Bioware : Why have romance in games anyway

28 03 2011

My Dragon Age 2 playthrough is continuing, and as usual I can’t really find much fault with Bioware’s latest. It’s a bit formulaic, but I suppose after playing a slew of Bioware RPG’s you can’t help but notice the repeated formula. Still enjoyable, though how long before it all starts to wear a little thin, I can’t say.

One thing I completely fail to see the point of  : Romance in these games. It was a bit of a novelty back with Mass Effect 1. Controversial, I suppose. But after ME2 and DA:O, and now DA:2, I kind of… don’t get it really.

Probably the biggest bit of confusion about the whole thing, is that love affairs in Bioware games feel like a schoolboy’s interpretation thereof.  Seriously, the pick up lines in DA2 are some of the cheesiest I have ever heard. I cannot imagine this actually working in real life. And it’s all either a little bit too perfect, or it’s crass and vile. Last night, for eg, my character bedded a poor naive elf girl, and then kicked her ass to the curb, since I’d decided to pursue Isabela as a long term romance. It was brutal, and for the sake of lols in a computer game, I did it.

But it’s all a little too… boolean. Too logical. Romance in reality is a complex mess of emotion. Which is why these romance options in Bioware games feel false. Stilted. Calculated. That’s the very nature of a CRPG, though. You’re always metagaming. Trying to find the best gear. The most money. XP. And so, when faced with which lover to take, you don’t think with your heart. But your head.

And that’s just not how love works. There’s no logic involved. It just.. happens. Or it doesn’t. And there are ups and downs, not fairytale perfection.

Granted, perhaps that’s the point. RPG’s are basically us living vicariously through a heroic version of what we’d like to think of as ourselves. So while building the perfect avatar, we also make the perfect choices, including finding the perfect mate.

I can’t help but feel it’s all a bit ridiculous. Unreal. Goofy. Another conquest notched in my belt, rather than any kind of semblance whatsoever to true romance. And, perhaps, it’s for that reason I don’t really see the point anymore.

Particularly since they don’t seem to show enough T&A anymore.




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