Half-Life Story vs. Mass Effect

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    • Half-Life Story vs. Mass Effect

      Half-Life VS. Mass Effect


      "Over time, gameplay may fade but the stories and characters within these games lives on forever. Now, 32 of the most popular video game stories are trading blows in our Videogame Deathmatch for The Greatest Story Ever Told. Vote now and vote often to make sure your voice is heard so that your favorite game story can be crowned #1."


      _________________________________________________

      Commander Shepard, the first human Spectre, has been sent to Eden Prime to recover a Prothean beacon. Shepard is attacked by Saren, a rogue Specter, looking to unleash the power of Reapers, the same species that wiped out the Protheans 50,000 years prior.
      _______________________

      Gordon Freeman awakes from stasis to learn Earth has been invaded by the Combine. Humanity's fate is in your hands, well humanity's fate is in your left hand, your right hand is holding a crowbar.
      _______________________


      Pretty shit description of Half-Life if you ask me, but this is definitely a debatable match up.

      VOTE HERE!

      Also up is Portal 2 vs. FF7.

      Keep in mind this is ME1 vs. HL2
    • deadlife101 wrote:

      Half-Life wins, no contest. Mass Effect is just too...Thirdperson for me.


      This isn't about gameplay, though. :/

      Anyway, if you can't already tell, my pick is Mass Effect. I love HL2, but Mass Effect just had more to offer, and I've poured way too much time into it.

      Maxey wrote:

      If HL was a Kojima production, Shephard would be a cyborg by this point in time and we would be controlling Alyx and Freeman's son, Bob, as he goes undercover into the Combine homeworld to rescue Eli's brain, which was transferred into a Mobile Nuclear Platform called Steel Rod.
    • Half Life has a much more mature story based around real philosophy, ranging from Friedrich Nietzsche to Ayn Rand. The story that Half Life and its sequels pursue is a drastic interpretation of a philosophical stand-point -coined by Nietzsche- known as the, "Will to Power."

      You'll often hear Dr. Breen reference Neurological Imperatives and broad-spectrum prospects, like purpose. Gordon Freeman, as a character, represents the slave-mentality of the average life-form. He is given tremendous power and seeks nothing but survival and the continuity of his species. His constant sabotage of fixed-Combine bases and the entire alliance of Xen is a clear reference to territoriality, which would make Gordon represent the more modern sense of morality and ways of thinking (or the Slave Mentality, as dictated by Nietzsche), where the Combine and their goals represent inevitability and conflicting purpose in both appearance and nature. It can also be symbolically interpreted as cultural tradition dissolving scientific and philosophical pragmatism. The territoriality is also used to contrast the advancement of the Combine and how our (humans) understanding and frequencies are primitive.


      Mass Effect, in my opinion, is a contrived and cluttered cleche driven merely by character development in the same stylistic fashion that most pieces of modern pop-culture try to pawn off as a story. With "Advanced Story" labeled as Mass Effect's signature quality, I'm willing to bet it will win.

      The modern and overly-uneducated mind too often mistakes drama as a more important aspect than concept and other key-elements in story writing. I'm certain that the cleche drama that Bioware pawns off as "Mature Story-telling" will fool most people. The problem with drama, is that it ends when the presentation is over. Concept and originality can change a person for the right reasons, where drama affects our emotions -- something we have no control over and requires no real thinking on our part.

      Most importantly, Half Life's story isn't as contrived and in-your-face as Mass Effect's; Half Life's story is told realistically and behind-the-scenes. Half Life's story can be completely ignored and the game itself can be subjectively pursued as a strict action game, fore the game almost never halts the constant action. This is why Half Life is a true marvel in the eyes of someone who doesn't struggle with mature and philosophical, if not scientific, concepts. The game itself disguises you as the common protagonist-hero attempting to liberate your brethren. The story -though incognito- is anything but. Anyone familiar with the basic quandaries of philosophy is instantly slapped with an impasse of personal belief. The line that divides common-place moral certainties and advanced-philosophical views is immediately drawn at the start of Half Life 2. Most players don't even consider that you can personally choose to side with the Combine, or with the pragmatism that it presents. Half Life's story isn't over when the game if finished, nor did it begin back when Valve dished it out. The story of Half Life has been plaguing and frustrating the intellectual mind since Aristotle. It isn't just a game, it's a visual representation of a conflicting argument that puts you in the seat of the average man.

