Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

A Retrospective on Planescape Torment

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the man-that's-a-good-game dept.

Role Playing (Games) 99

Despite the cult status of Planescape: Torment, it was one of the least successful entries in the Baldur's Gate family of games. At the Rock, Paper, Shotgun blog Keiron Gillen has a great look back at the game, with a specific emphasis on the connection between the game mechanics and the story, and the importance of Torment to games as a medium. "While we're a long way from the videogame equivalent of a Tolstoy or a Dostoevsky, for what it's worth, Planescape is as close as we've come, and worthy of real literary consideration. Of course, such dry analysis always turns people away from the Great dead Russians - when it should be remembered these are works full of life and joys and - yes - deep sadness. The same is true here. It's a philosophical buddy-hatey road movie based around the search for the self and the endlessly reiterated question "What can change the nature of a man?". And you find yourself lingering on that. Not just what can change the nature of your character - but what made you and what manner of man are you anyway."

cancel ×

99 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

I Would Love to Play It (0, Offtopic)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 6 years ago | (#20764857)

I would love to play Planescape Torment if I could get my hands on a copy. I really liked the Baldur's Gate series (Baldur's Gate II is, I think, my favorite game in the genre, followed closely by Planeshift [planeshift.it] and Baldur's Gate I). I didn't really like Neverwinter Nights (the original; Hordes of the Underdark was great), because it seemed too limited in the choices it offers (i.e. the story is too linear). My understanding is that Planescape Torment is much better in this regard. Alas, the game seems to have failed so completely it's hard to get my hands on a copy. Ok, it's probably obtainable through file sharing, but that's not an option I'm willing to consider.

Re:I Would Love to Play It (3, Informative)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 6 years ago | (#20764901)

Gametap has it, and you can get a 15 day trial subscription. Gametap is my current favorite game. I get to play something different every month for only $15. I'm a fan.

Re:I Would Love to Play It (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20766061)

Gametap is my current favorite game.

Yeah, television is my favorite show, too.

If I cancel my gametap subscription... (1)

rsilvergun (571051) | more than 6 years ago | (#20777919)

do I keep the games I've downloaded? Or do they lock me out?

Re:If I cancel my gametap subscription... (1)

Chris Mattern (191822) | more than 6 years ago | (#20788267)

do I keep the games I've downloaded? Or do they lock me out?


You're locked out; everything is run through the GameTap client and you can't run the GameTap client if you can't log on to GameTap. But the game selection is amazing--if it's more than ten years old and it's not Nintendo ('cause Nintendo is keeping all their oldies to themselves to sell via the Wii), there's a decent chance they'll have it. The Sega collection is particularly impressive, and they've got an amazing collection of 2D fighters. PC games, console games, arcade games. 940 games at last count, and they're games you've heard of. I'm a fan myself.

Chris Mattern

Re:I Would Love to Play It (1)

Gideon Fubar (833343) | more than 6 years ago | (#20764949)

It was a hard one to find [yahoo.net] .

Seems a bit steep for such an old game, but it is quite difficult to come by. more info can be found here [the-underdogs.info] of course.

Re:I Would Love to Play It (1)

aichpvee (631243) | more than 6 years ago | (#20776725)

Oh snap! I should sell my copy.

Re:I Would Love to Play It (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20765825)

PS:T is pretty linear. But then so is HOTU and you liked that well enough apparently.

Re:I Would Love to Play It (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 6 years ago | (#20767039)

I have an old copy that I borrowed from a friend and never returned. I never got around to installing it until a few months ago. I didn't really find it that good. I guess that I just don't like that kind of game. Although I like other somewhat similar games like Zelda, Diablo, and such. Maybe I just don't have enough time to pour into these long drawn out games anymore. You could probably buy an old copy off someone, I don't really want to see my copy, because well, it's not mine.

Re:I Would Love to Play It (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20785573)

Or maybe you just don't like D&D-styled RPGs since you cited two action-oriented adventure games that are not even superficially similar to PS:T (or any other Infinity engine game)...

Seriously... I could see at least SOME tiny similarity to Zelda, but Diablo? Come on, man, Diablo and PS:T are about as similar as Megadeth and Bach. They may be both the same type of art, but they're certainly not going to appeal to anything remotely close to the same tastes.

Re:I Would Love to Play It (1)

Kelson (129150) | more than 6 years ago | (#20770053)

I picked it up a few years back as a dual package with Soulbringer on one of those 2-for-$20 re-releases. I started with Soulbringer, got stuck after a while, and never got around to installing Planescape.

It sounds like I should dig out those CDs and give it a try.

This Game Really Was Great (1)

Petersko (564140) | more than 6 years ago | (#20764891)

I played all of the Baldur's Gate games, and their expansion packs, but none of them held my attention as firmly as Planescape: Torment. That was the first time I played a game where the story was truly the point.

The first time the insane Ignus started muttering about killing the rest of the party I knew this game was different. The floating skull, Morte, was funny. The entire cast was well-acted, and believable to an extent I hadn't seen before.

It remains a high point in my gaming past. It's also the one and only such game that I ever played completely through more than once.

In fact, I think I'll try to find another copy of it. I gave mine to my cousin five years ago and his 3 year old daughter made swift work of the media.

Re:This Game Really Was Great (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20765193)

It's one of the few games where I gave a damn about the plight of the protagonist.

Agree! Planescape Torment - best game ever? (1)

JonTurner (178845) | more than 6 years ago | (#20765291)

I hate to write a "yeah, what he said!" post but I do agree entirely with everything you've said! This game, for me, is THE high-water mark. It was a "novel set in motion" with a fantastic story of human redemption. It presented a believable world populated with remarkable characters I still think about from time to time.

IMO, PS:T is the hands-down best game I've ever played.

Re:This Game Really Was Great (1)

TheRealMindChild (743925) | more than 6 years ago | (#20765493)

The floating skull, Morte, was funny.

Anything like Murry the Demonic Skull [wikipedia.org] ?

Re:This Game Really Was Great (1)

meringuoid (568297) | more than 6 years ago | (#20765653)

Anything like Murry the Demonic Skull?

They're both talking skulls who accompany the protagonist. There the similarity ends. Murray is a wannabe demon monstrosity. Morte has been to hell and knows what demon monstrosities are actually like, and is absolutely terrified that some incarnation or other of the Nameless One will eventually send him back where he belongs...

What can change the nature of a server? (3, Informative)

LarsWestergren (9033) | more than 6 years ago | (#20765027)

Slashdotting....

Always great that PS: T is acknowledged.

If you liked it, or get curious about it, you may want to look at the Neverwinter Nights 2 expansion Mask of the Betrayer which is released tomorrow in Europe and in a couple of weeks in the US. Many of the same people who worked on PS:T have worked on this. Also if you just loved the Planescape setting, there is Rogue Dao's Planescape Trilogy [planescapetrilogy.com] for NWN2, first episode will be out in a month or so.

