In Response To: Marathon Renascent (poenadare)
Many people forget that Bungie already expanded on the Marathon shooter and blended in RPG elements from more modern games:
- Like 3D Zelda games, you encounter obstacles which you can't get past the first time through; you have to return later with a special-purpose item. Also like Zelda, obsessive collecting is rewarded with additional health.
- Like traditional JRPGs, areas further along have increasingly stronger monsters, or bigger groups, to let you know that you're not powerful enough to progress. Also like JRPGs, late-game weapons make your initial equipment laughably obsolete.
- Like sandbox games, you can backtrack freely and revisit earlier sections of the game. Also like sandbox games, sometimes revisiting is helpful and often it's not.
- Like strategy games, you have to manage your time carefully, balancing time-limited resources (regenerating health and ammo) against a strict in-game deadline. Also like strategy games, you'll get this balance completely wrong the first time you play.
- Like Mass Effect, the story unfolds through innovative dialogue trees instead of static cutscenes or terminals. Also like Mass Effect, they offered a new twist on morality in games, though Bungie did this by reframing stock villains into helpful and even sympathetic characters.
Sure, they ditched the run button and inexplicably moved the compelling space story back to Earth, but in terms of gameplay breadth they far surpassed Marathon when they produced Pathways into Darkness. They even learned from their box- and disc-related delays by moving the release into the past, though because of that, most people don't recognize the true progression of Bungie's talents.