      "Look, Gordon! Look at what you are throwing away! "
      "Would we model ourselves on the Trilobite?!"
      "The Combine have thrown a switch and exorcised our demons in a single stroke. They have given us the strength we never could have summoned to overcome this compulsion; they have given us purpose. They have turned our eyes toward the stars."


      Anyone who has ever played the popular Half Life 2 mod, "The Stanely Parable" knows of these conflicting sides. Lets just say that anyone who turned the mod off before it was finished should never oppose the Combine -- or Friedrich Nietzsche.

      Half Life is fucking clearly superior than Mass Effect in story.
      [COLOR="Red"]EVERY DEAD BODY THAT IS NOT EXTERMINATED, GETS UP AND KILLS. THE PEOPLE IT KILLS, GET UP AND KILL.[/COLOR]

      Post was edited 12 times, last by OrderOfDagon ().

    • I'm not leaning towards either for the apples vs oranges reason:

      Half life has a nice story but theres a lot of gaps you have to fill in for yourself because of the way it is presented (mostly because the main character doesn't talk, no cut scenes,... ) this is good for immersion though.

      With mass effect the whole thing has cut scenes and dialogue with the main character... much more then the average game. Also because of the RPG elements in the game, the story will have more depth automatically. The way the game is played allows for much more side stories and character development.

      So looking at the games purely for story i would say mass effect wins even though half life is great and presented very well.
    • OrderOfDagon wrote:

      Most players don't even consider that you can personally choose to side with the Combine, or with the pragmatism that it presents.

      "Look, Gordon! Look at what you are throwing away! "
      "Would we model ourselves on the Trilobite?!"
      "The Combine have thrown a switch and exorcised our demons in a single stroke. They have given us the strength we never could have summoned to overcome this compulsion; they have given us purpose. They have turned our eyes toward the stars."


      Anyone who has ever played the popular Half Life 2 mod, "The Stanely Parable" knows of these conflicting sides. Lets just say that anyone who turned the mod off before it was finished should never oppose the Combine -- or Friedrich Nietzsche.

      Okay, I'm sorry, but I can't see how choosing to side with the combine is pragmatic. I mean, look at the facts:
      -Before the combine invasion, an appreciable amount of the human population (the one living in the most developped countries) has a pretty high standard of living (access to education, health care, reasonable security and safety, material comfort, etc...).
      -After the combine invasion, on the other hand, almost the totality of the human population has no access to education or health care, has no granted security (everyone can be arrested by the metrocops at any moment), and little to no material comfort.
    • Simontheb wrote:

      Okay, I'm sorry, but I can't see how choosing to side with the combine is pragmatic. I mean, look at the facts:
      -Before the combine invasion, an appreciable amount of the human population (the one living in the most developped countries) has a pretty high standard of living (access to education, health care, reasonable security and safety, material comfort, etc...).
      -After the combine invasion, on the other hand, almost the totality of the human population has no access to education or health care, has no granted security (everyone can be arrested by the metrocops at any moment), and little to no material comfort.


      Pragmatism doesn't mean quality for human life. Try and understand, humans go around hunting animals and endangering species to extinction simply because we are at the top of the food chain. Imagine pragmatism from something eons ahead of us in the food chain; i.e. The Combine. Humans are, essentially, purposeless sacks of water that go around appeasing their neurological requisites without thinking beyond their nature. The Combine gave them freedom from some of these impulses and -if you paid attention to Breen's Announcements about immortality- were planning on giving freedom from physiological imperatives aswell. Even though the standard of living for humans wasn't so great, it was necessary.