I thought NWN2 was a good game, but it was a resource hog and did contain bugs that turned some people off it. Now that it has been out a year and 8 or so major patches have been out, it is polished enough that you should definitely consider picking it up. They have promised that Mask of the Betrayer will have a much more dark and personal storyline and much more polish too.

Re:What can change the nature of a server? (1)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 6 years ago | (#20765241)

Chris Avellone who was the lead designer/developer on Planescape: Torment was a member of the NWN:2 team, as well as the upcomming expansion. He wasn't the lead developer, though he was the lead developer on KOTOR:2. It is a shame that KOTOR:2 was rushed, and treated so poorly by LucasArts. That was ALMOST a truly great game.

Re:What can change the nature of a server? (1)

Brataccas (213587) | more than 6 years ago | (#20765293)

Well, if we are lucky, the Sith Restoration Project [team-gizka.org] may yet save KOTOR:2.

Unreliable narrators (3, Interesting)

LarsWestergren (9033) | more than 6 years ago | (#20765329)

It is a shame that KOTOR:2 was rushed, and treated so poorly by LucasArts. That was ALMOST a truly great game.

Yes, I have great hopes for Team Gizka's [team-gizka.org] restoration project.

Rest of the post contains plenty of **SPOILERS**.

Like the fact that Chris likes to take the RPG/CRPG conventions and turn them into plot elements - for instance in PS:T, the fact that your character in computer games always is immortal (since you can just reload) - there you play the Immortal One.

Same with KOTOR 2. We choose to ignore the fact that our characters in RPGs gain godlike powers in very short time. If this was normal, wouldn't everyone be doing it - be out whacking rats and progressively more difficult wildlife to gain robust health, superstrength and intelligence? Here it is suddenly part of the plot - no, not everyone can do it. It seems that you, and you only, have a rather sinister power to gain supernatural strength by absorbing the life force (XP) of those you kill. The character might have thought a lot about this, but since there is no voice over a la Blade Runner, the player doesn't know it.

Sounds like he MAY be going down a similar path with the soul eating in Mask of the Betrayer. But we will see.

Bioshock might have been taken a leaf out of the same book. Some people have complained that "it is so unrealistic that the player injects himself with a syringe that is just laying there in the beginning of the game, ruined the immersion for me". Well, it turns out later that he was compelled to do it. The character might have fought against it, filled with horror, but again, this the player does not know until later in the game. So they use the literary device known as "the unreliable narrator". The reader/player identifies with the character (even more so in games of course), but it later turns out he/she did not tell everything.

Re:Unreliable narrators (1)

Sobrique (543255) | more than 6 years ago | (#20767685)

I really loved the 'metagame integration' that they pulled in bioshock. It was just such an elegant reason for _why_ you were doing all these quests, that I still smirk when I think about it today. And use the 'key' phrase when talking to workmates around the office. One or two notice :)

Re:Unreliable narrators (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20773585)

Speaking of unreliable narrators, did anyone else feel PS:T had a bunch of similarities to Memento? Not in a rip off kind of a way, but maybe more in a scary synchronicty kind of way.

I had seen it in the theatres a bit before playing PS:T and didn't notice them myself until I bought the DVD a few years ago.

Re:Unreliable narrators (1)

LarsWestergren (9033) | more than 6 years ago | (#20774187)

did anyone else feel PS:T had a bunch of similarities to Memento?

Oh good, I'm not the only one! I've read the film was based on a short story written by the director's brother. It would be interesting to hear if he had played the game. I guess it is not impossible to come up with the same concepts independently, but still, there is an AWFUL lot of similarities.

Amnesia -> writing down everything -> safest place to write something permanently: tattoo your own body -> if you don't remember how you got the tattoo, can the written record be trusted even then?

Re:What can change the nature of a server? (1)

Midnight Voyager (803970) | more than 6 years ago | (#20770135)

Sadly, they're fscking trashing all the old characters, from what I've read. TELL me they're changing their minds on that? Seriously, going "O hai, romantic interest- eh, he's gone now. Hey, look, someone new! How YOU doin?" just... doesn't... sigh. Hated NWN2's ending. But... same people who worked on PS:T... I may be convinced to get it. The trilogy looks cool, though I always headdesk when trilogies never seem to be finished. Few people managed it. As far as PST goes... I'm glad they referred to it like they did in this article. PS:T was one of the best, if not the best, story I've ever seen a game. The characterization was incredible as well. I don't like playing preset characters, but TNO wasn't JUST some mold you had to try to step into. You could make him your own and experience the story on a deeply personal level.

Re:What can change the nature of a server? (1)

LarsWestergren (9033) | more than 6 years ago | (#20772723)

Sadly, they're fscking trashing all the old characters, from what I've read. TELL me they're changing their minds on that?

I too liked the old characters and would have liked to have more adventures with them, but unfortunately, no. The same old reason - there were maybe a hundred slightly different outcomes depending on who you spent time adventuring with and who you chose to gain influence with, and if you played [good|neutral|evil][lawful|neutral|chaotic][smart|stupid][wise|unwise][charismatic|unpleasant] etc etc. Either start anew, make player choices meaningless, or spend hundreds of hours of creating content for the plot branches created by the first game. They chose the first option. Thought you will get references to the characters of the first game in the expansion, if you keep your eye open, so you will get to know what happened to them "canonically".

I must say though that the teasers they have revealed for the new companions though are very nice... A red wizard of Thay who has who knows how many hidden agendas, a hagspawn Spirit Shaman, the enigmatic One of Many... Sounds a lot like we might be back in Sigil territory, eh berk?

Hated NWN2's ending. But... same people who worked on PS:T... I may be convinced to get it.

It is the same team that worked on the original campaign, so if you didn't like that, that may be a vote against it. But I think that now they have a LOT more experience with the authoring tools and could spend more time creating awesome contents and less fixing engine bugs, so I have preordered it, picking it up tomorrow. :)

The characterization was incredible as well. I don't like playing preset characters, but TNO wasn't JUST some mold you had to try to step into. You could make him your own and experience the story on a deeply personal level.

