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Torment Planescape: Torment has bad writing

Discussion in 'General RPG Discussion' started by Safav Hamon, Aug 11, 2018 at 2:49 AM.

  1. Safav Hamon Learned

    Safav Hamon
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    In all seriousness, verbose dialog and prose sucks in computer RPGs. I don't know how Planescape got away with it, because it's the worst offender of superfluous pretentious writing.
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2018 at 2:54 AM
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  2. IHaveHugeNick Arcane

    IHaveHugeNick
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    Jesus Christ, did someone detonate autism bomb in this thread again?

    Here's a rule of thumb for you: if dialogues don't sound like two people talking, and instead they sound like one person wanking themselves with thesaurus, the writing is shit. No comparisons to Dante, Milton and Dostoevsky required.
     
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  3. Safav Hamon Learned

    Safav Hamon
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    [​IMG]
     
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  4. fantadomat Dumbfuck! Dumbfuck Edgy

    fantadomat
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    Would you please just die,slow and painful if possible,i would take fast painful if not possible. I haven't seen more retarded creature than you in the year i spend on the codex. Really,just go and hang yourself with your guts!
     
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  5. Safav Hamon Learned

    Safav Hamon
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    You're upset because you know it's true
     
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  6. Great Deceiver Arcane

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    The only videogame other than Torment that was able to pull off verbose dialog without sounding completely ridiculous was Legacy of Kain (the first Soul Reaver too, to a lesser extent but the overall effect was perhaps even better because it was minimalistic - where the first game was baroque, the second was very sparse. Amy Hennig knew her shit).

    PoE's writing is fanfic-level drivel that thinks too much of itself. It mirrors the millenial 'narrative designers' that came up with it, who think their farts don't smell - or even worse, smell of fresh roses in the spring.
     
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  7. fantadomat Dumbfuck! Dumbfuck Edgy

    fantadomat
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    If only i had a son....:negative:

    [​IMG]
     
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  8. Azarkon Arcane

    Azarkon
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    It got away with it because it was actually a pleasure to read. Not all of it, but much more of it than comparable games.

    This is an example of strictly superfluous prose:

    "As you come to the end of the great hall, you perceive an inviting warmth radiating from a grand throne wrought out of marble, its masterful artistry out of place amidst the castle's more practical stonework. The veiled face of a woman is carved above the throne's back, watching over the room with hollow eyes. At your approach, you feel the warmth fluctuate, as though stirring. A voice rings out from the carving, permeating the fortress through stone and air."

    Why is it superfluous? Because in the scene, the throne is right there before you. Why do you need a description when you can just look at it?

    This is an example of prose that is also superfluous, but which commands more attention:

    "The sight of this thing - this horrible, towering, pulsating *thing* - fills you with nausea, unfounded loathing, and a faint sense of familiarity. The innumerable rotting heads which make up the vast pile seems to constantly shift and throb, alternately bickering, weeping, conversing, shouting and whispering to one another. Heads constantly bubble to the surface of the stack from somewhere within its foul core, while others sink back into the grisly pillar."

    Like the earlier description, the above also isn't necessary because, again, you see the pillar of skulls right in front of you. But it has two details that the first description lack. One, faint sense of familiarity indicates you've been here before. Two, the description animates the pillar, which isn't animated in the actual game.

    But the latter is also just more interesting, to begin with. The pillar of skulls is fascinating because of what it represents. The animated statue in Caed Nua ... isn't. When you then consider the sorts of interactions you can have with the pillar of skulls, and compare it to the interactions you can have with the statue of Caed Nua, there is no longer any contest. Planescape: Torment got away with dense, verbose prose and dialog because its setting and characters had much more to say, and most of that writing, though long, was charming to read, like a fine novel compared to fan fiction that was trying too hard.

