Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn is my favourite game of all time. The sheer size of the game world, the immersion, the characters, the sprawling plot and interconnectedness of the side-quests, they all add up to make a game you can truly lose yourself in. And there's so many ways of playing it through; with a differnt PC, with different NPCs, taking different quests and different alignment choices. I must have played it from start to finish about ten times at least. And the villain! I'll just say that Jon Irenicus ties with the Operative and Ozymandias for my favourite villain in all media.
Dude, you took the words straight out of my mouth. The fact that the series is 10 years old and still has an active modding and playing community should say something about its quality.
This fangirl needs to squee about Dragon Age: Origins. Here's a game that took everything cool about Baldur's Gate and cranked it to eleven. And it took the few dumb things about it and fixed them (I maintain Alistair is a massive, much-appreciated and long overdue apology to dude-fancying fans everywhere for Anomen). I can't remember the last time I played an RPG where every single party member was someone I loved to pieces. The combat was fast-paced, tactical and fun, and the character development system deep and engaging, despite some of the bugs. And the writing—dear god, the writing. Always the shining point of a Bioware game, but this just might be one of their best. Tropes lampshaded, deconstructed and played straight for much win and awesome, some of the funniest goddamn dialogue ever in video games (anything involving Zev, Oghren, or both), plenty of heartwretching moments, pants-crapping horror, probably the most realistic portrayal of religion in a video game, passing Bechdel's test six ways from Sunday and arguably having the most gripping RP experience come with playing a female PC...Andraste's knickers, I could go on for days. Most of all, it is truly an RPG for grown-ups, and say what you will about the now-classic Bioware formula, it just works. This game is the best damn fantasy Western-style RPG of its generation, and arguably one of the best RPGs ever made. Seriously folks, if you call yourself an RPG fan and haven't played this game by now, your life is much poorer for it.
Oh, my god, so much yes! I'm new to video games and Dragon Age has single-handedly turned me into a fanatic. I'm generally not even the type to read a book or watch a movie a second time, but I've almost finished playing the game through once and I'm already excited to start it again—let alone how excited I am for the sequel. The one downside? Dragon Age is one of the first video games I've ever played—and it seems as if I will be disappointed with most games I discover after this because of their failure to measure up!
I agree as well, regarding everything about the writing and the combat tactics and the amazing detailed world (and Alistair, possibly the most lovable video game character ever), and I would like to gush about Dragon Age II, the sequel. It will break your heart and punch you in the gut over and over, but it's awesome. It's a brave game, not afraid to delve deep into darkness and moral ambiguity and full of situations where there's no right choice, but full of wit and humor. The three-act structure with an unreliable narrator lets you see the consequences of your earlier decisions as the game develops, and strings together sidequests into coherent storylines that also intersect with the main plot (often as Chekhov's Guns). The visuals are atmospheric and often gorgeous (how I wish my computer's graphics could measure up). The combat is nicely balanced. The main cast voice acting is superb, just as in Origins, and the music is lovely. And the characters are flawed and fascinating people; often I want to punch them one moment and hug them the next. (I'd also like to express appreciation for giving us fangirls the amazingly sexy voice of Anders. Ahem. And for Merrill...imagine Willow as an elf with enormous green puppy-dog eyes and you'll have some idea of what a Badass Adorable woobie she is.)
I might not be much of a Star Wars fan, but Knights of the Old Republic is simply awesome. Strolling through the plains of Dantooine is one of the more relaxing and generally pleasurable experiences in the video game world.
Definitely. The characters are stunning, the voice acting was some of the best I've ever run across. Even the minor NPCs are written and voiced with care. BioWare games are also great for female gamers. I never feel like a second-class citizen or an afterthought when I'm playing one of theirs.
Jade Empire needs more love. Sure, the combat system's really easy and the game's pretty short, but the sheer level of world background, not to mention the incredibly impressive effort the designers went to to get their Chinese legends right, is worth the price alone. The characters are also really interesting and in the case of the Black Whirlwind or Henpecked Hu, really funny. And Minister Sheng...
Mass Effect. There has never been another game that I've devoted so much time to, and me liking a shooter is very rare. Nonetheless, Mass Effect delivers everything in spades.
And the sequel manages to be even better, in a lot of ways. When Mass Effect 3 comes out, that's going to be awesome, playing them all through one after the other. Repeatedly.
