Choice-Based RPGs: Are They Overrated?

I’ve just been recently cycling back through some of the “classic” titles on the PS3 before the new console generation is upon us, and I’m about 44 hours into Dragon Age: Origins, rife with choices and consequences left and right. While this obviously adds an interactive element to both storytelling and player immersion, I must say that I felt slighted on several occasions once caught in crucial moments of the game. Least to say I raged pretty hard, so hard I thought my brain had exploded from the built-up pressure in my skull. Listen to this story, then you’ll see why DA:O and other similar choice-based RPGS really get on my nerves.

If I’m going to waste away two days of my life in front of my TV screen, mashing buttons and the like, there’s a good chance I probably will invest some personal attachment in most of the characters. Allistar—a mildly charming, yet buffoonish Templar who really is at the center of this controversy—wasn’t an exception as my female Warden swooned over him, coddling the man-child all whilst slaughtering the darkspawn. I expected the Landsmeet in Denerium to proceed without a hitch, though I had more than one surprise in store that made me want to slap a few, pixaled faces upside the head.

Well, well Dragon Age. What do you have to say for yourself?

Well, well Dragon Age. What do you have to say for yourself?

The generous and understanding members of the Landsmeet decided to screw me over, of course, and vote for the traitorous Loghain instead of your friendly, neighbor Warden. One skirmish later, I finally had the dialogue option to kill the stupid tin-can, a gory fantasy of mine conceived months back at Ostagar. I’m sure you can relate to this now: the game forced me into a duel with him. A duel…are you serious? That wasn’t what I choose. It might be hard to believe, but it gets even better than this. I refused to accept the terms of the duel with a smile of my face, thinking that I circumvented the whole situation and a horrible misunderstanding. Incorrect, so it seems.

Why Allistar felt a need to totally disregard my wishs and battle Loghain is beyond me! The royal bastard who I eventually put on the throne, in lieu of the wretched Anora, went to unbelievable lengths to scar me for life and to completely ruin this game file and possibly my future with the Dragon Age series. After a steaming relationship, through which he expressed his undying love for me, he suddenly realizes that he can’t marry a common Dalish elf like me and leaves me high and dry because of his “duty”. This blood-boiling decision was not well-received and, afterwards, he still whiningly upheld the fact that he would always have affection for me.

Well said.

Well said.

Oh, that was the final straw that broke the malificarum’s back! Had there been an option to totally disregard everyone, just outright slay Allistar, and either usurp the throne or leave the good Ferelden people to defend themselves from the Blight, you better believe I would’ve gone down that path.

The whole point of my anger-induced story is to highlight how RPGs constantly and consistently boast about having choices that actually affect various parts of the plot without delivering their promise. Don’t tell me I have hundreds of potentially game-altering decisions and dialogue options when I obviously do not. Only one stupid sentence separated me from the ending that I so sought after. This lingering issue has plagued more than one game, most notably the controversial ending of Mass Effect 3 and, in my opinion, the biased, stealth-favored gameplay of Dishonored. While I wholeheartedly realize a developer and his team can only do so much, I am spending sixty or more dollars and plenty of hours on their game. Let’s hope we see improvement with choice-based games in the future, although my hopes are not high.

Hell, I’d just be happy if Dragon Age 3 has more than four, unrepeated maps.

About The Author


Rebecca "jobe352" 
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Born in the flames of the darkest and deepest pit, Rebecca, otherwise known through the alias of Jobe352, writes for AlterGamer and is an avid gamer herself. She hopes that everyone enjoys whatever she may post there, but, just in case, she wanted to ask you a simple, little question: "Would you kindly?"

2 Responses to Choice-Based RPGs: Are They Overrated?

  1. Ryan Knapp says:

    Ok.. So why are you angry? So something happens out your control.. even if it in a video game.. and you dismiss it as a bad game? Of course Allistar wanted to kill Loghain.. Have you been listening to him at all? ok, dumb question, its hard to pay attention to Allistar.. but the man had a right to do what he did. Loghain had destroyed EVERYTHING Allistar had valued in life and then smeared shit on it remains. Besides.. Its a good life lesson regardless.. Even if its in a video game.. You can not have everything go your way.. Its boring otherwise. There was nothing you could have done to prevent Allistar seeking his revenge.. not matter how many times you banged him.. he hated loghain more then he could ever love you. :p Anywho.. DA1 was glicthy as hell wasn’t it?

  2. lovelia says:

    if your truly after a game affected by your choices, id tell you to instead o console gaming, look up “choice of games” with no graphics, the realm of the effect your choices have is large and truthfully vast.

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