      It's like humans and ants. Lets say that we're some modern-military tribe, and that ants were infecting our crops for whatever reason. Those crops fed our soldiers and kept us alive -- what's a solution? The tribe would probably try and contain the ants in a small but easily accessible space, like ant farms. Sure, the ants are more enclosed and uncomfortable, but who cares, right? So now lets say that we decide to set those ants on our enemies' crops, making them weaker. Is the ant not incredibly more significant in purpose? They now have real gods (humans) where they initially had none; they have real comprehendable purpose; they are part of something bigger. Would you rather continue the monotonous life of an ant, or would you become apart of something great?

      F(orum)USER wrote:

      I'm not leaning towards either for the apples vs oranges reason:

      Half life has a nice story but theres a lot of gaps you have to fill in for yourself because of the way it is presented (mostly because the main character doesn't talk, no cut scenes,... ) this is good for immersion though.

      With mass effect the whole thing has cut scenes and dialogue with the main character... much more then the average game. Also because of the RPG elements in the game, the story will have more depth automatically. The way the game is played allows for much more side stories and character development.

      So looking at the games purely for story i would say mass effect wins even though half life is great and presented very well.


      ^ Someone else who mistakes drama as the only premise for story.

      Telling a story through characters is ridiculously easy -- they can basically be contrived to plug and narrate the advancing plot.
      Telling a story in vision and symbolism is what masterpieces are made of.

      There is nothing wrong with character driven plots, at all. But comparing them is like comparing Shakespeare to Jersey Shore.

      When people who don't understand stories or how they're designed read something like Romeo and Juliet, they thinks it's a mere love story. But they don't understand the layers and layers of masterpiece plot development and interaction.
      [COLOR="Red"]EVERY DEAD BODY THAT IS NOT EXTERMINATED, GETS UP AND KILLS. THE PEOPLE IT KILLS, GET UP AND KILL.[/COLOR]

      Post was edited 11 times, last by OrderOfDagon ().

    • Yeah, they didn't even spell 'Spectre' right. What's the point of even attempting to compare apples and oranges if the person telling you to compare them calls the orange a banana?

      Maxey wrote:

      If HL was a Kojima production, Shephard would be a cyborg by this point in time and we would be controlling Alyx and Freeman's son, Bob, as he goes undercover into the Combine homeworld to rescue Eli's brain, which was transferred into a Mobile Nuclear Platform called Steel Rod.
    • I'm seriously getting off-topic, sorry for that, but this is too interesting.

      OrderOfDagon wrote:

      Pragmatism doesn't mean quality for human life.
      For me it does. I think we don't have the same vision of pragmatism.

      OrderOfDagon wrote:

      Try and understand, humans go around hunting animals and endangering species to extinction simply because we are at the top of the food chain.
      That's factually true, as far as I can tell (maybe a biologist wouldn't agree with the "top of the food chain" part, I don't know).

      OrderOfDagon wrote:

      Humans are, essentially, purposeless sacks of water that go around appeasing their neurological requisites...
      I totally agree, but you make it sound bad. I wouldn't.

      OrderOfDagon wrote:

      without thinking beyond their nature.
      What do you mean?

      OrderOfDagon wrote:

      The Combine gave them freedom from some of these impulses...
      You mean, the impulse of sexuality? I don't see why anyone could want to be "freed" from sexuality. It's a very efficient mean to get pleasure.

      OrderOfDagon wrote:

      ...and -if you paid attention to Breen's Announcements about immortality- were planning on giving freedom from physiological imperatives aswell.
      Now that you put it that way, it is possible indeed that striders and hunters are immortal. But immortality is pointless if it can't be enjoyed, don't you think?

      OrderOfDagon wrote:

      Even though the standard of living for humans wasn't so great, it was necessary.
      I don't see why. The combine just chose to be brutal for it was easier to control humanity that way.