Definitely. Mass Effect 2 is awesome. You have to play as FemShep: Jennifer Hale's voice acting is simply to die for. And both Renegade Shep and Paragon Shep are terrific. Play it both ways and see.
I concur, but seriously, don't let people tell you FemShep is automatically better. Mark Meer is just as good a voice actor as Jennifer Hale, so pick whichever!
Why is it such a great series, one may ask? The dialogue system is a cinematic work of art, even for an RPG. Combine that with the Third Person Shooter to make an Action RPG, the multitude of series-changing decisions you make, and there's something for pretty much everyone!
Not to mention the subtle innovations the sequel brought. Bioware says, "Let's innovate dialogue!" Everyone else says, "Talking is talking, it can't be improved." Bioware says "O rly?" and brings in interrupts. Much awesome, hilarity, and occasionally heartwarming ensues.
And they have the guts to allow the death of the Player Character - in the second part of a trilogy.
And the story and characters in both games are so remarkable. I dare say, they're about as good as the story and characters in some of the best films out there now. I've created such an attachment with the universe, characters and my MANY Shepards (primarily female Paragon Shepards).
Mass Effect is amazing. It's awesome for female videogamers like myself... not the least because FemShep has some of the funniest lines in the entire game. (seriously, is there any female gamer who can resist the renegade interrupt on that idiot merc on Omega?) But aside from that, it's just a brilliant game in all respects. Sure, it's imperfect (playing inventory shuffle gets old fast in the first game, as does planet scanning in the second, and the open world aspect means it has a very jerky pace, going from exciting and fast-paced to "eh, let's go survey some planets for a while"), but who cares when you can blow the head off a merc from a hundred meters away with a well-placed Widow shot?! I adore the world of the game (and sincerely hope ME3 isn't the last game in that world), I like most characters' characterization (consider Miranda—I loathed her at first, but slowly I grew to like her over the course of the game... exactly as they'd planned), and the games are just plain fun.
On the topic of Mass Effect: "Lair of the Shadow Broker". Flying car chase scene.
With the unfortunate exception of the last ten minutes of a 40+ hour game, Mass Effect 3 is pure brilliance. Until that ending, the entire game nailed every point: an excellent storyline, great and memorable characters (new and returning), giving Commander Shepard a great deal of emotional depth and through that taking a heartbreaking look at how war takes its toll on people, the gameplay was excellent, the voice acting, particularly from Jennifer Hale and Martin Sheen (even Mark Meer greatly improved and sounded great), was superb and I don't think I've ever played a game that emotionally moved me as much as this one. With the exception of those last 10 minutes, it lacked any major flaws.
Speaking of the endings, the release of the Extended Cut DLC has greatly improved the endings. Not only did it brought in closure and clarity, it also changes a few things: it shows that the mass relays are damaged instead of being destroyed, the requirement for the EMS to get the best possible endings, and it shows plenty of variety in the endings. Not only that but you can have the chance to refuse the choices given to you—only for the Reapers to win, but it makes things easier for the next cycle to defeat them. Well, you can't have your cake and eat it too. But this DLC proves that BioWare cares about their fans.
And in fact, aside from the controversial ending, Mass Effect 3 delivered on every promise the prequels had made. We get conclusions for the genophage, the quarian-geth conflict, Cerberus, the rachni, and each individual character we've come to know and love, from omnipresent squadmates Tali and Garrus, to one-game hits like Mordin and Thane, to supporting yet well-loved characters like Major Kirrahe or Matriarch Aethyta or Ken and Gabby or Kal'Reegar, to Refund Guy. EVEN REFUND GUY GETS PLOT CLOSURE. This game tied up every loose end, and in most cases, it's an ending of the player's choice.
Neverwinter Nights - I've been playing this game for five years and I'm still not tired of it. Just when I think I'm over it I find a new module set to enjoy. The community around the game is greater than any other game community I've ever seen. The official campaign and expansions are good, but it really gave builders a chance to shine, and they have, from the Dreamlands to A Harpers Tale, to Penultima City, and many others I'm forgetting. Thank you Bioware, and thank you to everyone who made an adventure I could enjoy.
Second that! But i must say that i played it without modules simply because i wanted to experienced its Love Story once again.