    I'm not a fan of verbose writing in games, but in case that's what you're going to do, you better make sure it's got substance and is enjoyable to read. In other words, don't try to polish a piece of turd.
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2018 at 4:24 AM
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  9. Safav Hamon Learned

    Safav Hamon
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    No, it isn't a pleasure to read. The writing in Planescape breaks most of the fundamental rules of establishing good flow. The dialog is exactly as IHaveHugeNick describes as shit - one person wanking themselves with a thesaurus. Every line of dialog is broken up by tedious flowery prose that adds nothing of value. Unsophisticated grognards think Planescape is deep because it appeals to their psuedo-intellectualism. The actual writing is horrible, and you wont find a reputable writer that thinks otherwise.
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2018 at 5:18 AM
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  10. Safav Hamon Learned

    Safav Hamon
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    And yes, PoE1 had bad writing BECAUSE it was trying to imitate Planescape. Deadfire is an improvement because it toned down the pretentious faux-intellectualism of Planescape and focused more on believable dialogue.

    Planescape sold like shit because it was full of mundane and poorly written dialog (and the gameplay was fucked too). It wasn't until more than a decade later that RPG hipsters started pretending it was an underrated gem.
     
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  11. aweigh Arcane

    aweigh
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    i'm only pretending to be a retard guys hahaha i got youuuuuu
     
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  12. Azarkon Arcane

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    Planescape: Torment had quotes like these:

    "If there is anything I have learned in my travels across the Planes, it is that many things may change the nature of a man. Whether regret, or love, or revenge or fear - whatever you believe can change the nature of a man, can. I’ve seen belief move cities, make men stave off death, and turn an evil hag's heart half-circle. This entire Fortress has been constructed from belief. Belief damned a woman, whose heart clung to the hope that another loved her when he did not. Once, it made a man seek immortality and achieve it. And it has made a posturing spirit think it is something more than a part of me."

    "START WITH A FRAGMENT OF THE ENEMY. A DROP OF BLOOD. A CRYSTALLIZED THOUGHT. ONE OF THEIR HOPES. ALL OF THESE THINGS TELL THE WAY IT CAN DIE."

    "The sphere wrinkles in your hands, the skin of the sphere peeling away into tears and turning into a rain of bronze that encircles you. Each droplet, each fragment that enters you, you feel a new memory stirring, a lost love, a forgotten pain, an ache of loss - and with it, comes the great pressure of regret, regret of careless actions, the regret of suffering, regret of war, regret of death, and you feel your mind begin buckling from the pressure - so MUCH, all at once, so much damage done to others... so much so an entire FORTRESS may be built from such pain. And suddenly, through the torrent of regrets, you feel the first incarnation again. His hand, invisible and weightless, is upon your shoulder, steadying you. He doesn't speak, but with his touch, you suddenly remember your name. ...and it is such a simple thing, not at all what you thought it might be, and you feel yourself suddenly comforted. In knowing your name, your true name, you know that you have gained back perhaps the most important part of yourself. In knowing your name, you know yourself, and you know, now, there is very little you cannot do."


    It had stories like these:

    "An elderly man was sitting alone on a dark path, right? He wasn't certain of which direction to go, and he'd forgotten both where he was traveling to and who he was. He'd sat down for a moment to rest his weary legs, and suddenly looked up to see an elderly woman before him. She grinned toothlessly and with a cackle, spoke: 'Now your third wish. What will it be?'

    'Third wish?' The man was baffled. 'How can it be a third wish if I haven't had a first and second wish?'

    'You've had two wishes already,' the hag said, 'but your second wish was for me to return everything to the way it was before you had made your first wish. That's why you remember nothing; because everything is the way it was before you made any wishes.'

    She cackled at the poor berk. 'So it is that you have one wish left.'

    'All right,' said the man, 'I don't believe this, but there's no harm in wishing. I wish to know who I am.'

    'Funny,' said the old woman as she granted his wish and disappeared forever. 'That was your first wish.'"


    It had moments like these:

    [​IMG]

    So maybe... Planescape: Torment was just a much better written game? I know, hard to believe.

    Planescape: Torment, almost 20 years after its release, is still being cited as the best written CRPG in history. What do you think Pillars of Eternity will be remembered for, 20 years in the future?
     
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  13. Safav Hamon Learned

    Safav Hamon
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    Planescape had 20 lines of redundant filler for every memorable quote.

    Most of those quotes you selected aren't even that interesting either. I could cherrypick lines from Pillars just as good.
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2018 at 6:58 AM
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  14. Safav Hamon Learned

    Safav Hamon
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    And once more, I'm not disagreeing that PoE1 had bad writing. The reason it has bad writing is for the same reason Planescape does. It's superfluous and pseudo-intellectual diarrhea.
     