      OrderOfDagon wrote:

      It's like humans and ants. Lets say that were some modern-military tribe, and that ants were infecting our crops for whatever reason. Those crops fed our soldiers and kept us alive -- what's a solution? The tribe would probably try and contain the ants in a small but easily accessible space, like ant farms. Sure, the ants are more enclosed and uncomfortable, but who cares, right?
      I don't think your analogy is valid. The combine were the one who invaded, not us. We were simply hanging on our planet minding our own business. Well, except the xen trip of course.

      OrderOfDagon wrote:

      So now lets say that we decide to set those ants on our enemies' crops, making them weaker. Is the ant not incredibly more significant in purpose? They now have real gods (humans) where they initially had none; they have real comprehendable purpose; they are part of something bigger. Would you rather continue the monotonous life of an ant, or would you become apart of something great?
      I don't get it. What's the point of having a god? What's the point of being a pawn? What's the point of having a purpose? And how taking part in a god's war is "something great"?

      See, I am a materialist. Of course you don't have to agree with me here, but I think that we are nothing more than a bunch of particles interacting according to the laws of physics. Which implies there is no meaning of life. We are just here for a limited amount of time, until we die and that's it. So, the best we can do during our lifetime if to maximize the amount of pleasure (wether physical, emotional or intellectual) and minimize the amount of suffering (wether physical, emotional or intellectual) we get, because we like taking pleasure and we don't like suffering. And of course, that's true for every lifeform with a nervous system, not just humans. So, for me being part of "something great" or even becoming immortal serves no useful purpose if it doesn't bring pleasure. And in particular, being invaded by the Combine brought a whole lot of suffering and little to no pleasure. So, bad.
    • You're very intelligent Simontheb -- I'll try and answers some of your question to the best of my ability.

      Simontheb wrote:

      What do you mean?

      Essentially, most human thought and drive is based around the object of goal -- based around the pleasure that the goal will supposedly bring. An average person experiences random urges to achieve something that they have witnessed. This means that in any environment, a human person can be conditioned to desire.

      Thing is, the only things that human's desire is something that has been permitted by their Neurological Impulse. No matter how obscure, it can always be linked to either a Survival Instinct, Reproduction Instinct, and/or a Social Instinct (which inherently links to Reproduction anyway). Basically, humans never had a say in their own design. Pleasure itself is a tool in which nature coaxes you into doing what your species has evolved to, and displeasure or pain is a way of punishing you for not following. Based on Evolution, we made ourselves this way by our behavior and traditional-reaction to our environment.

      Examples: The reason that fruit is colorful is because humans, as a species, have become incredibly keen at perceiving food that was often searched for in our long history.

      The reason that men are statistically more funny is because the more humorous males in our species got mates much faster than those who weren't, making humorous men thrive in the ladder of Evolution.


      Simontheb wrote:

      I don't get it. What's the point of having a god? What's the point of being a pawn? What's the point of having a purpose? And how taking part in a god's war is "something great"?

      See, I am a materialist. Of course you don't have to agree with me here, but I think that we are nothing more than a bunch of particles interacting according to the laws of physics. Which implies there is no meaning of life. We are just here for a limited amount of time, until we die and that's it. So, the best we can do during our lifetime if to maximize the amount of pleasure (wether physical, emotional or intellectual) and minimize the amount of suffering (wether physical, emotional or intellectual) we get, because we like taking pleasure and we don't like suffering. And of course, that's true for every lifeform with a nervous system, not just humans. So, for me being part of "something great" or even becoming immortal serves no useful purpose if it doesn't bring pleasure. And in particular, being invaded by the Combine brought a whole lot of suffering and little to no pleasure. So, bad.


      Friedrich Nietzsche spoke of a man who would awake one day and reject his control; a man who would decide on his own when to be happy; a man who would take control of his impulses and set a new course for the world. He calls these men, "Ubermensch."