Yep. I loved that also. :)

Re:What can change the nature of a server? (1)

Midnight Voyager (803970) | more than 6 years ago | (#20773141)

Guh. I know it's a perfectly good reason, but it's really crappy work story-wise. I mean, I didn't even care at all about the bugs. I beta test stuff. I'm used to bugs. Bugs, I can handle. Them getting better with the tools will -not- help the story, though. I DID like the campaign of NWN2. I really did. It was going well. Heck, they even had a likable paladin. I'm always astonished when those pop up. Then the ending... People laugh when I say that I can tell them the ending and not spoil any of the plot. Then I tell them. Then they headdesk. Here, I'll do it now. If you think it'll spoil anyway, look away. ROCKS FALL, EVERYBODY DIES! Oh, I'm sorry, they're -assumed- dead. That makes it better, you see. Now here's what happened to a bunch of side characters that are mostly just quest-givers, only a few really mattering that much to you. That's as bad as the old Greek Deus Ex Machina. "And then the gods fixed everything." It's just shoddy writing. Anyway, I was only watching NWN2, because I figured that maybe they could fix that brain-stoppingly horrid ending. Apparently not. If they're just trashing everything and moving on, all I can say is that those characters better have died in that collapse. Especially the two possible romantic interests. All I can do is hope that they died. That would make sense, at least. They're dead, no way to use them in the campaign. I'm rather shocked that the people who worked on Planescape: Torment did something that bad. I suppose it WAS a one-shot... maybe they aren't experienced with endings that leave openings for sequels or something. Although there was an opening for a sequel to PS:T...

Re:What can change the nature of a server? (1)

ravenshrike (808508) | more than 6 years ago | (#20776837)

If I was watching the ending pictures closely enough, I didn't see the friendly neighborhood tiefling with the rest of the escapees, although I might have just overlooked her. Which means she may or may not be with you in the expansion.

Best CRPG ever (1)

mcvos (645701) | more than 6 years ago | (#20765257)

Like the article says:

the greatest of the PC RPGs. [...] its name being a simple byword for narrative excellence without anyone really feeling the need to say why.

(What do you mean, quoting out of context?)

For those looking to play the game (4, Informative)

Brataccas (213587) | more than 6 years ago | (#20765271)

If you are planning to (re)play PS:T, make sure you patch the game with the official and unofficial patches from Planescape-Torment.Org [planescape-torment.org] . (WARNING: the bug fix descriptions contain spoilers, read at your own risk!)

PS:T was the single greatest gaming experience I have ever been a part of. When people complain that games aren't art, it is obvious they have never played this.

Re:For those looking to play the game (1)

Brataccas (213587) | more than 6 years ago | (#20765309)

*sigh* That should be Planescape-Torment.Org [planescape-torment.org] . A bad link can certainly change the nature of a post...

It was not part of the "Baldur's Gate family". (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20765407)

The setting wasn't the same D&D universe as Baldur's Gate. The developer was Black Isle and not Bioware. PST used a modified version of the Infinity Engine, and that's the only thing they had in common.

Arcanum and The Temple of Elemental Evil have more in common than the Baldur's Gate games and PST, and nobody would say they're in the same game family.

PST is barely even a CRPG. It's more like a throwback to interactive fiction. It's mostly an adventure game.

Re:It was not part of the "Baldur's Gate family". (1)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 6 years ago | (#20765777)

I assumed the engine was what they meant by 'family'. Anyone that takes even half a look at it would see how little it resembles Baldur's Gate.

I'll admit I didn't play all the way through PST (my attention wandered after being in that big city for so bloody long) but it's as much as CRPG as the Baldur's Gate games. Thinking maybe I didn't really know what CRPG meant, I looked it up. http://www.angelfire.com/hero/tjekanefir/crpg.htm [angelfire.com]

Yup, that's what I thought. BG and PST are both on that list, as well.

Re:It was not part of the "Baldur's Gate family". (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20769095)

right, if it's on an angelfire page it must be true.

next time someone is making a reasonably subtle point about something you admittedly don't know the definition of, try to at least put some sort of governor on your willingness to accept random search results.

try searching for gary gygax's definition of an rpg and the theoretical distinction between rpgs and crpgs. then maybe comment. hth

same engine, same family (1)

someone1234 (830754) | more than 6 years ago | (#20766095)

3 out of the 5 games were developed by Black Isle. But this doesn't mean their engine had nothing in common.
Their father (Bioware) is the same :)
Btw, they has more than the engine (.exe) in common, lots of data files were inherited by PS:T.

PST IS a Computer Role Playing Game, more so than BlackIsle's next creations (Icewind Dale series).

Arcanum used tile based graphics, TOEE used pre-rendered graphics, maybe they had more in common elsewhere, but the graphic engine is different.

PST and BG2 uses exactly the same area formats and only very small differences in item and creature formats. By all rights, they are of the same family.

Re:same engine, same family (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20769009)

TOEE used the Arcanum engine.

Using a game engine as the criterion for family-status is insane. Look at all the games made with Quake or UT engines, or Torque. Saying they're all in the same family is ridiculous.

Since the engine metaphor is being used, think about cars. An SUV and a sportscar made by different manufacturers but with the same engine are not the same type of car and are not related.

Planescape: Torment's gameplay wasn't even very similar to any other Infinity engine game, because unlike every other IE game combat wasn't a focus at all.

Sorry, but they're not the same family.

Re:It was not part of the "Baldur's Gate family". (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 6 years ago | (#20769927)

That's good. Of the Baldur's Gate games all I've played is Dark Alliance II. Which is to say I played it for 2 days, was bored to death and haven't touched it since. I've heard a lot of good things about Planescape, and the less like BGDAII it is the better.

Too bad there's no xbox version. I usually like to play these things on the couch with the GF watching.

Re:It was not part of the "Baldur's Gate family". (1)

zhrike (448699) | more than 6 years ago | (#20774013)

PST is barely even a CRPG. It's more like a throwback to interactive fiction. It's mostly an adventure game.

I disagree, strongly. In BG and its subsequent clones/sequels, you could choose a role and it would direct your potential
actions, and usually there was a choice of acting within your role, or acting without and (punitively) becoming a fighter.
There were a narrow set of objectives with side quests, but most of the main lines were the same. in the original BG, I felt that
the sense of freedom afforded by wide-open frames (the characters not being funneled to only those parts of the map that were
"active") as well as refreshing random monsters gave the game a sense of freedom. But in P:T there was a true sense of freedom, you
could shape the way the game was going to go dependent on your choices more than any other game of that time or for a while thereafter.
I that all of this depends on your definition of "role-playing." The dynamic shift of alignment was a new thing, then. NWN and NWN2 have
since added that feature, which is great, but I think that P:T was as close to a true role-playing game as you could get.
You actions dictated your alignment, your skills could shift and morph, objectives were altered, etc.

I definitely look at this as an RPG, And one of the best ever, to add my $.02 to that score.

Re:It was not part of the "Baldur's Gate family". (1)

cjp (624694) | more than 6 years ago | (#20776993)

It's a roleplaying game in the true sense of the word. It's barely a CRPG in that it's not all about the crunchy, crunchy numbers (like most other CRPGs are). It seems wrong that Diablo and PS:T both get the same label in the media.