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  15. Azarkon Arcane

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    You can't cherry pick anything from Pillars of Eternity that is remotely as compelling. Not when you look at the context around them, in any case. It's difficult to present a Planescape: Torment quote in its full impact on an online forum, because so much of it depends on the exact moment the quote appears, the character that spoke it, and the journey that lead you there.

    The first quote, for example, is the culmination of your actual adventure through the planes. It is an earned conclusion that reflects the progress you've made, character by character, until the final confrontation with The Transcendent One, in which you get to sound like a bad ass because you lived it. Compare it to the conversation with Thaos at the end of Pillars of Eternity, where your effective counter argument to his ends justify the means challenge is "THAOS, YOU... YOU MONSTER! YOU MUST BE STOPPED!"

    It's not that Pillars of Eternity didn't have a theme; or that it didn't develop its theme; or that it didn't have individually brilliant quotes, here and there. But it's not a complete product. It doesn't add up to anything. "We can be assured of nothing" doesn't affect your character's ending. You still have to kill Thaos because he forces you to, and you still have to serve the gods because they force you to. By contrast, in Planescape: Torment, "what can change the nature of a man" is everything. It defines who your character is; it defines the purpose of his journey; it explains the cause of his conflict, his torment, and the torment of everyone around him. In answering that question, you solve the game, and it is satisfying.
     
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  16. IHaveHugeNick Arcane

    IHaveHugeNick
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    :cmcc:
     
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  17. Safav Hamon Learned

    Safav Hamon
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    Mate, I agree that PoE1 has bad writing. You don't need to keep hammering it in. The thing is, Planescape does too. It's where PoE1 gets its overly verbose and pretentious writing style from.

    Planescape writing is by far the most overrated shit on this website. Not only does it speak to a lack of sophistication among much of the userbase, but the number of double standards it receives is disgraceful.
     
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  18. Darth Roxor Prestigious Gentleman Wielder of the Huegpenis

    Darth Roxor
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    why do you people keep getting dragged into bubbles's cheap trollan
     
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  19. kintake Learned

    kintake
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    I was curious how PoE 2 dlc thread could have 57 pages. What's there to discuss for 57 pages I thought to myself. Is the DLC that great? Has the redemption come? Is it the second coming of golden age RPGS I once believed in??
    Nah.
    Guess I'll do another playthrough of Torment.
     
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  20. Shadenuat Arcane

    Shadenuat
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    safav is losing it, before he came out as naive, genuine and as if he honestly was a fan of games he talked about; but he seems to be out of ways to poison the Codex. and so like a gossamer veil falling from a leg of a beautiful woman revealing old skin and ugly tattoos showing what a cheap whore she really is, safav true ugly nature shows itself.
     
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  21. Darth Roxor Prestigious Gentleman Wielder of the Huegpenis

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  22. moleman Novice

    moleman
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    Mate, I 'll give you some friendly advice: shitting on Planescape to support your arguments won't bring you very far.

    But I have to give you some slack. POE 2 has some good writing in places. In other places it's shit.
    Especially in the sequences where the gods summon you. And some of the companions... holy fuck what were they thinking?

    Hell, I even think POE 1 was good in places. Act 1 was great. It fell a bit apart in act 2. White March was good too.
     
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  23. ItsChon Learned

    ItsChon
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    Give me some examples of the redundant writing that you claim Planescape was filled with, I'd love to hear it.
     
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  24. Lacrymas Arcane

    Lacrymas
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    I have seen this kind of ...argumentation (*cough* trolling *cough*) before, and exactly in the context of trying to defend an inferior game. It was as transparent as now


     
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  25. Safav Hamon Learned

    Safav Hamon
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    I've been calling out Planescape's garbage writing long before Pillars of Eternity. When PoE1 came out, I criticized its writing for trying to imitate Planescape.

    The fact is, Planescape writing is overrated trash. It gives the illusion of good writing to someone that has never seen good writing before, and the degree of pseudo-philosophy is repulsive to anyone that's not a faux intellectual themselves.
     
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