      You see, the problem with Neurological Impulses is that its evolution is an extremely slow process, and is more likely to devastate the human species than it is to lead us to any kind of salvation. Neurological Impulse is why we do everything we do, but what we do isn't pragmatic. Hatred is no longer necessary for it is a defensive emotion that is designed to dominate and defend - a very basic biological impulse. But the world is no longer a hostile place of wild beasts and mystery. We have science and laws, and hatred gets in the way of that. Love, though pleasurable, can lead to crimes all over the place. Love is purely a way to push us toward reproduction, and since the world can become overpopulated very quickly, it isn't necessary.

      It is possible to condition a person to think differently and to naturally reject these impulses. The brain doesn't finish growing until the age of 7 1/2, which means the synapses between the brain are still relatively easy to move through. If you explain and convince a child through intelligent and well-executed education that he has control over himself and should never make decision based on feelings, than he potentially can overcome his lesser half.

      This, to Nietzsche's mind, is the next step in Evolution.

      "Imagine the day when happiness is a decision, not a goal."
      [COLOR="Red"]EVERY DEAD BODY THAT IS NOT EXTERMINATED, GETS UP AND KILLS. THE PEOPLE IT KILLS, GET UP AND KILL.[/COLOR]

      Post was edited 1 time, last by OrderOfDagon ().

    • OrderOfDagon wrote:

      You're very intelligent Simontheb
      Uh... Thanks?

      OrderOfDagon wrote:

      Essentially, most human thought and drive is based around the object of goal -- based around the pleasure that the goal will supposedly bring. An average person experiences random urges to achieve something that they have witnessed. This means that in any environment, a human person can be conditioned to desire.

      Thing is, the only things that human's desire is something that has been permitted by their Neurological Impulse. No matter how obscure, it can always be linked to either a Survival Instinct, Reproduction Instinct, and/or a Social Instinct (which inherently links to Reproduction anyway).
      Sounds pretty legit indeed.

      OrderOfDagon wrote:

      Basically, humans never had a say in their own design. Pleasure itself is a tool in which nature coaxes you into doing what your species has evolved to, and displeasure or pain is a way of punishing you for not following. Based on Evolution, we made ourselves this way by our behavior and traditional-reaction to our environment.
      Hum, "tool" and "punishment" make it sound like nature is some sort of intelligent entity. I guess that's not what you mean, right? I'd rather say that pleasure and pain are signals, that say "good (in term of survival) for you/your specie" and "bad (in term of survival) for you/your specie".

      OrderOfDagon wrote:

      Examples: The reason that fruit is colorful is because humans, as a species, have become incredibly keen at perceiving food that was often searched for in our long history.

      The reason that men are statistically more funny is because the more humorous males in our species got mates much faster than those who weren't, making humorous men thrive in the ladder of Evolution.
      Just for curiosity's sake, are you sure of that?


      OrderOfDagon wrote:

      Friedrich Nietzsche spoke of a man who would awake one day and reject his control; a man who would decide on his own when to be happy; a man who would take control of his impulses and set a new course for the world. He calls these men, "Ubermensch."
      Okay I'm starting to get it. But if "being happy" is not satisfying one's biological impulses, then what is it?

      OrderOfDagon wrote:

      You see, the problem with Neurological Impulses is that its evolution is an extremely slow process, and is more likely to devastate the human species than it is to lead us to any kind of salvation. Neurological Impulse is why we do everything we do, but what we do isn't pragmatic.
      I agree with that if you're talking about impulses leading to pain/suffering.

      OrderOfDagon wrote:

      Hatred is no longer necessary for it is a defensive emotion that is designed to dominate and defend - a very basic biological impulse. But the world is no longer a hostile place of wild beasts and mystery. We have science and laws, and hatred gets in the way of that.
      I guess that's right.

      OrderOfDagon wrote:

      Love, though pleasurable, can lead to crimes all over the place.
      Well, I think there can be love without jealousy, which is an impulse leading to suffering, therefore it must be fought.