Re:It was not part of the "Baldur's Gate family". (1)

Adam Heine (830376) | more than 6 years ago | (#20776647)

The "Baldur's Gate family" of games is a term meant to encompass all games that used the Infinity Engine, specifically: Baldur's Gate 1, 2, and expansions; Planescape: Torment; and Icewind Dale 1, 2, and expansions.

What all of these games have in common is the Infinity Engine and the D&D universe created by TSR. Baldur's Gate was created by Bioware, as you said, and was meant to more or less "bring back" CRPG's to the classic D&D adventures of old. Torment was created by Black Isle and was meant to be as far from traditional high fantasy as possible. To that end, it took place in the Planescape setting, a little known aspect of the D&D universe but very much a part of it. Icewind Dale was also created by Black Isle and was intended to be (no joke) "Diablo with a story". The developers of Icewind Dale wanted to use the tactical aspects of the Infinity Engine to create a hack-and-slash game with some brains.

The folks at Black Isle did modify the Infinity Engine to create Torment, but then the engine was also modified for each new game and expansion. Bioware modified it for Tales of the Sword Coast and (obviously) BG 2, and Black Isle modified it again for Icewind Dale. Modifying the engine does not make the games any less family. It just means there were programmers who wanted to do more with the engine than was originally done (which any good programmer would do).

Finally, I think it's really sad that because Torment relied more on dialogue than combat, you could say it's "barely even a CRPG". I can't think of a single definition of CRPG that Torment doesn't fit well. It has tactical combat, it has a character to role-play in any way you want, it has a story that's more open-ended than most, it even has dice... in what way is it *not* a CRPG, exactly?

Yes people,Torment is BARELY a CRPG. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20777517)

"The so-called CRPG isn't role-playing. To whom does one role-play in such an exercise?" - Gary Gygax

The incredibly huge mistake gamers seem to enjoy making is equating "roleplaying" with some undefinable quality of immersion, as if it meant to control a character in the context of its world, ignoring the fact that this myopic and completely wrong definition would then classify every game in existence as a roleplaying game.

"Roleplaying" [answers.com] actually refers to acting to an audience and is impossible in most video games (there are exceptions -- MMORPGs, Neverwinter Nights, MU* games and similar).

C RPGs are a specific genre defined by -- and I'm sorry if this rubs you the wrong way because of biases carried over from pen & paper anti-"rollplaying" sentiment -- the mechanics of P&P RPGs. P&P RPGs descended from wargaming; CRPGs hearken back to that, because they usually can't (and never can, in the case of single-player games) accommodate the roleplaying component. CRPGs are primarily complex board games; wargames backcrossed with P&P flavor.

Planescape: Torment is barely a CRPG. It certainly isn't an RPG in the P&P sense. It's exclusively single-player.

PS:T shares far more in common with the genres of interactive fiction and adventure games than it does with CRPGs. To claim otherwise is to ignore the history of the CRPG genre, which has only ever recently begun to focus on story, characterization, and other elements previously associated with IF. That's just a result of technological advances, though - every game genre has become richer.

The very best (4, Insightful)

soccerisgod (585710) | more than 6 years ago | (#20765409)

I have to admit that I only played Planescape for the first time as recently as last year, but I was adicted instantly. I've never ever seen a game with such an incredible amount of dialog, nor have I ever seen this kind of quality dialog in any other game. It is deep, philosophical and you actually have meaningful choices that often have subtle nuances to them - for instance you may have the same sentence as a choice twice, but with one option lie and with the other actually mean what you say. There are not many stats, but what stats are there play a big role in dialog, and I can only think of a very few games that come even close in this regard. (mostly the Fallouts)

But the artistic achievement of this game is not limited to dialog. The art in this game is superb. AFAIK no other (significant) game has tried to recreate the world of the Planescape universe, but if they had, I'm sure they would never come as close as PS:T. It's so beautiful it makes you wheep. And the score by Mark Morgan is just perfect and one of the best games scores in general that I know.

If you haven't played this game yet, get it right now.

PS: Since when is PS:T a game of the Baldurs Gate series? It may use the same engine, but that's where the similarities end...

series != family (1)

someone1234 (830754) | more than 6 years ago | (#20766133)

Same engine means a lot :)
80% of the PST game could be moved under the BG2 engine without change, this entitles us to say they are of the same family.

Re:series != family (1)

soccerisgod (585710) | more than 6 years ago | (#20769571)

Where you go by engine, I go by content. And that is worlds apart! :)

Re:The very best (1)

Das Modell (969371) | more than 6 years ago | (#20771243)

PST and BG do have a connection though, since Sigil is connected to all planes. You can even purchase items in BG2 that were carried by PST characters, and the Nameless One is mentioned in the item descriptions. You also meet some planar travelers who, if I'm not mistaken, mention Sigil.

A great story (1)

ShakaUVM (157947) | more than 6 years ago | (#20765445)

My girlfriend asked me, when I was playing Bioshock last month, which video games had a truly great story. Not a backstory, but the game itself tells a great story. Bioshock doesn't count, since while it has an awesome backstory (which is revealed in a nonlinear fashion) the story of the main character himself in the game could be expressed in about two sentences (which I won't do, for spoiler reasons).

While the Final Fantasy series are often lauded as having great stories, I consider them pretty trite.

I kind of liked the stories in Marathon, System Shock, and Halo, but again, most of the richness was in the backstory. The actual story of the character revolved around running around and shooting things.

After about 15 minutes, I decided that Planescape Torment was the only game I could really think of that had a great story. And I still haven't thought of another game, now almost a month later.

Re:A great story (1)

moranar (632206) | more than 6 years ago | (#20765767)

I find your separation of "story" and "back-story" a bit artificial. The "back-stories" you speak of are the stories those games tell, be it by shooting guys, hacking through them, or persuading them.

Games that tell a good story, like you intend, are the Monkey Island series, Grim Fandango, Day of the tentacle, and the rest of the lucasarts adventure games. KotOR does, too. You decide if they're great or not. But again, I enjoy a good game story, even if the main character has to slug its way through it. It has to be fun slugging, though.

On the other hand, I agree with you in regard to Final Fantasy: the stories are usually cast from the same mold.

Re:A great story (3, Insightful)

ShakaUVM (157947) | more than 6 years ago | (#20766997)

It's not an artificial distinction. It's actually very important. What differentiates a game from a novel? The fact that you (the living human behind a computer) gets to do stuff. It's that stuff that you do that needs to have a compelling story and development. There's a difference between doing cool stuff (like in PST), and reading a novel of a backstory and then shooting aliens (like in Halo).

Or in other words, suppose you copied the backstory to Halo to Space Invaders. Evil covenant thingamabobs are invading Earth, and you have to kill them. You still couldn't say that Space Invaders had a great story.

