s Gate, though you kind of have to go out of your way to make using strategy more useful than just running up and whaling on enemies. The story is good, though. But if its non-linearity you crave, the Mysteries of Westgate add-on is supposed to be much more in this vein.
For the upcoming games, she should definitely put Divinity 2: Ego Draconis on her to-do list. Only pity is, it’s due out Q2 09.
ETA: Bioshock. Because it deserves to be mentioned. Not an RPG per se - you’ll be pretty much fleshed out power-wise by the end and there’s really no choice of dialogue and such - but great fun.
Odesio: Thanks for the comparison. She’ll definitely give NWN 2 a good look & may just get it. But if she doesn’t like it, she’s coming for you! L “You’re probably right about Oblivion if the characters are anything like MW. They’re damn ugly. Thank the designer gods for the ability to mod this game!”
Grunman: She thinks she may only have played System Shock. “But you have to admit it still doesn’t compare to the graphics & audio quality of Thief. It’s a disappointment that it’s from the same studio. If you like SciFi, check out Area 51, dude! That’s like bad, man. Stellar graphics, interesting & varied game-play, alien mutation abilities and the voices of David Duchovny, Powers Booth, and Marilyn Manson. How the hell can you go wrong?”
Kinthalis: If you would recommend any of the NWN’s for someone wanting to try it, which would you recommend? And will getting the 2nd game first give you too much spoiling info on the 1st game?
DeadlyA: What’s the best place to get info on Fallout 3? She has it reserved but she’s not sure if she really wants to play a shooter.
Re not finishing the main storyline after 500 hrs "Right on! That’s the way I am about MW. I’ve modded the crap out of it & I play a hot sexy MeadowFae character and have survival-type mods- everything from farming to making my own clothes. I find myself seriously wishing the designers had taken the game to the next level & had way more AI in the game. Imagine playing this game & getting arrested, having to break free from prison & being a wanted criminal for the entire game. Or even better, imagine being sold into slavery & having to obey your master’s wishes in order to stay alive & be fed until you could maybe stockpile food & find a weapon to escape. Or what about spending a few hundred hours as a sailor out at sea learning to fish & fight, increasing your skills, etc. The possibilities would be freaking endless! This is what I mean by a life-replacement system. I would kill to see this happen in games!
“Are the quests in Oblivion a little more adult & complicated that the ones they scripted in MW? Those are completely ridiculous. It’s nothing more than a bunch of mindless running-around.”
RyJae: 1 GB memory, 85 GB HD, Nividia 6200 Go- more than enough!
Lute: More info on Silverfall please.
Apocalypso: "Thanks for the totally awesome description! I’m heading out to get the Witcher!
MOIDALIZE: “Hell yeah! I love Arcanum! That’s a bad-ass old game!”
JohnnyA: “What is so fantastic about Baldur’s Gate? I tried it & had to stop playing after 10 minutes and was tired of bullsh*t graphics & the tiny little characters.”
I liked Baldur’s Gate 2 a whole lot better than the original. Still has teeny characters, but a lot better personalities and interactions, and there are a lot of mods out there to add NPCs/interactions/quests/etc.
Regarding Oblivion - does the character movement look the same as in Morrowind? I really wanted to play Morrowind but it fits into the strange category of games that creates motion sickness in me within about 15 minutes of playing. (The maze in the basement of Plane of Mischief in EQ did that too, if anyone else is familiar with that.)
NWN: The two games have very little to do with another in terms of story line, so you won’t really be spoiling much if you try 2 first. NWN is easy on the system requirements, but the graphics are definitely dated by now. Don’t expect Oblivion and you’ll be alright. Thing is, if I tell you to try NWN 1 and then pick up 2, assuming you like NWN 1, you have so much stuff to do that you might get to NWN 2 sometime next year. Maybe. Both games are great really, you might want to check out the reviews for both. Gamespot has a “guide to NWN 1” video feature as well.
Gamespot also has features on Fallout 3, including video and write ups on some of the begining quests. Should help your friend decide if it’s for her or now.
BG is all about the story and the sense of exploration (plus the D&D rules). But it’s an old game, I’m not surprised you gave up on the graphics.
I believe the system is identical. You can play first person or third person.
If you do play it, don’t just install it and play. Go to planet elderscrolls and download at the very least the Natural environments mod and beaming sunglare mod, the GUI mod, The lost spires adventure mod, and some of the weapon + bug fixes mods.
I’m playing the game now and I can’t believe I didn’t try some of this stuff before. The game looks 100% better and I’ve got a lot of neat new things to play through.
Any of the major gaming sites have had in-depth coverage. Here’s Gamespy’s most recent: http://pc.gamespy.com/xbox-360/fallout-3/915065p1.html
But I know I’ve seen coverage on IGN, Gamespot, and Games Radar, among others.
It’s sort of like Diablo II meets NWN. The camera is freely rotating and can be zoomed all the way out or zoomed in to just short of first person. There’s a set storyline but there are also plenty of side-quests or one can just wander around the deserts/forests/swamps if one so desires. The CD comes with an editor (I don’t know if the direct download has one or not; I do know the direct download has virtually no customer support) so it’s moddable but I don’t know anything about its mod community.
I described the basic game play in this old thread. One thing not mentioned there is that the PC can become romantically involved with their companion(s). This takes time and I haven’t played long enough to get very far.
That was state of the art at the time. You ought to have seen how people oooed and aaaahed at just the low-res demo clip back then. Even I find it less easy on the eyes by today’s standards, though running it using the BGTutu mod helps with this. But if you absolutely can’t stand to play an isometric game with graphics that were terrific ten years ago, then it’s not for you.
You asked, however, what’s so fantastic about it. It’s a consummate CRPG. The story is very good, with humor and dark twists, even though so much of actual gameplay mostly consists of exploring maps to build up XP. But that in itself is fun because the game engine makes the actual battles fascinating challenges in spell placement, resource management, equipment tweaking – and this is coming from a guy who is bored stiff by most strategy games. Leveling up is exciting because of the new possibilities it opens up. The battle engine makes even the Icewind Dale series interesting despite having so much less story and being so linear.
Of course, as much as the NPCs in Baldur’s Gate had previously unheard-of levels of personality, the NPCs in Baldur’s Gate II jump off the screen, and the story is even richer and more complex and at last even more epic. And the maps are much tighter, with far less map exploration that doesn’t end up tying into the main plot. But you haven’t been through the whole epic if you didn’t play Baldur’s Gate in the first place.
My friend weighs in:
“Got NWN- not happy at all. Can’t play the game for more than 5 minutes & I’m shutting it off. hate games that are scripted & you have to squint at the screen to see what is being said & the little dinky ridiculous characters are driving me insane. Oh, sure, you can scroll in but they just look stupid & I’m finding it hard to maneuver. So far it’s a thumbs-down for NWN. Why aren’t there more games like Thief? The more I play Thief the more I appreciate it. It almost feels like you’re in another world. That’s what I’m looking for in a game. You don’t get that impression from NWN. Are there any games that have graphics like Thief that you can recommend? I want to be in another world. Not just play a game.”