      OrderOfDagon wrote:

      Love is purely a way to push us toward reproduction, and since the world can become overpopulated very quickly, it isn't necessary.
      But if we prevent sexuality from causing reproduction (like we do with birth control), we manage to take the "reward" of pleasure while ditching the negative consequence (that is to say, reproduction). It does the trick, don't you think?

      OrderOfDagon wrote:

      It is possible to condition a person to think differently and to naturally reject these impulses. The brain doesn't finish growing until the age of 7 1/2, which means the synapses between the brain are still relatively easy to move through. If you explain and convince a child through intelligent and well-executed education that he has control over himself and should never make decision based on feelings, than he potentially can overcome his lesser half.

      This, to Nietzsche's mind, is the next step in Evolution.
      But there is a difference between making an irrational decision under the influence of an impulse/feeling and making a rational decision meant to maximize the future amount of pleasure and minimize the future amount of pain for everyone involved.

      OrderOfDagon wrote:

      "Imagine the day when happiness is a decision, not a goal."
      Then again, what is hapinness for someone who disregard any biological impulse?
    • Simontheb wrote:

      Okay I'm starting to get it. But if "being happy" is not satisfying one's biological impulses, then what is it? What is hapinness for someone who disregard any biological impulse?


      Happiness is just a signal of pleasure that is set-off to approve of your behavior or action. It can be stimulated by itself, but humans can't access it without first making an action that triggers it. I think you may be mistaking satisfaction -which is essentially the removal of something that upsets us- and pleasure, which is what we get when we are simply happy.

      This has been tested with rats and such. A rat with an impulse controller in his brain would sit in one spot and bite the pleasure button over and over again until it starved to death instead of eating food; this happens every time without fail.

      Simontheb wrote:

      Just for curiosity's sake, are you sure of that?

      It has to be true; traits and such don't just pop into existence. They either expanded from smaller traits, or adapted to create new traits. We evolved to see color - it wasn't always there clearly.

      An example that might better one's understand relates to the human appetite. Humans were once carnivorousness, but have recently become herbivorous in Evolution. The appendix was once a holder for the bacteria in raw meat, but now that it's gone unused by our species for so long, it doesn't work.

      Many people will tell you that we are Omnivorousness -- this is false. I'm not going to elaborate on that, but here is a list that will explain why.

      Simontheb wrote:

      But there is a difference between making an irrational decision under the influence of an impulse/feeling and making a rational decision meant to maximize the future amount of pleasure and minimize the future amount of pain for everyone involved.


      Technically, Nietzsche describes someone who doesn't seek happiness, or any emotion.
      I don't actually know what Nietzsche thinks people will do without a desire. The desire to learn in itself is a Neurological Compulsion; maybe Nietzsche wants us to set our desire on learning or any trait that is deemed pragmatic and not-outdated -- I don't know.
      Maybe he was just trying to invoke the wrath of whatever created us.

      No, I'm not a theist and neither is Nietzsche.

      But Nietzsche often played with the idea that humans were designed to Evolve to become the best species on any planet they form on (I personally disagree with this theory of his and take a more Ayn Rand route). He believes in some huge ancient species that forced us to evolve in the same way that you force water to boil by heating it -- a species that can see the entire universe in a microscope. He believes that perhaps the reason we are driven to follow our Neurological Influences is because by being active we power something, thus, The Will to Power. While he never makes a direct reference to some super-species, it is hinted that he believes such things are possible -- it's what he was getting at, so-to-speak.

      Whether or not we are powering something, no one knows. But we do indeed have the urge to power as if we were, regardless of its consequence.
      [COLOR="Red"]EVERY DEAD BODY THAT IS NOT EXTERMINATED, GETS UP AND KILLS. THE PEOPLE IT KILLS, GET UP AND KILL.[/COLOR]

      Post was edited 2 times, last by OrderOfDagon ().