Re:A great story (1)

moranar (632206) | more than 6 years ago | (#20767257)

If you reduce it to that, it's not a great story, evidently. If you managed to tell a great story with Space Invaders, it wouldn't still be Space Invaders, it'd be something else.

Many games tell a story not exactly through what the main character does (which, in every case, could be reduced to what the interface allows us to do), but through what you call "back-story". Most role-playing games try to make you believe that you're really unfurling the story, while what you really are doing, if we get to it, is battling, grinding, running, piloting airships, etc. On other games, you go through the story battling Klompa (Prince of Persia), Boo, Lakitu (Mario) or Nihilanth (Half-Life), breeding Chocobos (FF VII), and racing against cheetah (Soleil). The story is told, nevertheless. Would you ask that a novel told exclusively the story of the main character to be great? Lord of the Rings doesn't, for one. Neither do Solaris, I, Robot, the Neverending Story, and many other great novels.

Some games are centred on what the main character does, amongst them, I agree the best example that comes to mind is Planescape:Torment. But it tells a story, just like the other ones do. I don't believe that the method of telling the story is so significant. You do.

Re:A great story (1)

ShakaUVM (157947) | more than 6 years ago | (#20768471)

I don't believe that the method of telling the story is so significant. You do.

Only insofar as I don't count backstory. What the player/character *does* in the game, what story it tells, is the important thing. That's why space invaders could never have a great story, even though a person could write a novel as a backstory for it. The mode of the game isn't that important -- you can tell a story in a FPS. There's a difference between Halo and Bioshock in storytelling, but even Bioshock is more about discovering what already happened than what unfolds from your characters actions. There's one big surprise twist, which is very cool, plotwise, but that's about it.

Re:A great story (1)

AcidLacedPenguiN (835552) | more than 6 years ago | (#20769223)

if that's the case then why pick on Halo? sure it can be superficially reduced to "run around and kill aliens" but in reducing it to that you have to ignore the plot development that happens before/between/during/after the alien killing.

The problem with the plot/story telling in the Halo series is that if you don't pay attention to it (which is relatively easy to do) it easily boils down to the "run around shooting aliens" concept. One might even be able to argue that this is the reason that Halo is so successful, it can be quite a good story if you so choose, or it can be the run and gun blaster that is so easily likened to the College frat boy demographic.

Anyone who claims that halo has no plot is obviously out of their mind or (more likely) anti microsoft or anti xbox fanbots.

Re:A great story (1)

grumbel (592662) | more than 6 years ago | (#20798049)

The problem I have with Halo is that you really only see a tiny little piece of the whole story, I can read the Halo novels, read about it on Wikipedia and all that stuff, but when it comes to the game there really is very little story there. Sure, a bit is still left, but you don't really get to know the Halo universe with just the games alone. Same problem with Half Life 2, sure, there might be some story actually hidden in there, but when I need a magnifying glass to find it I really feel that there is something fundamentally wrong with the game. Story should be something you experience in the game itself, not something you have to read on Wikipedia.

Re:A great story (1)

An ominous Cow art (320322) | more than 6 years ago | (#20770429)

Or in other words, suppose you copied the backstory to Halo to Space Invaders. Evil covenant thingamabobs are invading Earth, and you have to kill them. You still couldn't say that Space Invaders had a great story.
I actually own a paperback which is based on the Defender videogame [wikipedia.org] , but haven't worked up the courage to try reading it yet...

Re:A great story (1)

Fireflymantis (670938) | more than 6 years ago | (#20765783)

Although I havn't ever played PS:T, One game (series) that stands out masivly for me in terms of amazing story and charector development is The Longest Journey, and its sequel, Dreamfall. Those were two games that entirely wrapped me up in their plot, setting, and depth.

I would love to paste in the opening dialogue for TLJ, but the best I could find was the opening monologue for Dreamfall:

"They say that every story has a beginning and an end. That might be true in most cases. Sometimes, however, the two are one and the same. My name is Zoë Castillo. I don't usually look this pale, but that's what you get for being in a coma. That's my father, Gabriel. I'm all he's got in this world. My mother died fifteen years ago, and I don't have any siblings. I think he'll be very lonely when I'm gone. I wish I could've talked to him one last time, let him know that everything will be okay. But that would be a lie. The only thing I could have said...is goodbye. Since I'm lying in that bed, but I'm talking to you from out here, I guess this is what they call an out of body experience. I'm not sure anyone can hear me, but I've had some experience with voices from the grave recently, so I'm giving it a shot. Bad things are happening, and everyone who knows the truth is either dead or has vanished off the face of the Earth. If I can get through to someone, anyone, maybe something can be done. So if you can hear me, please listen. This is very, very important. It might just be the most important thing ever. You'll have to forgive me for using the oldest clichè in the book: It all began when..."

Two weeks earlier:

(TV-anchors blabber while Zoë, bored, lounges on her bed in her underwear)
Diane: --causing the unfortunate cow to implode. Ryan?
Ryan:Mooo! That's a spicy meatball! To err is human, to forgive is bovine! I'm running out of cow jokes here, people! Thanks, Diane! The Static has been blamed for chain collision this morning on the crosstown express, killing one person and injuring five. Witnessess say that a delivery truck lost Wire contact and manual systems failed to take over, causing it to hit another vehicle.
Diane: This accident coincides with a new report from CTU, claiming 'definitive evidence' that the Static is caused by heavy sunspot activity. The report has already come under fire from several--
(The screen goes blurry, as if Static)
Faith: ...Zoë...
(The screen flashes, revealing a wintry, desolate landscape with a single, nightmarish, floating black house and a pale girl with black hair, in a white dress, socks and black shoes, holding a ragdoll)
Find her. Save her.
(Just before the screen returns to normal) ...find her...save her...
Zoë: What was that? Must be some kind of viral ad...

Re:A great story (1)

Toonol (1057698) | more than 6 years ago | (#20770177)

Although I havn't ever played PS:T, One game (series) that stands out masivly for me in terms of amazing story and charector development is The Longest Journey, and its sequel, Dreamfall. Those were two games that entirely wrapped me up in their plot, setting, and depth.

I would rate PS:T as a better game, but Dreamfall is very impressive. The game elements are pretty minor, but the story and characters are fascinating. The writing and voice acting were notable. Highly recommended.

Re:A great story (1)

Elemenope (905108) | more than 6 years ago | (#20766373)

While the posters above hit two of the most important ones, with Grim Fandango and The Longest Journey, I'd also add (and I'm kind of shocked that it hasn't yet been mentioned here) Deus Ex. Talk about intricate plot! Also, the Myst games get an honorable mention, though with those (especially the first) you get more of a sense of being an intruder in an already-passed story than a part of one yourself.

