Bethesda vs CDProjekts vs Bioware. What does each company do best and better than the others and which one ultimately wins out?
I put BioWare and CDPR on about the same footing. CDPR, in its present form, would not exist without Mass Effect to ape (they literally licensed its engine for The Witcher 1, which I still consider the apex of a fairly ‘meh’ series). BioWare was once great, but have appeared markedly disinterested in actual roleplaying for some time. Preferring, instead, to obsess to an inordinate degree on storytelling and narrative variegation. CDPR, at times, arguably accomplishes that to a greater degree… so if you happen to value that over actual game mechanics and roleplaying (I do not) you likely consider CDPR superior to BioWare, at a minimum. Dragon Age: Inquisition, while suffering from myriad faults in its own right (which I was not shy about discussing in my review and elsewhere) was, nevertheless, a clear improvement over its abhorrent predecessor.
I would have to begrudgingly give it to Bethesda. Though backsliding into mediocrity at an alarming clip, in terms of genuine, Dungeons & Dragons-derived tabletop roleplaying translated into a video game context… Elder Scrolls still outstrips the other two companies by a very convincing margin. While they seem to regard attributes, skills and character classes as trite anachronisms (so do the other companies - arguably to an even worse degree) their system still allows tabletop-level character customization, and the game engine still performs invisible dice rolls to determine the potency of your character’s attack and defense. The games are still primarily centered around dungeon-plundering excursions and mining for loot. It’s classic, tabletop roleplaying, however ‘streamlined’ it’s become (and doubtless will be in the future).
Bethesda may not be as adept at conferring genuine emotional context to their worlds, but… that isn’t honestly an obstacle that a genuine roleplaying experience is required to hurtle. The goal of a roleplaying game, as the name suggests… is to allow the player to create, and play… a role. This is why I’ve long argued that JRPGs have more in common with visual novels and turn-based strategy games than genuine RPGs… and it’s why I argue that CD Projekt’s reputation as ‘the last real RPG developer’ is wholly undeserved. You don’t play, let alone create, any role in The Witcher series. No matter which morally trinary choice you select, Geralt still boils down to 31 flavors of medieval Dirty Harry. You just get to decide whether he sneers, chuckles, or has a five o’clock shadow while he does so. That isn’t roleplaying.
Vox Eagle, a new self proclaimed LA/NYC “coast pop” duo, swoops out of the sky to lift us to summery pop apexes of euphoria with their debut single, No Sleep. Who needs sleep when you can loop this warm, luscious slice of plucky synthpop over and over again till the end of time? No Sleep is meant to “encapsulate the free spirit of American highways and the sense of endless adventure on the open roads”. This band formed in 2015 and have plans to release a plethora of tunes over the course of the next year. In the meantime, I just want to cruise the PCH with No Sleep blasting at full volume. An ocean breeze caresses my hair and dazzling rays of sunshine kiss my skin.
“I’ll be your shield. Protect you from harm. So watch my back.” “We’re a team now.”
Streamed for a bit tonight and did up this lil piece. Super happy with the end result!!! Ya’ll thought i was done with these two? NOPE.
So, Jewel and Cross are a perfect team. Jewel’s fighting style is definitely the sort to face enemies head on and take them down and keep them there. Cross is sniper, support, and is far off enough that he sees the bigger picture that Jewel can’t.