Re:A great story (1)

ShakaUVM (157947) | more than 6 years ago | (#20766949)

Yeah, I liked Deus Ex's story a lot, but not quite enough to label it "great". It was actually the runner-up, as it were, to PST in my mind. =)

Re:A great story (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20769307)

While some Final Fantasy games might have trite storylines, I really have to wonder how you're overexposed to stories similar to (for example) Final Fantasy IX. Maybe if I watched anime I would know why these stories are trite.

Others that I've played not too long ago and thought had good storylines:

Star Ocean (on PS2), Xenosaga I, II (not III), Dragon Quest VIII.

Re:A great story (1)

ShakaUVM (157947) | more than 6 years ago | (#20780169)

FFVII was a tale about evil businesses. Almost all FFs have evil churches. Tragic or doomed romances. Etc., etc. etc. They recycle the same themes throughout all the games.

Mainly, though, I just find the stories uninteresting.

Re:A great story (1)

ericlondaits (32714) | more than 6 years ago | (#20769537)

"Gabriel Knight: Sins of the fathers" has a great story and is a very immersive experience. Graphics are a bit dated by now, since it's a DOS/Win3.1 game... but it can still be enjoyed today.

Re:A great story (1)

Boronx (228853) | more than 6 years ago | (#20771397)

Seconded. "What can you tell me about...Voo Doo?"

Grim Fandango is on equal footing (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20765489)

There are two games which I hold above all others in terms of art and story, Planescape: Torment and Grim Fandango. The fact that both at their core are about characters in the afterlife trying to move on seems to be an eerie coincidence in my book.

Grim Fandango isn't even the best Lucasarts game (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20779333)

Loom was far better. The Dig was, too. Really, the first two Monkey Island games were as well. Oh, and Zak McKracken. Gee, Maniac Mansion and DOTT were, too.

Grim Fandango was extremely overrated due to its 3D interface.

Good that you admit that Planescape: Torment was fundamentally an adventure game, though.

Stands the test of time, worth of a remake (2, Interesting)

lsw (95027) | more than 6 years ago | (#20765865)

Still to this day I havent had the luck of finding a greater game than Torment. Still to this day I utter random quotes with some friends such as "I endure and by enduring I grow stronger" (Dak'kon, voiced by one of the x-files guys) and everyone smiles recognizing immediately where it comes from :-)

Plus how could a fantasy roleplaying game voiced by Dan Castellaneta (the voice of Homer Simpsons) be bad?

the commercial problem was that the Planescape setting was so outrageous and out of the ordinary field of vision of your garden variety D&D fanboy that to some was a bit of a put off and didnt picked it up to begin with.

I dont believe that there is another game that deserves a remake more than this one. I'm sure given the dire finances of Interplay you can pick up the rights of the game pretty easily.

Re:Stands the test of time, worth of a remake (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20772225)

Endure. In enduring grow strong.

In knowing the teachings of Zerthimon, I have become stronger.

Re:Stands the test of time, worth of a remake (1)

Petrushka (815171) | more than 6 years ago | (#20775055)

For reference, Dan Castellaneta played Nordom -- it takes a fair while to encounter him. Still, among the most memorable characters. I used to have Nordom quotes for most of my system sounds. "Affirmatory." "My analysis is correct. Danger! Danger!" "Annah, Morte wishes to snuggle with your pillows." etc.

Family (1)

nitrowing (887519) | more than 6 years ago | (#20766017)

PST and Fallout were very similar IMHO. They are probably two of the very few games I played through to the end and thoroughly enjoyed. I bought Fallout 2 and Tactics, Baldur's Gate 1 & 2, NeverWinter Nights on the back of Fallout and PST but they failed to compell me to continue after a few hours.

Planescape was a great game.... (1)

argStyopa (232550) | more than 6 years ago | (#20766207)

...but IMO before we get to the point that games are celebrated for their literary value, we'll have to reach FIRST the point where Science Fiction or Fantasy gets any literary cred outside of their genres....

Re:Planescape was a great game.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20766455)

FIRST the point where Science Fiction or Fantasy gets any literary cred outside of their genres....
They do. MOST of them don't, in accordance with Sturgeon's law, but the good ones do. Tolkien's work, or Mervyn Peake's, John Wyndham, HG Wells... Just not the crap.

Recognizing sci-fi/fantasy (1)

Kelson (129150) | more than 6 years ago | (#20770003)

They do. MOST of them don't, in accordance with Sturgeon's law, but the good ones do. Tolkien's work, or Mervyn Peake's, John Wyndham, HG Wells... Just not the crap.

Well, mostly. There's still a gap between the 90% that's crap and the 1% that's celebrated. The literary world only celebrates the great science fiction and fantasy, and tends to lump the merely good stuff in with the crap. Even then, half the time it tries to pretend that the books aren't really science-fiction, in order to avoid removing the "always crap" clause from their personal definition of sci-fi.

Re:Planescape was a great game.... (1)

DanloRingess (818193) | more than 6 years ago | (#20767813)

Science fiction and fantasy do get celebrated for their literary value when they deserve it. A good recent example is Michael Chabon's The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay. It won a little award called the Pulitzer Prize in 2001. I don't know how you can get much more celebrated than that. There are plenty other examples of celebrated SF and fantasy. Frankenstein is usually regarded as a pretty important work of literature, for example.

Yes, there are literary snobs who look down on these two genres. But, truly great works of literature transcend their categories. People don't celebrate mainstream fiction just because it is that. It has to be good to get recognized for its literary value.

RIP RPGs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20766221)

If you have played Planescape: Torment and Oblivion you would know what im talking about, Just remembering some planescape moments gives me chills down my spine, 2001 monolith kind of chills, just remembering some Oblivion moments makes me regret wasting time "playing" it.
Todays games are all about eye candy, gameplay has been declining but story has been lost, im not talking about background story, im talking about actual story told trough the game. /rant

Re:RIP RPGs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20778861)

Story never mattered much in CRPGs. It isn't a definitive component and never has been. Most of the best-regarded CRPGs have had either completely open-ended stories or hardly any at all.

CRPG "fans" seem to be ignoring or retconning the entire history of the genre in order to uphold Planescape: Torment as the model CRPG.

I don't get that. NetHack is the model CRPG. Planescape: Torment was an aberration. It was a great game -- but not because of its CRPG elements.

"RIP RPGs" I can agree with, but only because of the move away from precision tactical turn-based combat.

Seminal? (3, Insightful)

matthewsmalley (242855) | more than 6 years ago | (#20766591)

Torment was a great game (to repeat what most people are saying here), but was it seminal as the article suggests?

The great tragedy with this game is that it wasn't followed up with a sequel, nor did Black Isle go on to make anything like it again (Icewind Dale was basically a snowy version of Baldur's Gate), nor was there a sizeable shift in the output of "western RPGs" to be more role / story based. To misquote wikipedia: it isn't "a work from which other works grow".

IMO, since then we've had a gradual erosion of the place the story occupies in the makeup of an RPG (Dark Alliance, Oblivion, Dungeon Siege, Dark Messiah).

Don't get me wrong, I really enjoyed Oblivion, but it was built on technological advances and genuinely fun gameplay, not on the foundation of the story, without which even Torment would have sucked.

I'd even go as far as to say Diablo was the seminal game which blended with traditional western RPGs to open the gates for our current run of best sellers...

Re:Seminal? (1)

kalirion (728907) | more than 6 years ago | (#20767885)

Sequel? I can see a prequel to PS:T, but a sequel wouldn't work, not if you want to use The Nameless One in it. Unless of course it's an action hackfest through the Blood War with a character who can knock down Glaabrezu with his own hacked off arm (+2).

Re:Seminal? (3, Interesting)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 6 years ago | (#20768775)

Sequel would work fine.

*** SPOILER ALERT ***

Before going to "hell" as it may be, Fall From Grace tells The Nameless One that if there is any way to get him out, she will do so. I mean, main party members include a ghost, a demon, a floating skull, and a tiefling (half-demon). Something tells me they wouldn't have much trouble getting to that plane and getting him out. Of course, that game would largely be focused around the other chars, rather than TNO himself, though he could still be part of the story.

Also, I must say: the ending video of this game was the one time a game has ever brought tears to my eyes. He wakes up, looks out into the field of endless demons and devils fighting each other, then looks to the side and calmy pulls a mace from a body laying to his side. Picks it up and slowly looks at the head as the begging question "What can change the nature of a man?" echoes in the background. Though his face shows almost no emotion there is this absolute wave of sadness that you can feel, then it pans out with him slowly walking towards the battle accepting his fate. The music really helps set the tone here, and I have all of the PS:T sound track on my computer and still listen to it quite often :).

I've played other games that were fantastic - heck Baldur's Gate 2 was great, as was KOTOR and Jade Empire, but NOTHING quite measures up to Planescape Torment. It's a shame that a sequel will likely never come out. If it had the depth and play time of the original I'd gladly pay ten times what a normal game costs.

Re:Seminal? (1)

kalirion (728907) | more than 6 years ago | (#20768915)

Before going to "hell" as it may be, Fall From Grace tells The Nameless One that if there is any way to get him out, she will do so. I mean, main party members include a ghost, a demon, a floating skull, and a tiefling (half-demon). Something tells me they wouldn't have much trouble getting to that plane and getting him out. Of course, that game would largely be focused around the other chars, rather than TNO himself, though he could still be part of the story.

Hmm, all the characters of the first game would be pretty high level, but then I guess they'd have to be to stand a chance on the demonic plane. It would definitely be a refreshing change of pace to have the starting party in a game all be levels 15+, but having to contend with even more powerful enemies.

Re:Seminal? (1)

KoldKompress (1034414) | more than 6 years ago | (#20770491)

Like some of the Neverwinter Nights expansion packs, which had you starting at level 15-20? I think it was Shadows of the Underdark or some such that had you starting at a high level.

Re:Seminal? (1)

meringuoid (568297) | more than 6 years ago | (#20771837)

Though his face shows almost no emotion there is this absolute wave of sadness that you can feel, then it pans out with him slowly walking towards the battle accepting his fate.

Maybe you were accepting your fate. Personally, I was on my way to kick ass and take names. All three major previous incarnations: absorbed. The Transcendent One: absorbed. The golden sphere: opened. Name: remembered. Character level: astronomical. Charisma stat: maxed long ago, 'You could lead the planes to war'. Bring it the fuck on!

But that's rather the wonderful thing about The Nameless One; he's a tabula rasa, and you impose your own ideas of what he is, and give your own answer to Ravel's old question.

Re:Seminal? (1)

matthewsmalley (242855) | more than 6 years ago | (#20769081)

My point was merely: magnum as this opus was, history has shown it wasn't seminal. (I agree a 'direct' sequel wouldn't have worked - though something with similar values and set in a similar universe could have potential)

Re:Seminal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20772625)

Uhmm, insulting the original BG by calling IWD a 'Snowy BG' is pretty insulting. IWD was IMHO a pretty lame game, both linearity and RP-wise (Read: Straight line through lots of monsters, and what character development?)

BG on the other hand you could spend 30 hours before you even got back around to the main plot hunting down side-quests and trying to get your character strong enough to not get your butt kicked when you started moving towards the endgame.

IWD was more like 'hack hack, rest, hack hack, dialogue, hack, hack, die, restart, hack, hack, win, rest.' ad infinium.

That also would lead to my few complaints with PST over the original BG: While somewhat non-linear in where you could explore, you still had limitations on what class you could advance and when, no armor to speak of to collect, and limited chances to grind your XP up if somewhere was turning out to be particularly difficult (all serious XP was earned through sidequests, finding previously lost pieces of yourself, or places you'd been, which while cool, led to a number of times where due to current class choice and level I wasn't strong enough to win the fight, too poor money-wise to buy buffs, etc.)

BG2, while somewhat non-linear didn't allow exploring on your own without having already found an NPC to give you a quest outside the city (It felt like a real setback compared to BG1), plus you had to spend an hour or so playing the intro area each time or you'd lose out on certain artifact pieces that'd come in handy later.

Re:Seminal? (1)

Malkin (133793) | more than 6 years ago | (#20775201)

I think it was seminal, in the sense that many game developers played it, and hold it up as a sort of ideal for quest design, character development, and story development. It's one of those games we tell students to go out and get their hands on, because they need to play this game before they go out into the world to make their own games.

That said, however, in spite of the game's very existence, many in the industry speak of it as though it were an unattainable ideal. The lukewarm market response to PS:T isn't very encouraging for the people who hand out the money. It would take a perfect storm for anyone to get a chance to make something like that again.

However, the risks that the industry is afraid to take are golden opportunities for indies. Get cracking, folks!

Played it before? Play it again - you missed a lot (1)

dtolman (688781) | more than 6 years ago | (#20767437)

If you've only played this game once, do yourself a favor and load it up again. The game play and story are so deep, that its worth it. Playing through this the second time, I encountered entire boards and storylines that I never encountered the first time through. Playing through the third time, I still encountered boards, stories, and characters I never encountered before.


And I know I'm still missing some... apparently whenever you make a choice - pick a faction, have a character join your party, some other choices get blocked off. And many characters have their own boards and storylines once they join (Modron, Dakkon most notably) - so depending on who you have in your party, its a completely different experience!

I have a problem with this news (-1, Offtopic)

imr (106517) | more than 6 years ago | (#20767653)

I don't clearly see how it attacks sony or the ps3 as it should or promotes microsoft xbox360?
I'm puzzled.

Re:I have a problem with this news (1)

AcidLacedPenguiN (835552) | more than 6 years ago | (#20769587)

have you just recently escaped bizarro slashdot or something? 'Round these parts anything that contains the word "microsoft" must also include the overarching concept of "failure"

Re:I have a problem with this news (1)

imr (106517) | more than 6 years ago | (#20778641)

Not in the gmaing section.
In the gaming section, the rules lately is "whatever sony do is evil; praises to microsoft for the xbox!" An attitude you can see along all medias, from comics to generalist news, including slashdot.
Of course, it has nothing to see with the big pie that is halo marketing campaign.
The problem is not that sony is or not doing wrong stuffs, the problem is that both are doing that kind of stuff, but both don't receive the same traitment.

Fall into the darkness ... (1)

Non-Huffable Kitten (1142561) | more than 6 years ago | (#20768579)

This game was so deeply sad (in the good way).

I played it in my teens though and I don't know whether I'd still find it deep today. What do you think?

Re:Fall into the darkness ... (1)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 6 years ago | (#20768827)

I played it in my late teens (was a Freshman in college starting the game, and I think I finished up the summer afterwards), and found it incredibly deep at that time.

PC only? (1)

skinfaxi (212627) | more than 6 years ago | (#20768787)

Is it a PC-only game? My cursory searches didn't turn up anything for consoles. I played Baldur's Gate on the PS2; I like playing PlayStation RPGs that support multiple players. I guess this isn't one of those?

Re:PC only? (1)

roadkill_cr (1155149) | more than 6 years ago | (#20768855)

It is a PC-only game, and it is single player only. That is part of its beauty, though; a lot of the story comes from the NPC characters, which would be sorely missed if you had a party of untalkative PCs.

Re:PC only? (1)

skinfaxi (212627) | more than 6 years ago | (#20769115)

Ah, thanks. It would be a challenge to craft a good story in a multiplayer game.

Re:PC only? (1)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 6 years ago | (#20772323)

"Baldur's Gate" didn't actually come out on the PS2. What you would have played was "Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance", which is an offshoot game made for consoles that really has nothing to do with the PC version of the game. Not that it wasn't fun (I played through it), but it was more hack n' slash arcade type fun. Multiplayer, "twitch", and completely void of story. The PC version was a turn based (though this fact was hidden) novel in video game form. Both entertaining, but the PC games were in a completely different league.

Re:PC only? (1)

skinfaxi (212627) | more than 6 years ago | (#20772471)

You're right, it was Dark Alliance. Also correct about the lack of story! But fun for multi-player hack-n-slash.

Best game, Dunno. Best Story, most definitely (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20769365)

I loved/love PS:T. It has the deepest, most well executed story I have ever seen in a video game. When ever I would read about Ebert saying that video games can't be art, Torment jumped to mind as incontrovertible evidence that he couldn't find his ass with both hands and a convex mirror.

I actually just loaded this back up under WinXP a couple of weeks ago and have been playing through it again for the first time in probably 5 years. Runs great as long as you patch it. Gameplay gets a little tedious to me at some points in the game, and the graphics are dated as hell now, but the story and dialogue have definitely stood the test of time.

Check Amazon if you're looking for a copy. There are a number of vendors listed there selling "new" copies at reasonable prices.

GemRB (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20769939)

Hey!

Nobody has mentioned GemRB, a promising, but as yet unfinished Linux version of the infinity engine! Download it, try it out, and contribute. This is something that needs the same level of attention as Exult. The game isn't really playable yet, but you already see that the task is possible.

http://sourceforge.net/projects/gemrb/ [sourceforge.net]

Original design document (1)

Mahtar (324436) | more than 6 years ago | (#20771871)

For anyone even half-interested, the original design-document (or whatever the fuck they call these things) is a blast.

http://www.rpgwatch.com/files/Files/00-0208/Torment_Vision_Statement_1997.pdf [rpgwatch.com]

Re:Original design document (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20772431)

That's incredible. Thanks for the link.

Awesome! (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | more than 6 years ago | (#20772687)

> Despite the cult status of Planescape: Torment, it was one of the
> least successful entries in the Baldur's Gate family of games.

One of. Can't claim worst, because that'd be the last game in the series, Temple of Elemental Evil.

They actually had some superswords that would automatically counter-attack something that attacked you. If you, unfortunately, went to go hit a flame elemental or some such, which also had an automatic counterattack, the game would get stuck in its turn-based mechanism as something choked as the mutual counterattacks fed off each other and tied up the next-turn logic.

This state was easy to get into other ways, too. They never fixed this stuff. Often, you'd re-load a saved game, only to see it was stuck in such a state, the saved game beeing fubarred now.

It's too bad, because, by careful but legitimate (if unenvisioned) gameplay, you could acquire two such swords and be a dual-wielding engine of destruction. Sadly, such dual wielding lead to even worse problems because the swords choked on each other frequently.

Man, take those two swords (+ fixed programming) and roll it in with the boots of haste, spell-bouncing cloak, and dual Rings of Gaxx (also acquirable by legitimate, if unenvisioned, gameplay), and damn, you'd take out pretty much anything in, well, Marvel's list of heroes anyway.

Great game, good story, not juvenile (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20775945)

Planescape: Torment is a great game. The game is really story centered; while there is some Baldur's Gate style combat, its not the centerpiece of the game.

However, I would not reccomend the game for young children. Theres nothing wrong with the content -- but merely that the story has ideas and themes that I wouldn't expect children to go for.

Without wanting to go into the plot details: Think of it this way: Games for young kids have a Good Guy (with a capital G) and a Bad Guy, and you are *ALWAYS* the Good Guy.

However, for older kids and adults, this gets ho-hum, and things are more interesting when the lines are more blurred -- perhaps the Bad Guys motivations are explained in a way that presents his side of things. Or perhaps the "hero" is only out for himself.

Oh, the graphics are dated. Not much you can do about that. But the story and its text are the shining points anyways, so don't worry about it.

If you are a "powergamer" (always trying to play games to min/max your way to be as powerful as you can) I would seriously reccommend taking a break and just playing this game though the first time in roleplay fashion -- either answer things as you would yourself, or decide what your character would do and follow that through the story.

Re:Great game, good story, not juvenile (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#20821147)

the story has ideas and themes that I wouldn't expect children to go for.


Why limit your children based on your expectations of what they might and might not find interesting?

Honestly, it's only recently that games have become so dumbed-down that Planescape: Torment stands out as notable.
Check for New Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>